Grants:Simple/Applications/Whose Knowledge/2020

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Application or grant stage: grant in progress
Applicant or grantee: grantee
Amount requested: US$107,775.00
Amount granted: US$107,775.00
Funding period: 9 months, 1 April 2020 - 31 December 2020
Midpoint report due: 30 August 2020
Final report due: 30 January 2021

Background[edit]

Annual Plan[edit]

Budget Plan[edit]

Staffing Plan[edit]

Introduction[edit]

Whose Knowledge? is a global multi-lingual campaign to center the knowledges of marginalized communities online, including on Wikimedia projects. We work with communities around the world - including women, people of color, indigenous peoples, LGBTQIA communities and folks from the Global South - to build an internet for and from us all.

More than half the world’s population is now online, and 75% of those online are from the Global South - from Asia, from Africa, from Latin America. 45% of all women are online. Yet the internet and public online knowledge doesn’t look like the majority of the online world. Take Wikipedia, for example, where the gender and geography gaps are well-known: only a little over 20% of the world (primarily white male editors from North America and Europe) edits 80% of Wikipedia currently, and only 1 in 10 of the editors is estimated female. More broadly, English and Chinese dominate general online content, and most scholarly (digital) publications in science and social science are in English. The design, architecture, and governance of the internet’s global content platforms and tools rarely include women, people of colour, and folks from the global South. The majority of the internet’s users are not its producers.

We support the rights and leadership of marginalized communities to tell their own stories and share their own knowledges online. With them and our allies, we imagine an internet that can truly reflect the rich and textured world we live in: full of the knowledges, histories and stories of 7.5 million people, speaking over 7000 languages.

We are a feminist, anti-colonial team from multiple continents that has significant experience working in the Wikimedia movement, as well as with other communities and movements in open knowledge, technology, and social justice. We build global campaigns through partnerships with individuals, organizations, and movements across different sectors and constituencies. We co-locate our key convenings with significant open knowledge, technology, and social justice conferences. We center community experts in our research-action with traditional academic and cultural institutions, and we amplify marginalized knowledges through our media work. Legally, are an unincorporated non-profit association with a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor based in the United States, though we plan on beginning incorporation this year.

From its founding in 2016 as a global campaign and Wikimedia user group, Whose Knowledge? has been deeply involved in supporting new and experienced Wikimedia communities to challenge our existing knowledge gaps. We have partnered with a number of Wikimedia organizations and user groups, including through our VisibleWikiWomen campaigns, served as an equity consultant to working groups in the Wikimedia 2018-20 strategy process and supported the Wikimania 2018 team to develop an equity-focused theme. We have received two Wikimedia Foundation project grants so far (2019, 2017). We believe that given our scope and range of work, we are ready for a Simple Annual Plan Grant, so that we can continue to support the movement effectively. We are asking for partial support of our budget focused on Wikimedia-related activities and operations, to help keep us afloat over the last 9 months of 2020.

Programs[edit]

#VisibleWikiWomen Campaign

In partnership with Wikimedians and women’s and feminist organizations around the world, we organize an annual campaign to add more diverse and quality images of women to Commons and Wikipedia. The campaign runs March through May, with preparation beginning in December of each year. Since 2018, #VisibleWikiWomen has made available more than 8000 images of notable women on Commons and Wikipedia, and has become widely recognized for its impact on Wikipedia’s gender gap. (read more about 2018 and 2019 campaigns).

Key activities for this program include:

  • building partnerships
  • creating workflows and resources for our campaign kit that especially support uploaders who are new to Wikimedia, and
  • using a wide variety of communication channels to promote the campaign and encourage participants.

In 2020 we will again organize and collaborate with women’s and feminist organizations, Wikipedia editors, user groups, chapters, and other partners around the world to encourage people to upload images of women to Commons, and add them to Wikipedia articles. This year will include a growing push “Celebrating the colors of #VisibleWikiWomen” with a targeted effort to increase the images of influential black, brown and indigenous women.

Goals:

  • Add more diverse and quality images: Add 5000 images of women to Wikimedia Commons, with at least ⅓ used on Wikipedia, in at least 10 different languages with at least 20 images each, within 6 months.
  • Grow the network of external partners: Engage at least 10 new partners from outside Wikimedia in donating images, from at least 5 different countries. This year we will focus on bringing partners from cultural memory institutions and indigenous communities.
  • Collaborate with at least 2 Wikipedia communities focused on indigenous languages on incubator to add images and improve the visibility of indigenous women.
  • Plan activities with diverse internal partners: Engage at least 5 edit-a-thons organizers with the commitment of uploading images and/or editing about images already updated in the 2018 and 2019 campaigns, in at least 5 events in 4 different countries.

Research on Marginalization and Knowledge Gaps

In 2020 we are coordinating 2 research projects with significant Wikimedia implications, to help create better understanding of the challenges that marginalized communities and content face on Wikimedia projects and the broader internet, as well as opportunities to address these issues.

Key activities for both projects within this program include:

  • doing landscape analysis of existing research
  • building partnerships with expert researchers
  • coordinating research project teams
  • supporting data-gathering and analysis phases, and
  • producing reports, papers, talks and other communication strategies to disseminate research findings.

Research Project 1: State of the Internet’s Languages

We’re partnering with researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute in the UK and Centre for Internet and Society in India to develop a CC-by SA multilingual and multiformat “State of the Internet’s Languages” Report. It will use quantitative data as well as 9 highly-diverse qualitative stories in various multi-media formats from marginalized communities to demonstrate today’s challenges and opportunities for diversifying languages ​​online, including on Wikimedia projects. It will be published in mid-2020 and used as a baseline to build awareness and an agenda for action with marginalized communities, Wikimedians and other open knowledge folks, and tech communities.

No one has good enough data on the online inequalities and gaps around languages so far. At the same time, there isn’t sufficient awareness around the subset of research that already does exist around language gaps online - including data about Wikipedia and the broader internet that’s been compiled by CIS, OII and others. We also need to learn more about what technical tools and resources (particularly free and open source) already exist for language preservation and amplification, or what needs to be created from scratch, in order to prioritize future interventions.

Goals:

  • Compile current research about online languages on Wikimedia projects as well as the broader internet, to identify what’s already known and what new research needs to be done.
  • Release a first set of new qualitative and quantitative research to show what’s working and what isn’t working to support marginalized communities’ languages online.
  • Create and disseminate a “State of the Internet’s Languages” report for use as an awareness-raising tool, to help build an agenda for action, and to establish a baseline for assessing future actions.

Research Project 2: Wikipedia Deletion Study

We’ve partnered with two Wikipedia researchers (qualitative+quantitative) as well as volunteer Wikipedians to look at whether articles on English Wikipedia about marginalized groups/people more likely to be nominated for deletion, and/or more likely to be deleted. Our focus is specifically on intersectionality, so rather than just looking at women, as some have done before, we’re looking at multiple forms of marginalization.

Qualitative coding for the project is already underway, and we expect to have analysis complete in mid-2020 and then aim to disseminate results in an academic publication by end of 2020.

Goals:

  • Learn whether being part of a marginalized community statistically affects a subject’s likeliness of deletion or nomination for deletion.
  • Share quantifiable information with other researchers and Wikipedians about whether and how current practices are impacting Wikipedia’s ability to share the sum of all human knowledge.

Decolonizing the Internet

Each year we organize at least 1 annual Decolonizing the Internet Convening, to bring together a diverse group of unusual and unlikely allies – people who think about knowledge, the internet, or both, in a wide varied of ways – to meet, talk, and scheme together about bringing our different forms of knowledge onto the internet. These gatherings always include a majority from marginalized communities - women/non-binary/transgender folks, people from the Global South, etc, as well as supportive allies. Our first ever event was held as a pre-conference to Wikimania Cape Town 2018. Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects are always a significant part of the conversation and knowledge-sharing at these events, because we invite both very active Wikipedians/medians and people with interest who have never contributed to Wikimedia projects before.

In 2020, the event will be hosted by FEMNET in Kenya, who are organizing the first-ever regional Decolonizing the Internet East Africa convening, with 30 invited women and feminists from East African countries.

Whose Knowledge?’s activities include:

  • offering planning support to the host organization
  • co-facilitating the 2 days gathering
  • connecting with East African Wikipedians and other content-creators whom FEMNET would like to include, and
  • organising a Wikipedia #VisibleWikiWomen editathon, depending on time and interest.
  • We are also building a re-useable CC-by SA convening toolkit to support anyone who wants to host a Decolonizing the Internet gathering in their own context in the future.

Goals:

  • to support our feminist partners in creating a space for 30 East African feminists, techies, researchers, content creators, etc to share skills, build a network, and develop plans for Decolonizing the Internet (including Wikipedia)
  • to develop a re-usable CC-by SA toolkit for anyone who wishes to organize a Decolonizing the Internet event in their own context

Outreach, Awareness, and Support to Marginalized Communities

Much of our time is spent sharing information about the experiences of marginalized communities online today, supporting marginalized communities and building bridges to allies who can also support their work online, and outlining the challenges and opportunities that we see in Wikimedia projects to become more truly representative of the full sum of humanity.

Ongoing activities include:

In 2020, key activities include:

  • continuing to support the marginalized communities who ask us to work with them
  • putting together a panel at RightsCon
  • publishing a chapter in MIT Press's forthcoming Wikipedia @ 20 anthology,
  • as well as engaging in other speaking and writing opportunities as they arise.

Goals:

  • Support at least 3 marginalized communities adding content to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons
  • Publish at least 2 pieces of writing
  • Build awareness of gaps and opportunities in the Wikimedia projects for marginalized communities to contribute
  • Shift frames of reference and discourse among Wikimedians to support the movement to move in the strategic direction of knowledge equity.

Operational/Organizational Development

In 2020 we are finally bringing in a part-time contractor with expertise in operations and financial management, and beginning the process of incorporation, even as we maintain a strong relationship with our existing fiscal sponsor in the US. While this is not a “program” per-se, it’s important to acknowledge the time, energy, and support needed to embark on the next phase of this process, in order to build a strong foundation for our organization and all of our programmatic work.

