Grants:Project/Rapid/San Francisco Art Institute Art and Feminism 2017 Editathon/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Rapid Grant approved in FY 2016-17 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.


Did you meet your goals? Are you happy with how the project went?

We are very happy with how our project went! We helped 30 newcomers to be introduced to the movement and learn how to make their first edits, and heard great feedback from attendees who said they were thrilled to finally have made their first edits and expressed a desire to continue. While we had fewer participants than expected at the warm up events, we met and exceeded our expectations regarding participant engagement and interest at all events, and were very pleased that most attendees at the main editathon event stayed and worked diligently for the entire event. We had planned to take a midday break for pop-up talks, and stop working at 4:30 to have a wrap-up talk with everyone - but everyone was so engaged we all decided to just keep working, and had our wrap up talk at the very end, thus actually going overtime.

We had enough experienced Wikipedians on hand to help all the new editors, and observed a great spirit of collaboration as newcomers also helped each other when they could, passing on what they had just learned. The presentations that took place at the event were also very well received, with the introductory talks helping new editors become acclimated and learn about tools to use to improve their edits and assess what edits are needed, and the closing presentation about Wiki Loves Monuments helping to inspire and enlighten attendees regarding the upcoming photo contest and further ways to participate in the movement beyond editing articles.

Having the event take place inside Mel Zeigler’s art installation Flag Exchange/A Living Thing was also very meaningful and added a special dimension to the project in that it highlighted the common grounds shared between Wikipedia and contemporary, socially-engaged art: that both are a service to the public where knowledge is greatly valued and shared as something to be built together, with no singular authority and subject to discussion and consensus among a community that any and all are free and welcome to join.


Please report on your original project targets.

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
4 events 4 events We held the 3 warm-up events leading up the main 3/25 editathon event.
60 participants 45 participants We had fewer participants than expected at the 3 warm up events. They were still very successful, and perhaps more so given that we had a more intimate group which made for more in-depth conversation.
45 new editors 30 new editors Since we had fewer participants than expected overall, we had fewer new editors.
75 articles created or improved 44 articles created or improved Since we had fewer participants than expected overall, we had fewer articles created/improved.
15 repeat participants 6 repeat participants We counted this as participants that came to more than one event. (Note that when we made this target, this was in the context of the larger poster project which was not funded and did not take place, so we had expected more repeat participants who would be involved in the poster and the events. Since the poster dimension did not occur, there were fewer repeat participants).


Projects do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:

  • What worked well ?
    • Working with Library staff - It was incredibly helpful working with the library staff to develop a list of articles to create/improve for women artists affiliated with SFAI, and to pull a stack of reference books before the event which we kept in the space for attendees to read through, and use as references. This allowed attendees to get to work right away, with easy access to strong references and a cohesive list of articles that interested them that needed improvement or creation.
    • Dividing up labor on the organizing team between 1/Katie.) the direct SFAI related tasks and main event planning (facilities reservation and set-up, SFAI promotion, event programming and branding, catering, managing on-site student worker team before and during the event); and 2/Niki.) the direct Wikipedia related tasks (meetup page, inter-wiki promotion, inter-Art + Feminism promotion, A+F dashboard, coordinating with local Wikimedia community for presenters). This system worked very well and we would recommend it to other arts institutions that may want to host an editathon inside a gallery space, as it allowed the responsible parties to focus on their respective areas of expertise and allowed the event planner to focus on making the event as welcoming and hospitable as possible, and the Wiki-focused person to focus on that area.
      • Example: Thanks to promotion by SFAI's Marketing/public relations department, we got advance mention about the event in the SFGate.
    • Welcome packets - The welcome packets worked very well for giving attendees the key information they needed to get started as soon as they walked through the door, including a handout with the schedule for the day, and links to the meetup page and the event dashboard, shortened in such a way to facilitate easy transfer from paper to browser. This was extremely useful for attendees who arrived later in the day and did not see the introductory presentations, and for attendees who did see the presentation but wanted a handy document with all the important links to refer back to afterwards. The packets also contained handouts with login information for digital resources from the Library, and information about the art installation inside of which the event took place.
    • Providing many laptops for attendees - We were able borrow 20 laptops from SFAI's A/V department and had them set up at all the tables for attendees to use. Though we encouraged attendees to bring their own, many did not, so it was essential to have this technology available for them to use.
    • Presentations - Many participants who had never edited before were very excited to learn not only how to edit, but also what to edit, thanks to Dreamyshade’s presentation, which provided insight regarding how to ¨make edits stick¨, and MahmoudHashemi’s presentation regarding tools for assessing what articles are in need of improvement, and how to get oriented in Wiki projects and find others who are interested in editing in similar topic areas. Finally, LilyOfTheWest gave a presentation at the closing of the event on Wiki Loves Monuments which was very inspiring for attendees as an exciting way to participate creatively in the movement outside of editing articles.
    • Round-robin closing discussion - At the end of the event, we had a round-robin discussion where everyone shared what they had worked on and what inspired them at the event. This was a great way to wrap up the event and help everyone to immediately understand the impact that we made together. (We also made a video recording of this discussion which will be uploaded to Commons and added to our meetup page later this summer, along with other video recorded at the event). Thank you to Black Lunch Table for this idea, which we found on their Art & Feminism event dashboard.
    • Mailing list/plans for future meetups - We started a mailing list with attendees and are planning a follow up editathon for late May/early June, and many attendees were very excited at this, saying that they are happy to have learned how to edit, but that they would want future opportunities to edit together in a social setting such as this one in order to sustain the momentum. While we have not held the follow-up event yet, we are very optimistic that it will bring many returning participants.
    • Bonus branding/support at event - Thanks to this grant covering the cost of food and refreshments, the SFAI Public Programs department was able to hire student workers to help with the event set-up and greeting of guests to make sure they felt welcome. A student worker also designed some creative branding, creating custom graphics from Art and Feminism images for the event which we used to label laptops and other borrowed materials such as books from the library. Additionally, other on-campus groups donated button-making supplies and allowed us to borrow their button maker to make buttons for all attendees, exclusive to the event. This creative branding, which was made possible through the grant off-setting the cost for food, refreshments and other supplies, worked very well to bring a cohesive atmosphere to the event and provide the attendees with additional take-aways.

