Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Black Lunch Table in 2022 and Beyond
Heathart, project co-founderFishantena, project co-founder
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- Raggachampiongirl, main contact, Wikimedia director
Heathart, project co-founder Fishantena, project co-founder
- Black Lunch Table
G. Have you received grants from the Wikimedia Foundation before?
- Applied previously and did receive a grant
H. Have you received grants from any non-wiki organization before?
H.1 Which organization(s) did you receive grants from?
- Creative Capital
Andy Warhol Foundation Reva & David Logan Foundation Andrew Mellon Foundation Illinois Humanities Council City of Chicago, DCASE
M. Do you have a fiscal sponsor?
M1. Fiscal organization name.
R. Where will this proposal be implemented?
- United States of America
S. Please indicate whether your work will be focused on one country (local), more than one or several countries in your region (regional) or has a cross-regional (global) scope:
S1. If you have answered regional or international, please write the country names and any other information that is useful for understanding your proposal.
T. If you would like, please share any websites or social media accounts that your group or organization has. (optional)
M. Do you have a fiscal sponsor?
M1. Fiscal organization name.
1. What is the overall vision of your organization and how does this proposal contribute to this? How does this proposal connect to past work and learning?
BLT is a vernacular history archiving project. Our mission is to build a comprehensive understanding of cultural history by illuminating stories of Black people. We envision a future in which all of our histories are recorded and valued. We will continue the work of disrupting the dominant historical narrative and the systemic othering of Black voices. We will continue addressing historical omissions by empowering marginalized voices to record, transcribe, archive, and publish their stories.
2. What is the change that you are trying to bring about and why is this important?
Wikipedia needs more editors of color, women editors and more quality articles about notable Black artists in order to reflect a more comprehensive and inclusive history as is expected on Wikipedia.
As the most recent community survey has documented, editors of color broadly are underrepresented. With what we know from previous research about the dominant gender of editors,Black Lunch Tablebelieves that everyone has a stake in bringing those at the margins of history to the center of it.
We seek to shift this demographic and create awareness around this knowledge gap and work to close it by hosting events focused on improving or creating pages for black visual artists. We are actively cultivating a more diverse editorship and encouraging editors in the majority demographic to focus on this marginalized or omitted subject matter. Our Wikipedia Initiative empowers people to document their own histories. We train participants to create, update, and improve Wikimedia articles and items pertaining to the lives and works of black artists.
Using on-Wiki tools as well as more traditional digital and analog research methods we continue to grow a task list of notable Black artists who either have no Wikipedia page or their page is in need of improvement. The list is currently just shy of 1400 artists. Creating a document that enumerates and names the knowledge gap that is Black artists on Wikipedia is an incredibly important part of our drive to raise importance about this work.
We provide space, time, and support for new and experienced editors to work together on this knowledge gap. We encourage and motivate new editors to return to editing beyond their first edit-a-thon. We promote literacy on other platforms like Wikidata and Wikicommons as they are integral parts of creating structurally complete articles.
Currently, the demographic of editors has a direct relation to the content produced. Our project and proposal is focused on making a greater appeal to connect a diverse editorship with an awareness of this knowledge and their agency to edit on Wikimedia broadly. In turn we hope that the entire editorship contributes to the (art) historical record.
3. Describe your main approaches or strategies to achieve these changes and why you think they will be effective.
BLT’s programs are the vehicle we use to move our community towards our goals. As we continue to contend with the pandemic our programming remains largely online with some lower risk in-person activities.
We have five programmatic categories: BLT:Live (online) BLT: Topic Focus and Edit-a-thons (online) BLT Contests (online) BLT Photobooth (in-person) BLT Proxy engagements (online)
Edit-a-thons are a core activity of BLT. They allow us to increase the information and participation about and by our community and invite all editors to focus on this particular knowledge gap. Topic Focus has featured experts on WikiEDU, Wikidata, and Spanish language editing.