Grant Metrics Reporting[edit]

Metrics, targets and results: grants metrics worksheet here.


Midterm report[edit]

Program story

In partnership with Wikimedians and women’s and feminist organizations around the world, we organize an annual campaign to add more diverse and quality images of women to Commons and Wikipedia. The campaign runs March through May, with preparation beginning in December of each year. Since 2018, #VisibleWikiWomen has made available more than 8000 images of notable women on Commons and Wikipedia, and has become widely recognized for its impact on Wikipedia’s gender gap. (read more about 2018 and 2019 campaigns). 2020 is the third year of our #VisibleWikiWomen campaign. In the past three years, from March to May, the campaign has brought over 14,000 images of women to Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia’s multimedia repository. This year alone, in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we and our partners - feminist organizations, Wikimedia communities, media and cultural institutions - uploaded more than 3000 images to Commons. Since the end of the 2020 campaign, the #VisibleWikiWomen category on Commons is still growing with new contributions by volunteers that keep the category alive all year.

As many of us were quarantined in our homes and forced to physically distance from each other, the digital aspect of #VisibleWikiWomen allowed the campaign to become a safe place for us, our communities and our partners. We continued to organize online, and to address the deep invisibilities of women on the internet.

Veronica Bekoe, creator of the Veronica bucket, and Pamela Ofori-Boateng, Wikimedian from Ghana

While we shared this collective experience in many different and challenging ways across the world, it became evident that not all people fighting COVID-19 were receiving equal acknowledgement, appreciation, and visibility. Once again, women’s faces, stories and contributions from the frontlines, especially those of black, brown, indigenous, and trans women, were often missing from online content. This comes from deeply rooted structural systems of discrimination and privilege, whether patriarchy, racism, homophobia, classism or their intersections. That’s why this year’s campaign focused on highlighting health workers and care-givers, sanitation and transport workers, emergency and food services, farmers, activists, scientists, policy-makers, and more. We celebrated women in the critical infrastructures of care, and we continued to mark the many #womenofcolors who are disproportionately represented but rarely acknowledged in these infrastructures.

For example, we celebrated Veronica Bekoe, a Ghanaian biological scientist who invented the Veronica Bucket – a sanitation device to mitigate the scarcity of running water for hand washing. These devices have been used in past health crises in Ghana and other African countries and recently have been widely used to avoid the spread of COVID-19 across the continent. Our wonderful #VWW partner and friend, Wikimedian Pamela Ofori-Boateng from Open Foundation West Africa made sure Veronica was visible on her Wikipedia biography, and created the Veronica bucket page on Wikipedia to honor the achievements of this scientist. Listen to Pamela on our podcast “Whose Voices?”

To read more about the campaign story, what we learned and experienced during this edition, see our final campaign blog post in English and in Spanish.

Program Progress[edit]

#VisibleWikiWomen

Program Activities

Vanessa Nakate, climate justice activist and #VisibleWikiWomen 2020 inspiration
  • Even in the midst of a global pandemic, our partners - Wikimedia communities, feminist and women’s organizations and GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) institutions - brought over 3000 women’s images to Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia during the third edition of the #VisibleWikiWomen 2020 campaign. The number of images is now over 4000 as our partners and communities continue to upload new images under the Visible Wiki Women 2020 category on Commons even after the end of the campaign in May.
  • In the last three years, the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign brought over 15,000 new images of women to Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia.
  • The theme of this year’s campaign was women in the critical infrastructures of care in response to what we were (and still are) experiencing during the Covid-19 global pandemic. You can read more about why we’ve chosen this theme in the program story section above.
  • Our posts (Example 1, Example 2 and Example 3) celebrating and honoring women doctors, nurses, researchers, farmers got the most engagement in our social media channels.
  • We hosted our first bi-lingual #VWW edit-a-thon during this year’s edition. We partnered with #SheTransformsTech campaign from World Pulse and Take Back the Tech campaign from Association for Progressive Communications (APC) to share our best practices and expertise with their feminist communities. This event allowed us to develop, test and improve our methodologies for introducing Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia to new partners who’ve joined us this year. We have recorded the training sessions and made it available as training materials for everyone interested in making women more visible in Wikipedia and beyond.
  • This year we have partnered with 13 new organizations who joined our existing partners.

Challenges and Learning Story

Infrastructures of Care editathon
#VWW2020 online editathon screenshot

Starting in March 2020, we have been collectively experiencing the Covid-19 global pandemic. This unprecedented event has affected our team and our communities in many different ways. Additionally to it, we’ve experienced the pain, exhaustion and also possibilities created by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement which expanded globally after the horrific murder of George Floyd in the USA in May. Both experiences were (and have been) felt deeply and differently for all of us and yet, we’ve felt a sense of possibility and affirmation of the work we are doing. The online nature of our work - which was new and required deeper adaptation to most people - anchored us and kept us going in these challenging times. We also adapted some of our organizing practices - including pausing more and allowing ourselves to be spacious - for us, but especially for our communities. Wikimedia organizations and GLAM institutions were deeply affected by the global pandemic as all in-person events, like edit-a-thons and exhibitions had to be cancelled due to the spread of the virus. This caused a lower campaign engagement compared to its two previous editions and also lower number of images. This was the first year we didn’t surpass our images goal. We still did pretty well considering the circumstances - we brought over 4000 new images to Commons but didn’t reach the 5000 new images we had initially planned and hoped for.