  • What did not work so well ?
    • Timing with Academic Calendar at SFAI - The events took place during Spring Break at SFAI, which resulted in fewer students and faculty attending the event than we had hoped for. Considering the numbers of non-SFAI affiliated folks (or people with a past connection to SFAI) who came to the event, it would have been wonderful to have also more students and faculty there to interact, cross-pollinate, and work together.
    • Tables/expectations of attendee flow - On the day of the main editathon event, we expected that some people would come and go during the event, and thus open up more spaces for latecomers to sit down at the tables. However, the tables were nearly full from the very beginning of the event, and this seemed to discourage some late-comers from staying. While we did have additional space for sitting on the stage or on a set of bleachers in the space, we got the sense that the lack of open table space for late-comers made them feel less inclined to join in, as they would have to start their own new space using the alternative seating options.
    • Applying for the Grant late - Because we applied for this grant very close to the time of the event, we did not receive the Wikimedia swag in time for the event. We did have other swag from SFAI to give to attendees at the event, but it would have been great to also distribute the Wikimedia swag as well. Instead, we tallied up the editors with the most edits after the event and are mailing T-shirts and other swag to them, and will also bring the buttons and pins to our future meetups to distribute there.

  • What would you do differently next time ?
    • Be mindful of the Academic Calendar and NOT hold the event during Spring Break, but instead during another time in the month when all students and faculty are on campus and more likely to attend.
    • Plan to have more tables than we anticipated, and also devise a more deliberate welcoming-system for late-comers to make sure they feel connected to the group, and inspired to stay and contribute. (While they were welcomed at the door and given welcome packets, we observed that some who came more than half-way through the event only stayed very briefly).
    • Plan next years event much earlier than this one, in order to: 1.) Apply for a Grant earlier so that we could have Wikimedia swag at the event; and 2.) Connect more with SFAI students and faculty to produce lists of recommended articles to edit, in order to intersect better with student interests and the topics covered in the SFAI curriculum.
    • Rethink the warm-up events to encourage more attendance (promoting more, or only having one rather than three).


Grant funds spent[edit]

Please describe how much grant money you spent for approved expenses, and tell us what you spent it on.

  • Food and refreshments: $150 + $23.72 = $173.72
  • Materials for welcome packets/nametags: $87.89
  • Wikimedia T-shirts: 12 x $9/each = $108.00

TOTAL: $369.61

Remaining funds[edit]

Do you have any remaining grant funds?

We were approved for $950, so we would have $580.39 left. We would like to apply to use these funds for a future project (either something related to Wiki Loves Monuments, or a continuation of the Art + Feminism focus), and will propose this grant within the next 60 days. (However, since at this time of writing we have not received the funds, we ask that upon receipt of our signed contract WMF send us the funds to cover our expenses for this grant and retain the remaining funds, pending submission and approval of a forthcoming future grant proposal).

Anything else[edit]

Anything else you want to share about your project?

We would like to share a few images from the event: