Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Rapid Fund/SXSW 2024 Wikimedia Portrait Initiative (ID: 22459042)/Final Report

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SXSW 2024 Wikimedia Portrait Initiative
Rapid Fund Final Report

Report Status: Accepted

Due date: 2024-05-30T00:00:00Z

Funding program: Rapid Fund

Report type: Final


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General information[edit]

  • Applicant username: SuperHamster
  • Organization name: N/A
  • Amount awarded: 5000
  • Amount spent: 5000 USD, 5000

Part 1: Project and impact[edit]

1. Describe the implemented activities and results achieved. Additionally, share which approaches were most effective in supporting you to achieve the results. (required)

Our new WikiPortraits logo.

Prior to SXSW, we formally branded this project as WikiPortraits Studio and launched a website at to serve as a landing page and hub for this and future WikiPortraits projects. One of our photographers, Ariela Ortiz Barrantes, developed the logo, branding, and promotional materials for the event.

From March 8-16, 2024, WikiPortraits held a public portrait studio to coincide with South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. Filmmakers and speakers attending the conference were invited to have their portraits taken and uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons under a free license, for potential use on Wikipedia, IMDb, and other websites. Over 300 people came through for portraits, including several crews from films that placed in the SXSW film awards (including We Can Be Heroes).

With SXSW press access, WikiPortraits photographers also attended sessions featuring notable individuals whose Wikipedia articles would benefit from new or updated photos. Over 300 photos were taken.

Photo subjects included Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, comic Conan O'Brien, AMD CEO Lisa Su, and actors Dev Patel, Nick Kroll, and Ron Livingston. Enabled by Wikidata, these press photos have been used in over 50 language versions of Wikipedia and, together with the studio portraits, obtain an estimated ~4 million page views per month.

We were able to work with SXSW organizers to place table tents in speaker greenrooms, to promote the WikiPortraits studio and invite speakers to sign-up. This was a great, cost-effective way to get a lot of exposure and registrations from significant individuals.

2. Documentation of your impact. Please use space below to share links that help tell your story, impact, and evaluation. (required)

Share links to:

  • Project page on Meta-Wiki or any other Wikimedia project
  • Dashboards and tools that you used to track contributions
  • Some photos or videos from your event. Remember to share access.

You can also share links to:

  • Important social media posts
  • Surveys and their results
  • Infographics and sound files
  • Examples of content edited on Wikimedia projects
One-pager report from WikiPortraits at SXSW 2024.

Relevant links include:

Additionally, share the materials and resources that you used in the implementation of your project. (required)

For example:

  • Training materials and guides
  • Presentations and slides
  • Work processes and plans
  • Any other materials your team has created or adapted and can be shared with others

3. To what extent do you agree with the following statements regarding the work carried out with this Rapid Fund? You can choose “not applicable” if your work does not relate to these goals. Required. Select one option per question. (required)

Our efforts during the Fund period have helped to...
A. Bring in participants from underrepresented groups Strongly agree
B. Create a more inclusive and connected culture in our community Strongly agree
C. Develop content about underrepresented topics/groups Agree
D. Develop content from underrepresented perspectives Agree
E. Encourage the retention of editors Not applicable to your fund
F. Encourage the retention of organizers Strongly agree
G. Increased participants' feelings of belonging and connection to the movement Strongly agree
F. Other (optional)

Part 2: Learning[edit]

4. In your application, you outlined some learning questions. What did you learn from these learning questions when you implemented your project? How do you hope to use this learnings in the future? You can recall these learning questions below. (required)

You can recall these learning questions below: This project, in conjunction with our work at Sundance 2024, helps to build a repeatable and scalable template for experienced Wikimedia Commons photographers to get press credentials at well-established cultural events. Historically, volunteer Wikimedian photographers are not plugged into the media infrastructure that is built around credentials. Given the support of letters from senior leadership at the Wikimedia Foundation, we expect that the press office decision makers of these events will become more receptive to having Wikimedia photographers participate, as it only serves to amplify the cultural impact of their events.