At the same time, the challenges of conducting the campaign in the middle of a global pandemic, also brought us the opportunity to be creative and experiment with new ways of engaging potential partners and audiences. After seeing an initial disengagement at the beginning of our campaign, we took advantage of the online nature of our work to mobilize and organize online. We organized a multi-day, multi-lingual (EN/ES) training workshop for new organizations and individuals joining the campaign. We co-hosted this edit-a-thon with 2 new partners - #SheTransformsTech from World Pulse and TakeBacktheTech from APC. Co-hosting this event allowed us to expand the reach of our campaign to new regions and communities, especially Africa. In a response to Covid and the invisibility of women as leaders of crisis management, we chose to highlight women in the critical infrastructure of care as the theme for our workshop as well.

Based on the reception of the workshop video and the uncertainty around whether our communities and us will be able to physically host edit-a-thons during next year’s campaign, we are planning on creating more multimedia materials and hosting online trainings of this kind during the 2021 campaign.


Research on Marginalization and Knowledge Gaps

Research Project 1: State of the Internet’s Languages

Program Activities
Decolonizing the Internet's Languages
Decolonizing the Internet's Languages convening

Following our Decolonizing the Internet’s Languages convening in October 2019, we have continued to work with Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) as part of our collaborative research partnership. Our goal is to publish a State of the Internet’s Languages report later this year. This report should serve as a first of its kind baseline for multi-linguality on the internet. We have been mainly focused on the following areas to produce the report:

  • Data Analysis: We have received 8 final ethnographic contributions which will be used for our qualitative analysis, anchored by our partner CIS. We have collected data across a number of online platforms and tools which will inform our quantitative analysis, anchored by our partner OII.
  • Report writing: We have been working on the report narrative and also putting together a group of editorial advisors - including our participants from the Decolonizing the Internet’s Languages convening in October 2019 - who will review and provide feedback to the drafts we produce. The report will be translated into a number of languages, both via paid and volunteer translators.
  • Website/Publication Architecture and Design: Our Communications Lead, Claudia Pozo and designer and illustrator, Maggie Haughey (hired from July-October for the report) are already working on the concepts for the design and architecture of the virtual report which will be hosted in its own website, in multiple languages. They will also design and develop a physical report to be made available after the digital publication. The physical report is intended primarily to be an executive summary of the digital report.
Challenges and Learning Story

We continue to be humbled and honoured by the reception to our Languages research and overall work. The post-Decolonizing the Internet’s Languages convening has demonstrated the deep need and interest exploring the topic of multilinguality online. In anticipation of the launch of our State of Internet’s Languages report, we already see a shift in the frames of reference around languages and a better understanding of why language should be seen and valued as part of online infrastructure. As a result of that, we have been invited to a number of events to speak about the importance of multilingualism online and seen great need and interest in this work. The King’s College Disrupting Digital Monolingualism seminar, for instance, was inspired by a talk originally given in 2019 by noted linguist and friend of Whose Knowledge?, Mandana Seyfeddinipur, who in turn had learnt of digital linguistic colonialisms through her participation in our first Decolonizing the Internet convening in Cape Town, in 2018.

Our goal was to launch this project in the summer of 2020 but we had to postpone the launch of the State of Internet’s Languages report to fall/winter 2020 as a result of Covid. Our community of contributors faced numerous challenges to complete and submit their essays and multimedia work to us. Additionally, two members of our research team personally had to deal with the virus and its long tail of recovery. This caused a delay in the analysis and synthesis of our ethnographic essays and informed our decision to postpone the report’s publication date.

On a brighter note, we have enthusiastically welcomed the Wikimedian, human-centered designer and research expert Abbey Ripstra as a research volunteer to this project. Abbey has brought brilliant insight to the analysis and sensemaking of this report and has become an integral part of the research team. We are grateful to have Abbey’s years of experience working with human-centered design and communities such as the Wikimedia movement. We honor her expertise and generosity, especially at this time when our communities and we ourselves are dealing with the many pandemics of our times and their deepest impacts.

Research Project 2: Wikipedia Deletion Study

For the first two quarters of the year, the team working on the Marginalization and Knowledge Gaps research continued to make progress on the deletion study to examine how bias leads to higher deletion rates of biographies of marginalized communities, including women, and black and brown folks. However, the team had to slow down and eventually pause their collective work as two members of the team, Siko Bouterse (the project facilitator) and Jake Orlowitz, have been on parental leave since late April, overlapping with a slowdown for the rest of the team as well with Covid-19. This project’s activities should resume once Siko and Jake return from parental leave later this year.

Decolonize the Internet

DTI-official-logo-color.png

Our Kenyan feminist partners at FEMNET have asked us to co-design and co-facilitate at the first ever regional convening of Decolonizing the Internet, which they had planned to host in Nairobi in April 2019. The convening has been postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19, but we’re continuing to plan and support this growing community virtually until it is safe to physically bring folks together again. We are currently in conversations with Femnet to design an interactive webinar for the convening participants where both organizations would share our frames of reference and experience around Decolonizing the Internet, the impact of epistemic injustice in the context of the global Black Lives Matter movement and the rapid spread of Covid-19 misinformation that continues to disproportionately affect marginalized communities.

Outreach, Awareness, and Support to Marginalized Communities

Program Activities

  • We have written the chapter “Towards a Wikipedia for and from us all” for the forthcoming MIT Press book “Wikipedia@20: Stories of an Incomplete Revolution”.
  • Anasuya presented about Decolonising the Internet’s Languages and questions of epistemic (in) justice at the Disrupting Digital Monolingualism Workshop. In this presentation, Anasuya shared why language is a key proxy for knowledge; what are the questions of epistemic injustice related to languages (online), and the work of Whose Knowledge? and its partners to create knowledge and language justice online.
  • Adele, Mariana and Anasuya were featured in the podcast episode “Feminist Digital Disruption during teh Covid-19 Pandemic” for the Heinrich Boll Stiftung’s Our voices, Our Choices podcast. They talked about the #VisibleWikiWomen 2020 campaign and our decolonizing, feminist practices during the pandemic.
  • Anasuya and our friend, ally and former Communications Lead, Kira Allman hosted the webinar Knowledge justice on the internet: different ways of knowing and doing at the UKSG. In this talk, they framed the issue of internet inequality in terms of ‘knowledge justice’, explored how our experiences of the internet are the products of certain exclusive knowledges, and what are some some of the exciting ways in which we can build an internet that is more equitable, inclusive, accessible, diverse, multilingual and multi-directional.
  • Adele and Anasuya were invited to give a talk to the British Library staff about Whose Knowledge? and the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign.
  • We have been invited to submit an essay for the special issue on Cross-cultural Feminist Technologies for the Global Perspectives Journal. We are working on an essay with a few of our advisors to show the ways in which we have internally designed Whose Knowledge? to reflect specific feminist principles and practices. The essay “Decolonising the internet and ourselves: Challenging epistemic injustice through feminist practice” is in the final review process and should be published later in the fall 2020.

Challenges and Learning Story

Whose Knowledge? Decolonizing The Internet Conference Participants 092.jpg

Our Communications Lead, Claudia Pozo, continues to be the stronghold of our communications portfolio. Since we did not have enough funds to rehire for our second Communications Lead, we decided to postpone this hire, and have brought together a group of 8 volunteers who are supporting us to manage our social media platforms, to create content for our “Whose Voices” podcast and to review and curate overall content. While we are grateful to all of them - especially Sourav Roy, who is meticulously translating our content into Bangla - we are also recognizing the energy it takes to coordinate volunteers in ways that are mutually productive and joyful. It has become clear to us that we urgently need to hire a second Communications Lead, especially as communications is integral to the work we do in the world. We would like to secure funding to refill that position.

Creating more capacity and sustainability around Communications is vital to Whose Knowledge? because the radical forms of communication about our work are at the heart of what we do. They are not simply an organizational function. We believe in collaborative methods of working, and in openly sharing the results of that work. Based on that, these are our ten primary communications principles:

  1. Centering our communities and collaborative leadership: in our many different forms of sharing of the work we do, and the impact we have, we center the collaborative nature of our work and the leadership, design and creativity of the communities we work with. We honour the work of our networks and communities through our own speaking and writing work, knowing that the complexity and vastness of the nature of knowledge justice needs us all to be deeply aligned and allied.
  2. Being self-reflexive and challenging, while joyful and imaginative: As a feminist, anti-colonial, anti-racist team, we are deeply self-reflexive about our own power and positionalities as we communicate our work, and we challenge our allies, partners and beyond to be the same, especially given the great structural injustices of the past and present. At the same time, we know that dreaming is a form of planning; we base the communications of our work in imagining possible futures that are transformatory, equitable and joyful for us all.
  3. Recognising that “success” and “failure” are contextual and non-linear: We ask our communities and those we work with to define “success” and “failure” in their contexts, and know that in our work, sometimes the two are indistinguishable from each other. Backlash, for marginalized communities working towards knowledge justice, is a form of “success” even as it continues to reinforce the failures of our systems.
  4. Being simple but not simplistic: Pushing back against the abstruseness of certain forms of academic and knowledge efforts is core to our work; we want to share our outcomes and processes in simple ways, without diminishing their complex nature.
  5. Starting where people are at: We do so by using frames and entry points that are contextual, specific, and where our audiences are at, even as our communications attempt to take them where we want and need to go, together.
  6. Going where our communities and constituencies are: We go where our audiences are, whether the communities we work with or the constituencies we want to influence. We are active listeners in these communications channels and spaces, and make specific connections from our work to different institutions and constituencies, including with academia, GLAM institutions, technology companies and leaders.
  7. Seeing access and accessibility as multi-directional: We are not sharing in one direction; we are constantly learning from our communities and their work. So we create communications processes and products knowing that our different communities share their knowledges differently, whether digitally or “offline”. We are accountable for sharing in as many accessible modes as possible.
  8. Striving for multilinguality: For us, sharing in multiple languages where possible is at the heart of fighting against the monocultures of English and Western “received” knowledge.
  9. Being creative and creating different modes and styles of learning resources: We use non-textual ways of communicating where appropriate, and use different modes together. For instance, our reports and resources are multi-modal as far as possible, with text, visuals, graphics, embedded audio and video.
  10. Using open, safe and appropriate platforms and licensing where possible: Our licensing practices are to share all our own work through the open CC BY-SA 4.0 license, unless our communities ask us to do otherwise on collaboratively created or shared resources. We believe in open, safe, welcoming, and appropriate technologies and platforms for our work, but because we also go where our communities are, our choice of tools or platforms is made based on the needs of our communities, as a trade-off between ease and ethics.