Regional proxies are Wikimedians outside our home areas of New York and Chicago who establish and expand editorship in their own community. These engagements have taken our work to Houston, TX, Ilorin, NG, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Seattle, WA.
Wikipedia is not the only platform with knowledge gaps. The BLT Photobooth increases images of Black artists on Wikicommons. We hire photographers and invite local artists to have their portraits taken. These photos are then uploaded to Commons increasing the actual visibility of Black artists on Wiki.
BLT Bingo is a contest that we run every month, encouraging editing as well as spreading information about that month’s artists through a social media campaign: BLT Bingo Tips. Posted throughout the month, the tips support editors who need a nudge and increase awareness about Black artists on and off the platform.
An adaptation we made during the pandemic was for artists to share their work and be compensated for their time through one hour artist talks on IG Live. There is no active editing during this event but it does highlight the project in general and especially outside of Wikimedia. It is an opportunity to educate the public about what we do so that when invitations are made they are more readily accepted.
We are excited to begin a new and important partnership in 2022 with PACE Gallery. After partnering to host a photobooth over the summer we are hopeful about our first Wikimedian in residence at PACE. As we educate individuals about the knowledge gap it follows that institutions should also be a part of amending the record of marginalization. Our fellow will work within the vast PACE library, with catalogs and otherwise out of print and inaccessible texts, to contribute to important artist articles on Wiki.
4. What are the activities you will be developing and delivering as part of these approaches or strategies?
We are seeking editors, new and experienced, to help right(write) history. In addition to shifting the demographic of editors, we want to highlight the importance of recording histories of under-documented visual artists. This goal flows through programming; hosting edit-a-thons, photobooths, artist talks, creating institutional and community partnerships. Of course in order to do all these things successfully we need our best team, which we continue to grow and see as integral to our progress.
5. Do you want to apply for multi-year funding?
5.1 If yes, provide a brief overview of Year 2 and Year 3 of the proposed plan and how this relates to the current proposal and your strategic plan?
- Year two request $377,242.00
Year three request $471,552.00
6. Please include a timeline (operational calendar) for your proposal.
7. Do you have the team that is needed to implement this proposal?
BLT continues to work to develop a more efficient and effective team. Establishing, hiring, training and retaining a team that can manage day to day operations, so the executive team may better focus on near and long term strategy and fundraising, is important.
Last year we were able to formalize a few positions, create an entirely new one and increase pay rates. Largely, BLT worked to retain those already on board, build momentum for the project, and increase cohesion and functionality across the team.
These increases and the need to fill vacant but necessary positions reflect an initial substantial increase in grant funding to account for an increase in personnel costs across the entire team.
We have listed here those that are included in our ask for WMF funding.
Heather hart(co-founder and co-executive director)@Heathart Jina Valentine(co-founder and co-executive director)@Fishantena Viva Yeboah (Finance + Operations Managing Director) Eliza Myrie (Wikimedia Director) @Raggachampiongirl Kearra Gopee (Wikimedia Assistant) @Nikitag94 Marlo Longley (Digital Specialist) @Marlorbit Brooke Richie-Babbage (Nonprofit Consultant) Regional Proxies: Kearra Gopee (Regional Proxy for Los Angeles and Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) @Nikitag94 Sam Oyeyele (Regional proxy, Ilorin, Nigeria) @Jamie_Tubers Jaison Oliver (Regional proxy, Houston, TX) @Jgo1906 Nichole Hart (Regional proxy, Seattle, WA) @Halimahart (3 vacant) Vacant: Programs Director Vacant(Nov 2021 hire): Comms Specialist Vacant (Nov 2021 hire): Executive Assistant Vacant: Wikimedian in Residence at Pace Gallery, NY Vacant: 2022 Guest Speakers Vacant: 2022 Photographers Vacant: 2022 Childcare (accountant) (lawyer)
8. Please state if your proposal aims to work to bridge any of the identified CONTENT knowledge gaps (Knowledge Inequity)? Select up to THREE that most apply to your work.