We initially applied for SXSW press passes to their film festival but were rejected. The main concern given to us was that we are not formally media, and publicists would not want to prioritize us for photos. We then successfully applied for press passes through the interactive conference, and were able to promote WikiPortraits through table tents in the speaker greenrooms. We were also able to work directly with several publicists who brought their film crews to our studio.

The main learnings from this experience:

  • If available, try multiple routes for press access. Different parts of an event/conference may have different requirements, expectations, and needs.
  • We may want to come up with a better way to communicate the value we bring, and that publicists are indeed interested in having freely-licensed photos for Wikimedia. We may want to collect testimonials, and/or have publicists explicitly vouch for us when possible.

5. Did anything unexpected or surprising happen when implementing your activities? This can include both positive and negative situations. What did you learn from those experiences? (required)

  • As detailed above, we were initially rejected from film press credentials, but were able to recover with interactive press credentials.
  • Up to 50% no-shows (which is understandable, given it was a free registration during a very busy conference). We still had many people show up, exceeded our expectation and goal.

6. What is your plan to share your project learnings and results with other community members? If you have already done it, describe how. (required)

In addition to this report and the one-pager linked above, we are planning to:

  • Compile documentation and best practices at Commons:WikiPortraits and Wiki Covers Events.
  • Communicate our work with the GLAM community, through the GLAM/Newsletter and global GLAM Telegram group.
  • Prepare to have WikiPortraits present at more upcoming film festivals.
  • Reach out to interested individuals and chapters in various countries, to have host their own WikiPortraits studios and have a presence at film festivals and other events.
  • Prepare design files and translations of our materials (such as the educational banners above) to be adapted and used by non-English communities (we are submitted a separate rapid grant for this).

Part 3: Metrics[edit]

7. Wikimedia Metrics results. (required)

In your application, you set some Wikimedia targets in numbers (Wikimedia metrics). In this section, you will describe the achieved results and provide links to the tools used.

Target Results Comments and tools used
Number of participants 200 300 We had over 300 people attend our portrait studio, exceeding expectations!
Number of editors 0 0 Bringing on new editors was not a focus of our event (but we did have our organizers create and improve Wikipedia articles and Wikidata items on notable topics from our photos and SXSW).
Number of organizers 5 13 We ultimately had 13 individuals helping with the day-to-day operation of the WikiPortraits studio and photographing SXSW.
Wikimedia project Target Result - Number of created pages Result - Number of improved pages
Wikipedia 100 5 300
Wikimedia Commons 500 800 0
Wikidata 100 40 60
Wikimedia Incubator
Wikifunctions or Abstract Wikipedia

8. Other Metrics results.

In your proposal, you could also set Other Metrics targets. Please describe the achieved results and provide links to the tools used if you set Other Metrics in your application.

Other Metrics name Metrics Description Target Result Tools and comments

9. Did you have any difficulties collecting data to measure your results? (required)


9.1. Please state what difficulties you had. How do you hope to overcome these challenges in the future? Do you have any recommendations for the Foundation to support you in addressing these challenges? (required)

Part 4: Financial reporting[edit]

10. Please state the total amount spent in your local currency. (required)


11. Please state the total amount spent in US dollars. (required)


12. Report the funds spent in the currency of your fund. (required)

Upload the financial report

12.2. If you have not already done so in your financial spending report, please provide information on changes in the budget in relation to your original proposal. (optional)

While our original budget included line items for travel stipends and space rental, all our budget ended up going towards lodging for our organizers, with organizers paying for their own travel to and from SXSW.

13. Do you have any unspent funds from the Fund?


13.1. Please list the amount and currency you did not use and explain why.


13.2. What are you planning to do with the underspent funds?


13.3. Please provide details of hope to spend these funds.


14.1. Are you in compliance with the terms outlined in the fund agreement?

Yes Your response to the review feedback. 14.2. Are you in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as outlined in the grant agreement?


14.3. Are you in compliance with provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code (“Code”), and with relevant tax laws and regulations restricting the use of the Funds as outlined in the grant agreement? In summary, this is to confirm that the funds were used in alignment with the WMF mission and for charitable/nonprofit/educational purposes.


15. If you have additional recommendations or reflections that don’t fit into the above sections, please write them here. (optional)

Review notes[edit]

Review notes from Program Officer:


Applicant's response to the review feedback.