Operational/Organizational Development

Mapping knowledge at AWID 2016.png

Looking at our goals around our organization sustainability, we successfully met one of our main goals outlined in our grant proposal: hiring an Operations Coordinator. We knew this role would be critical to our day-to-day work as we are ramping up our fundraising efforts, diversifying our revenue streams, financially supporting the contributors for our languages work and planning on incorporating next year. Bringing Ashima Bhardwaj, our Operations Coordinator, to the team has also been particularly helpful for our team as Siko has been out on parental leave since May and our co-directors team has less capacity during most of 2020.

The collective but differently experienced COVID pandemic of 2019-20 and the pandemic of anti-Blackness, exemplified by the George Floyd institutional murder in May, have been extraordinary “brutal gifts” for us as individuals, as a team, and for our communities. They are obviously deeply interrelated in many ways, and we have embodied the intersections. We have had to deal within the team with Covid-related illness and the structural disease that we feel as mostly a team of black and brown women who have faced multiple forms of racism for a very long time. This has felt incredibly challenging at different levels: it has meant that we have had to move out our deadlines for different projects (especially our Languages report), support our communities as we have organized and agitated for healthcare and anti-racist outcomes, and give ourselves the spaciousness for self- and collective- care. We are also deeply concerned for our families and communities living across the world, in extremely fragile and dangerous contexts including Brazil, Bolivia, India, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom. The brutal impacts of the Covid depression on the most marginalized is deeply worrying for us all.

At the same time, these brutal gifts offer us the opportunities to continue expanding the critical conversations we have been leading and supporting around marginalizations, and the deep inequities caused by the intersections of capitalism, colonization, patriarchy and more. There is a “great unravelling” of our systems and structures that offer us the possibilities of new ways of imagining and designing our futures, if we can only transform the leadership of our entrenched institutions. For us at WK? in particular, it pushes us even further in our quest to be radically honest and true to our feminist, anti-colonial, anti-racist politics and values, and to center our knowledge justice work in practice, rather than gestures and statements that are not rooted in actions and accountability. We emphasized this in our anti-racist statement in June, and in our responses to to the solidarity statements by the Wikimedia Foundation and Creative Commons, who used our work as exemplars.

Additionally, securing financial resources for our immediate and longer-term sustainability continues to be one of our primary challenges. Since Anasuya’s fellowship with the Shuttleworth Foundation - our former main funder - concluded in February 2020, we have ramped up our fundraising efforts and realized that we need to hire an experienced fundraiser who has the expertise and politics to anchor our resource mobilization strategy and to support the co-directors team with this task.

Spending update[edit]

Our midpoint SAPG budget is linked here.

As of the submission of this report, we have spent 45,508.50 USD of the 99,691.87 USD granted by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Grant Metrics Reporting[edit]

Metrics, targets and results: grants metrics worksheet here.

Final report[edit]

Program story[edit]

State of the Internet's Languages (from a 2019 meeting)

While we focused our programmatic attention on the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign during the first period of this grant, we shifted our focus to create the State of Internet's Languages report in the second half. Since our first Decolonizing the Internet convening in 2018, the need to better understand the context of languages online has emerged as one of the core priorities for us and our communities.

As a follow up to the agenda for action of that convening, we decided to bring languages to the core of our programmatic work by organizing the Decolonizing the Internet's Languages 2019 gathering, where a selected group of language experts, activists and academics shared powerful insights about multilinguality online. Our most critical reflection was around the internet not being multilingual enough to reflect the full depth and breadth of humanity, and how most online knowledge today is (and has been) created and accessible only through European colonial languages.