Content Gender gap, Geography, Language, Important Topics (topics considered to be of impact or important in the specific context), Cultural background, ethnicity, religion, racial
8.1 In a few sentences, explain how your work is specifically addressing this content gap (or Knowledge inequity) to ensure a greater representation of knowledge.
9. Please state if your proposal includes any of these areas or THEMATIC focus. Select up to THREE that most apply to your work and explain the rationale for identifying these themes.
Education, Culture, heritage or GLAM , Open Technology, Diversity
10. Will your work focus on involving participants from any underrepresented communities? Please note, we had previously asked about inclusion and diversity in terms of CONTENTS, in this question we are asking about the diversity of PARTICIPANTS. Select up to THREE that most apply to your work.
Geographic , Ethnic/racial/religious or cultural background, Linguistic / Language
11. What are your strategies for engaging participants, particularly those that currently are non-Wikimedia?
Our programs were constructed with a series of objectives in mind. Some do more of one than another but in concert lead us to our goals. BLT’s program objectives are: Provide an accessible inroad to the Wiki universe for anyone interested in participating Increase and teach skills/techniques that support editing fluency on the Wiki platforms Introduce and encourage editors to create “structurally complete” articles Provide opportunities for tech/topic shares Engage new editors and offer returning editors continued opportunities for support, especially women and people of color Maintain engagement and expand our editorship Increase information about the lives of Black Artists on Wiki platforms Increase the quality and diversify images of Black artists on Wikicommons Provide opportunities and strategies for EDU/classroom support Compensate workers and artists for their time Develop a more thoughtful approach to translating pages and multilingual presence on Wiki, centering interpretation and self-awareness.
In general, our audience is anyone who wants to work toward these objectives with us. We want to work with folks who are passionate about the lives and works of Black artists and getting those stories documented and included in the canon.
More specifically, our target audience and communities include: the artists and citizens offering testimony and contributing their lived histories; institutions who host our events; (art) historians interested in a particular movement, person, issue; students and researchers; curators seeking a deeper understanding of a particular artist, issue or location; friends, neighbors, and web users; all those parties collaborating in the writing of contemporary cultural history.
Many of the events we host and the communities with whom we have ongoing engagements are in our hometowns of Chicago and Brooklyn but we describe our project as “nomadic.” In order to democratize the authoring of cultural history, we need to bring our project to the people and we need to address access to and the unequal distribution of cultural resources. With that goal in mind we have hosted events at dozens of communities (inter)nationally.
Black Lunch Table is an act of radical archiving, because we the people are writing the record. By providing a medium for various communities to participate in the production of discourse surrounding their lives and their experiences, BLT reframes the power dynamic between subjecthood and authorship.
12. In what ways are you actively seeking to contribute towards creating a safer, supportive, more equitable environment for participants and promoting the UCOC and Friendly Space Policy, and/or equivalent local policies and processes?
BLT is very sensitive to the motivations behind both the UCOC and the Friendly Space policy. We have needed the support of policies like this over the time we have been editing. Our project is designed to push the bounds of notability and work to close a knowledge gap and unfortunately all editors do not support that. Each edit-a-thon we host includes information about how to get support if harassment or something similar takes place and the guidelines to follow that allow people to be decent members of the community. We are in a position to raise the importance of these policies to all of the editors we welcome into the movement and feel it is a responsibility to do our best to discourage editors that train or edit with us to take part in any of these behaviors.
13. Do you have plans to work with Wikimedia communities, groups, or affiliates in your country, or in other countries, to implement this proposal?
13.1 If yes, please tell us about these connections online and offline and how you have let Wikimedia communities know about this proposal.
Art + Feminism, i.e. annual event at MoMA, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Black_Lunch_Table/A_F_MoMA_2020 Noircir Wikipédia, host events in multiple languages and targeted editing underrepresented scholars. We plan to work with them in 2022 on Wikidata training. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Black_Lunch_Table/online_April2021 BLT maintains a variety of places on and off platform that invite folks to edit and work with us. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Black_Lunch_Table/Online https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Black_Lunch_Table#Upcoming_Online_Events https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Calendar We often post “flyers” on talk pages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Raggachampiongirl#Come_edit_with_Black_Lunch_Table_at_MoMA! Social media https://www.instagram.com/blacklunchtable/ https://twitter.com/BLACKLUNCHTABLE We maintain region specific mailing lists and send seasonal newsletters
14. Will you be working with other external, non-Wikimedian partners to implement this proposal?
14.1 Please describe these partnerships and what motivates the potential partner to be part of the proposal and how they add value to your work.
Individual artists and experts- TBD, hosted as part of our BLT: Live and BLT: Topic Focus programs, no support.
PACE Gallery, inaugural year, Wikimedian in residence. Paid year long engagement based in NYC connecting the work of BLT and PACE Gallery’s holdings to update and create articles about Black artists. Shared cost of resident stipend and on-site support.
Institutional and community partnerships, recurring and new, to host a variety of edit-a-thons, talks, workshops. Many are paid engagements, not all. 2022 expected as of submission: MoMA UPENN Fisher Libraries CAA Albright Knox Gallery WaNaWari ARLIS/NA School of the Art Institute Libraries 21c Museum + Hotels
15. How do you hope to sustain or expand the work carried out in this proposal after the grant?
Black Lunch Table as a project is sixteen years old and our Wiki initiative is really just starting to get its feet. We have expanded the scope of our work and ability to carry out goals. We are in an exciting moment of growth. This work is not limited to annual grant cycles, instead it is a long-term ongoing effort that will remain responsive to systems that make a project like this necessary.
2021 allowed us to hire and compensate our first two full time employees and it has made a difference with continuity and the flow of the project as a whole. Part of our sustainability goals actually require more growth in the near term. For our staff, especially executive level staff, to focus on their role as written, we need more folks to support in all levels.
Programmatically we will focus on improving training. We see Wikidata as a crucial literacy tool for new editors. Wikidata has been imperative to creating our task list and region-specific focus lists for events. Retention and returning partners are also important to sustainability over the long term. We want our efforts in both geographic regions and with institutions to be foundational and ones we are building on year over year. This strategy naturally builds a community of editors who are more experienced with new ones and creates peers online and in physical proximity. This additional level of support in addition to what BLT can offer is something we find critical to editor retention.
16. What kind of risks do you anticipate and how would you mitigate these. This can include factors such as external/contextual issues that may affect implementation, as well as internal issues, such as governance/leadership changes.
17. In what ways do you think your proposal most contributes to the Movement Strategy 2030 recommendations. Select a maximum of three options that most apply.
Improve User Experience, Ensure Equity in Decision-making, Identify Topics for Impact, Innovate in Free Knowledge
18. Please state if your organization or group has a Strategic Plan that can help us further understand your proposal. You can also upload it here.
Learning, Sharing, and Evaluation
19. What do you hope to learn from your work in this fund proposal?
Practically, we can and will look at our metrics, evaluate where there may have been missteps or where we could improve to yield better quantitative results. To ask what we would like to learn is more complex.
We return to our core motivations for the work and the importance of BLT as an artist project. Why is it important that Black Lunch Table is an artist project? What does it mean that we are asking artists to write our own art history? We are challenging the status quo. BLT is engaged in radical archiving and institutional critique. We are pushing the structures of cultural, historical, and social institutions to change.
As Wikipedians, we are invested in the mythic and utopian ideals of open-source knowledge creation and open access to information. Our investment in this myth of democratic authorship is cautious and critically aware of the inherent flaws of crowd-sourced content. As we edit what we are interested in or find affinity with, that diversity should be reflected on Wikipedia.
These particular motivations remind us why we are engaged in this work. Holding these up against the programs we realize and work we do day-to-day, and asking whether or not it is in touch with those original goals is the way we evaluate what and how we learn from this project, without expectations.
20. Based on these learning questions, what is the information or data you need to collect to answer these questions? Please register this information (as metric description) in the following space provided.
