Learning patterns/Organizing a culture crawl
What problem does this solve?
Culture crawl has become a popular way of engaging the GLAM sector in Wikimedia conferences, and providing social and cultural activities for the attendees. This pattern aims to describe how to successfully organize a culture crawl. It is based on experiences drawn when organizing a culture crawl during Wikimania 2019 in Stockholm.
What is the solution?
Decide upon the aim of the crawl before choosing the setup, use existing partners as leverage to get new partners on board, and make sure to explain to the potential GLAM partners that the culture crawl is a mutual benefit.
Select the institutions you think may be good to work with. Explain at an early stage that it is about voluntary participation and that it is not about a service to be purchased – participating institutions do not need to pay or will be paid for their participation.
Use earlier contacts if it facilitates the work. It can also be good to start with the large institutions for collaboration because then the smaller institutions can have a greater understanding that this is a context in which it is good to participate.
Explain the many benefits available to the participating institutions:
- This gives increased awareness of the institution among a group that can increase the visibility of new platforms.
- The institutions may meet colleagues or interested persons who have a high level of knowledge and are often very well versed.
- This gives the institutions an international network
- It gives "goodwill" to be part of because Wikimedia is a non-profit organization that has a good reputation – you support a good cause.
Setting the schedule
Plan the schedule for the day so you can easily get between the institutions. It should not be too far to walk all day. The first place where the day begins may be easy to find by having plenty of communications.
Plan for that all participants are at the initial location at least fifteen minutes before the first guided tour begins. Here the group is formed and everyone may not know each other. Give time for questions and welcome everyone. Participants are welcome to present themselves and check out the list of participants so that this corresponds to the number of participants
A guided tour can be about 35-45 minutes per institution, and then there is 15 minutes to gather the group and go to the next institution. The guided tours can be planned in full hour for the sake of simplicity.
Make the opportunity for lunch at or near the institutions you visit. There are benefits to letting the participants manage the lunch themselves, but you can also book a table at a restaurant in advance. A buffet is usually a good alternative if available.
Plan for a backup plan. Should something happen or that an institution cannot set up, it may be good to look at what other opportunities are available. There may be parks or architecture in the city or other institution that are nearby.
- A visual schedule
- Plan the communication with participants
- Be clear about what applies to lunch
- Have a backup plan
Organize the participants
Choose a registration form that is easy to edit and plan for a waiting list. Guides who lead groups at cultural institutions usually prefer a size of about 25 people. Write that there is a limited number of places.
Think extra about what kind of application form you want to use. If it is too easy to sign up and there are no cancellation requirements you can get too many interested who will not come. Plan for some kind of verification so that registered participants also show up.
Be sure to explain all the conditions that apply as clearly as possible. It's easy to misunderstand information so be clear with places, times and dates.
Use map features and tips on how to best get to the first place of the day.
- Select an application form for the registration
- Plan for a waiting list
- Use some verification to ensure participation
- Be clear with the conditions
- Use a lot of maps
Ensuring a proper flow
It may be good to have at least two people leading the group. One who goes first and prepares for the next institution and one who goes last and gets all the participants. Feel free to wear flags, T-shirts or vests that make it easy for the group to see who to follow
Prepare the volunteers by going through the program and also have contact information for the institutions and recipients. If possible, the volunteers can make the trip between the institutions the day before so they can find. Volunteers may read on before the whole tour and about the institutions.
If you are planning for the possibility of arranging a writing room, that opportunity should be at the last institution when you have to plan for a room. Have plenty of time here and let that part possibly go into the evening.
If possible, volunteers may take pictures during the day. Ask the group in the first place if things are going well. When sharing in social media you can use a common hashtag.
Things to have in mind:
- Hard to get those who register to actually come. How to get people to come. Signing up on the Wiki page was not enough.
- Organizing a culture crawl takes time and resources.
- Don’t overcrowd the schedule.
- Volunteers are needed to make sure that the timing works, at least two volunteers at all time
- Having a lunch break
- Material to use as a foundation for writing.
- How to find time for the actual writing? Is this important? Or “just” a cultural experience with a lot of social engagements – people get friends?
Things to consider
- Create a category at Commons for the Culture crawl – Wikimania 2019 Culture crawl
- Take a look at the Wikimania documentation and learning site.
When to use
This learning pattern can be used at conferences and seminars that are ongoing at least a couple of days. It can be before or after the event. It is good to have a whole day for the Culture crawl and also plan for the evening.