Based on this reflection, we partnered with the Centre for Internet Society (CIS) and the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), as well as many generous volunteers, to do research and publish a report intended to raise awareness and help prioritize future actions around online multilinguality, as well as serve as a baseline for future research. During the period of this grant, we worked to develop this research based on both numbers and stories, looking at online multilinguality from a variety of perspectives and contexts. Our research partners at OII brought their extensive and well-known expertise in internet geographies to look at the language geographies of Wikipedia and Google Maps, as well as dive into the interface languages supported by widely-used websites and mobile apps. Similarly, we worked with our CIS partners to collect and present experiences and stories about how different people and communities around the globe experience online multilinguality, and ;earn more about the initiatives they are undertaking to bring their languages online.

In order to collect these stories, we invited 10 contributions, which included selected essays as well interviews with language experts and indigenous communities. Our plan was to dedicate the second half of 2020 to weaving the numbers and stories together in order to build an engaging, accessible and multimedia report by the end of the year. However, as we have already shared in our mid-point report, to deal with the many kinds of pandemics in a deeply challenging year, we needed to slow down and be spacious for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

For this project, it meant that instead of centering our initial timelines and plans, we centered the needs of our communities - as well as that of our internal team - as we were all navigating an exceptionally difficult year. We extended our essay timelines and individually supported each one of our essay contributors, especially when they were struggling to focus on their work. We also resorted to multimedia solutions such as video interviews and audio recordings to capture the experiences of the communities who could not share their experiences in written format because of energy and time constraints. In true Wikimedian style, we looked at these changes as features not bugs.

We are currently working on the finishing touches of our languages report, mainly website development and a summary, and plan on publishing it in early 2021. Once published, we’ll be working with communities and partners from around the world, to prioritize and support actions that address these critical gaps in the internet’s languages.

Learning story[edit]

We've written the learning pattern Slow and Spacious: feminist practices of care during Covid-19 to document the challenges we faced, what we learned and how we adapted our programs and practices during the period of this grant.

Programs Impact[edit]

#Visible Wiki Women campaign

Program Activities

Aiyoung Choi
  • In our mid-point report, we shared the main figures and highlights of the campaign in 2020. As we shared then, our campaign activities ended in May 09 2020. However, even after the campaign had officially ended, our partners and communities uploaded 1600 new images to the VWW category on Commons. [This data is based on a Events Metrics query and we didn’t find a way to link it here. We hope to update this reference with a link after looking deeper into this tool]
  • During the last quarter of 2020, we started conversations with a few organizations that have been considering joining the campaign as partners. One of these organizations is the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID). We are currently working with the AWID team to establish a partnership for the 2021 campaign. One of our main ideas of this collaboration is to highlight and celebrate the women who have been creating “feminist realities” throughout history.
  • In preparation for the 2021 campaign, in December 2020 we hired Mariana Fossatti till June 2021. Mariana has been our campaign coordinator for the last 3 editions of VWW. We also developed the scope of work to hire an Africa-based coordinator for this upcoming campaign.

Challenges and Learning Story

Our campaign runs through March to May every year so please refer to our mid-point report to read about our challenges and learning story for #VisibleWikiWomen campaign 2020.


Research on Marginalization and Knowledge Gaps

Research Project 1: State of Internet's Languages

Decolonizing the Internet's Languages (from 2019)
Program Activities

As mentioned in the Program Story above, the timeline for this program was deeply affected by the global pandemic and the many challenging events, our team and our communities faced in 2020. Despite these challenging circumstances, we were able to adapt our plans, use our creativity to keep the project moving and practice our collective care values by centering the needs of our communities.

  • Data Analysis: Led by our partner CIS, we worked with 10 contributors, refining, finalizing and translating their ethnographic essays, audios and vidoes. Meanwhile, our research partner at OII finalized the data collection and analysis of a number of online platforms and tools, including Wikipedia.
  • Report writing: We continued to work on the report's narrative but at a much slower pace than intended or planned. For more information, read the challenges section.
  • Website/Publication Architecture and Design: Our Communications Lead, Claudia Pozo has worked on the website development for the site that will host the report. Maggie Haughey, designer and illustrator, created 8 concepts that will illustrate the report’s ethnographics essays. We also worked with a volunteer animator, Cristiano Peçanha, who created a hero animation for the main page of our virtual report.
Challenges and Learning Story

As we mentioned in our mid-point report, the Covid-19 global pandemic effects in our community of contributors, who faced various challenges to complete their essays and multimedia work, and in our own team, where two members of our research team had to personally deal with the virus and its long tail recovery, had already informed our decision to postpone our report publication from July 2020 to November 2020. However, as a result of a major organizational change at WK? - one of our Co-Directors, Siko Bouterse, left the organization at the end of 2020 - we needed to push the report’s publication date to early 2021. For more detail about this change, please read the Operational/Organizational Development section below.

Research Project 2: Wikipedia Deletion Study

As we previously shared, this project was paused as a result of the pandemic in early 2020. We had hoped that our former Co-Director Siko Bouterse would resume this project's activities once she returned from parental leave in late2020. With her departure, this did not happen as we’d hoped. However, though Siko has left the organization as Co-Director, she remains a Whose Knowledge? friend and ally, and will continue to support this project in a volunteer capacity. We have agreed we will check in with the research team at the beginning of 2021 with the goal to resume the activities of this research project.