Here are some additional metrics that you can use if they are relevant to your work. Please note that this is just an optional list, mostly of quantitative metrics. They may complement the qualitative metrics you have defined in the previous boxes.
|Number of editors that continue to participate/retained after activities||N/A||N/A|
|Number of organizers that continue to participate/retained after activities||N/A||N/A|
|Number of strategic partnerships that contribute to longer term growth, diversity and sustainability||BLT brings artists and Institutions to the platform in unconventional ways, including through artist residencies, lectures, strong social media awareness, and published works. Our ability to engage these kind of partners positively impacts the project as a whole.
BLT: Branded Digital Events 45 Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths 25 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements 10 BLT contests: 2 This tally can be tabulated by looking at our event archive/join us calendar
|Feedback from participants on effective strategies for attracting and retaining contributors||N/A||N/A|
|Diversity of participants brought in by grantees||N/A||N/A|
|Number of people reached through social media publications||BLT: Branded Digital Events 1500
Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths 0 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements 0 BLT contests: 100
For BLT Live we would measure the total number of views of IGTV videos or Vimeo videos For BLT contests we would measure the number of likes and shares/retweets on our BLT Bingo Tip campaign
|Number of activities developed||N/A||N/A|
|Number of volunteer hours||N/A||N/A|
21. Additional core quantitative metrics. These core metrics will not tell the whole story about your work, but they are important for measuring some Movement-wide changes. Please try to include these core metrics if they are relevant to your work. If they are not, please use the space provided to explain why they are not relevant or why you can not capture this data. Your explanation will help us review our core metrics and make sure we are using the best ones for the movement as a whole.
|Number of participants||BLT: Branded Digital Events 200 this includes live and asynchronous viewing of recordings
Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths 150 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements 100 BLT contests: 50
|Number of editors||BLT digital events are not necessarily editing events, so we have zeroed out that number here, and while our participants in the photbooths are contributing to Wikimedia platforms, they themselves are not editing.
BLT: Branded Digital Events 0 Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths new 75 returning 25 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements new 50 returning 50 BLT contests: 50 new and returning is not applicable here as it is not a training/edit-a-thon session, and is likely more appealing to returning editors.
|Number of organizers||N/A The work that BLT does is organized by our team. There are four staff members who possibly contribute to the realization of events, though it is largely the responsibility of the Wikimedia Director and Wikipedia Assistant.
Please advise if this should be written as those that we partner with to realize institutional or community engagements.
|Wikipedia||BLT: Branded Digital Events 0
Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons: 100 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements: 200 BLT contests: 80
We are defining this metric as completely new articles created
|Wikimedia Commons||BLT Branded Digital Events 0
Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths: 200 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements: 100 BLT contests: 50
We are defining this metric as new commons uploads.
|Wikidata||BLT Branded Digital Events 0
Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths: 50 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements: 75 BLT contests: 50
We are defining this metric as total number of new Items added
21.1 If for some reason your proposal will not measure these core metrics please provide an explanation.
22. What tools would you use to measure each metric selected?
Unless otherwise noted we will use outreach dashboard to track our metrics.
23. & 23.1 What is the amount you are requesting from WMF? Please provide this amount in your local currency. If you are thinking about a multi-year fund, please provide the amount for the first year.
- 905397.3 USD
23.2 What is this amount in US Currency (to the best of your knowledge)?
- 905397.3 USD
23.3 Please upload your budget for this proposal or indicate the link to it.
- See attached
23.4 Please include any additional observations or comments you would like to include about your budget.
Please use this optional space to upload any documents that you feel are important for further understanding your proposal.
- Other public document(s):
By submitting your proposal/funding request you agree that you are in agreement with the Application Privacy Statement, WMF Friendly Space Policy and the Universal Code of Conduct.
We/I have read the Application Privacy Statement, WMF Friendly Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.
Year 2 Plan
Annual Plan for Year 2
1.1. Please upload or indicate a link for Year 2 Annual Plan. (required)
- Year 2 - Annual Plan.pdf
1.2. Please describe any major changes in your Annual Plan. If there are changes that require a budget change, please specify. (required)
No major changes to report.
