Learning patterns/Need to establish the digital skills level of the partner organisation
What problem does this solve?
The projects within Wikimedian in Residence programme - such as a mass image upload - presupposes a range of conditions, for example internal copyright knowledge, clean databases, digital skills.
Several of Wikimedia UK's past WIR projects were impeded by a skills gap within the organisations we were working with. This was particularly visible in our projects with ‘network’ organisations, where we collaborated with a main, umbrella body, to bring change to their members (individual museums etc). This change presupposed that the skills and knowledge were at the right level in the partner and their networks - which sometimes was not the case.
What is the solution?
Our partnership offer does not include development of core digital/curatorial skills, so we work hard to establish the existing skill level at the organisation/network.
Things to consider
Sometimes the process of discovering gaps in skill can be a useful element of the programme in itself.
For example, with the WIR programme that Wikimedia UK run with Museums Galeries Scotland in 2016, this process was actually very helpful in the long run - shortly after the residency ended they embarked on a skills audit of the museum and galleries sector in Scotland, and the results of the WIR project fed into it. The experience of the residency influenced, for example, the questions being asked in the audit around copyright and digital skills.
MGS overestimated the skill level of museums, there was a shortage of data on what people on the ground are good at. We didn’t reflect on whether the staff can really deliver the open knowledge projects we were proposing. If we knew this now, we would possibly be much more selective in what organisations we worked with, picking the institutions with the best potential impact.
-- Kelly Forbes (Digital Manager, Museums Galleries Scotland, WIR’s line manager), impact interview June 2017
When to use
Setting up a partnership, especially an in-depth one such as a Wikimedian in Residence.