Decolonizing the Internet

Program Activities

Decolonize the internet bag.jpg
  • Our Kenyan feminist partners at FEMNET have postponed the first virtual convening of Decolonizing the Internet in East Africa for 2021 but haven’t set a new data for the event yet. We are still pretty keen and excited to co-design and co-facilitate the convening with them.
  • As part of our plans to strengthen our existing programs in 2021, we have decided to focus on archives as the next Decolonizing the Internet theme. We are hoping to explore the possibilities of the “people’s archival cloud” first mooted by the Decolonizing the Internet 2018 participants.

Challenges and Learning Story

Due to the limitations imposed by Covid-19, we didn’t hold our annual Decolonize the Internet convening in 2020. However, we are thrilled to share that the collaborative ideas and agendas for action that emerged during both our 2018 and 2019 convenings continue to take shape and flourish today.

One of these ideas turned into practice is Persuasion Lab, a project by Decolonizing the Internet participants Nayantara Ragathan and Manuel Beltrán, who met for the first time at our meeting in 2018. In their words: “Persuasion Lab releases "raw data" and interfaces of political ads across all major platforms (Google, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Youtube, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, AdSense, AdWords and Audience Network) and in a total of 137 countries, including in the global south, which does not enjoy the full range of transparency measures on Facebook. We also release two new thematic datasets on COVID-19 and the climate crisis. An infrastructure of collection and liberation of ads (counterpublics) and a growing archive is part of this. The lab works with journalists, activists and others in investigating different questions.”

Initiatives like Persuasion Lab serve as proof of concept for our Decolonizing the Internet convenings. They show that bringing unlikely allies and experts together in an equitable and respectful space, can lead to partnerships of solidarity and action, where people can co-design and collectively re-imagine what a decolonized internet looks like. As mentioned above, we are looking forward to organizing a Decolonizing the Internet’s Archives in the near future, most likely in a virtual manner until it’s safe for all of us to conspire and strategize in person once again.

Outreach, Awareness, and Support to Marginalized Communities

Program Activities

Challenges and Learning Story

The Covid-19 and anti-Blackness pandemics we experienced in 2020 made us realize that being in community helps us cope with the “brutal gifts” of these pandemics. It was extremely helpful to us to be able to check-in, connect with, and support our communities in these challenging times. For this reason, we created the Whose Knowledge? Epistemic Justice Fellowship, to be able to bring existing community members and friends closer to us and our programmatic work and simultaneously support radical knowledge production in these communities.

We are bringing Maari Zwick-Maitreyi on as our first fellow. She is a long-time friend and member of the WK? Community. Maari is the co-creator of many participatory knowledge projects including the Dalit History Month archive. She was part of the collaborative community created set of resources we published in 2018, about bringing marginalized knowledges online, including on Wikipedia, called Our Stories, Our Knowledges. During this fellowship, she will continue to work on community knowledge projects and help us learn more about how to support these sustainably and effectively.

Operational/Organizational Development

Siko Bouterse, Anasuya Sengupta and Adele Vrana.jpg

2020 was incredibly challenging for us and our communities in more ways than we can possibly express. We had to cope with the complex intersections of the multiple pandemics of Covid-19, racism, patriarchy and climate change, in addition to capacity in the team and resources for self and collective care. This unprecedented year also brought a major organizational change to WK as our co-founder Siko Bouterse decided to leave the organization and her co-director role, but luckily for us, will remain in our community as a friend and ally.

As Siko says, she and her family had their own version of this wild and difficult 2020 ride, which meant that as she thought about coming back to Whose Knowledge? from maternity leave, she uncovered that her journey on this particular path as co-director was coming to an end: “It was not a decision I took lightly, because it’s been an honor to be part of Whose Knowledge’s beginnings, and to have walked this path with the team for the past 4 glorious years. Now, as the climate crisis accelerates in our world, in all its many forms, and feeling the full weight of ushering a second little person through it, I find myself needing to build some extra cushion in my life from somewhere. It's time to create a new space for whatever work it is that I'm meant to do next, and I have come to understand that this space can be made through an exit from my role in Whose Knowledge. I look forward to remaining a friend and ally to the organization, while stepping out of the co-leadership team.”

We worked with Siko to co-design the process for her transition embodying our feminist principles and values, and collectively celebrated her for all that she brought to the organization and each of us on the team, as co-founder and compañera. We also worked with Siko to make sure there was a smooth handover of the projects and tasks she was responsible for holding and facilitating. During this transition, we heavily relied on our Operations Coordinator, Ashima Bhardwaj, who took over Siko’s responsibilities on the operational side. This explains the significant increase of Ashima’s hours of support and as a result, her compensation, in comparison to the initial estimates of our budget proposal.

Spending update[edit]

Our final SAPG budget is linked here.

Simple APG funds spent during the grant period:

  • Amount spent April - July 2020: USD 45,508.50 (Mid point report budget)
  • Amount spent Aug - Dec 2020: USD 54,183.37
  • Total Amount spent from April - Dec 2020: USD 99,691.87

Grant Metrics Reporting[edit]

Metrics, targets and results: grants metrics worksheet here.