Budget for Year 2
2.1. Do you request an increase or decrease from what has been approved for Year 2? (required)
- No, my budget request for Year 2 has not changed
2.2. Please upload a detailed budget file or indicate a link to it for the Year 2 proposal. The revised budget should show your anticipated yearly budget from the beginning of Year 2 through the end date of the grant. (required)
- Year 2- Budget.pdf
If you have a 3-year award and anticipate changes to your year 3 budget, please provide an updated projection to support our programmatic budget projections within the Wikimedia Foundation. At this point, your Year 3 projection is only for planning purposes, not for formal review of your Year 3 plan. We understand it may change. Before your year 3 funding disbursement, you will have another opportunity to update your Year 3 plan and budget for review and approval. (required for year 3 award recipients)
2.7. For projection purposes only: At this point, how much do you estimate you will request for Year 3 in USD, including any anticipated increase? (required for year 3 award recipients)
- 432257.5 USD
2.8. For projection purposes only: At this point, how much do you estimate you will request for Year 3 in your local currency, including any anticipated increase? (required for year 3 award recipients)
- 432257.5 USD
Metrics for Year 2
3.1. Main open metrics (required)
|Total partners||BLT brings artists and Institutions to the platform in unconventional ways, including through artist residencies, lectures, strong social media awareness, and published works. Our ability to engage these kinds of partners positively impacts the project as a whole.
Total partner targets in 2023 to remain unchanged.
BLT: Branded Digital Events 45 Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths 25 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements 10 BLT contests: 2
|Social media views, retweets||BLT: Branded Digital Events 2000
Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths 0 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements 0 BLT contests: 150
For BLT Live we would measure the total number of views For BLT contests we would measure the number of likes and shares/retweets on our BLT Bingo Tip campaign
3.2. Core metrics (required)
|Number of participants||BLT: Branded Digital Events 350 this includes live and asynchronous viewing of recordings
Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths 200 Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements 100 BLT contests: 75
Each of these metrics has increased except the regional proxy engagement numbers. For 2023 we expect to have fewer proxies overall and have instead decided to invest more funds and attention to fewer total proxies. We hope this translates to more return editors and participants in those communities and a deeper engagement with our tasks.
|Number of editors||BLT: Live*: 0
Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photo Booths* new 60 returning 35
*Photo Booths track for participants but not for editors, because everyone who has their photo taken does not necessarily edit/upload individually.
Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements new 25 returning 75 BLT contests: 15 new entrants and 35 returning entrants
|Number of organizers||N/A The work that BLT does is organized by our team. There are two staff members who contribute to the realization of events, though it is largely the responsibility of the Wikimedia Director and Wikipedia Assistant (the departures of Heather Hart and jina valentine at the end of 2022 reduced Wiki programming staff from four to two. As our new ED becomes versed in Wiki our staff will increase to three).
Please advise if this should be written as those that we partner with to realize institutional or community engagements.
|Wikipedia||We are defining this metric as completely new articles created across all of our programming. In 2023 we are excited to include our Wiki Fellow as part of these metrics and will not be breaking them out by program. We hope that we have more editors who participate in a network of our programs building our editorship and total impact.||400|
|Wikimedia Commons||We are defining this metric in 2023 in two parts. New commons uploads used in articles and new Photo Booth uploads to Commons
Photo Booth: 100 Commons to articles: 400
|Wikidata||We have historically undercut our Wikidata contributions as measured by outreach dashboard. As we continue to shift our training focus to include Wikidata we want to reach 1000 new Wikidata items in 2023.||1000|
3.4. If you are introducing new metrics related to a major change in your budget or programmatic plans, please describe them below. (optional)
Additional information for Year 2
4.2. If there are additional links, files, or information you would like to share related to Year 2 planning, please add them here. (optional)
- Please add any feedback to the grant discussion page only. Any feedback added here will be removed.