Wiki Loves Parliaments: Federal Council of Austria
The Federal Council (Bundesrat) is the upper house of the Austrian Parliament. It represents the nine States of Austria on the federal level with 61 seats. In the course of the Wiki Loves Parliaments projects - which focus on portrait photography of parliamentarians and on awareness for Wikimedia projects and free knowledge in general - several Wikimedians were guests of the Federal Council.
The project was organized by the Wikimedians Ralf Roletschek and Olaf Kosinsky two female WMAT staff members. Three additional male Commons photographers took part in the project. It resulted in 131 files on Wikimedia Commons used on 68 pages in the main namespace of Wikimedia projects. 3 images have "quality image" status on Wikimedia Commons. 47 politicians participated in the project which resulted in portraits of 15 female parliamentarians, of 31 male parliamentarians and of the male Governor of Tyrol.
Last year we realized that Art+Feminism sparked a lot of interest among new and diverse target groups and potential new volunteers but that these events need some support from experienced Wikimedians in order to be successful. Hence, WMAT started its own edition of A+F this year, in cooperation with and as part of the ELEVATE Festival in Graz - a like-minded group with whom we have been collaborating on various occasions during the last four years. This not only provided us with additional publicity as we were part of the communication and outreach strategy for the festival, but also support concerning organization on-site in Graz - the organizers provided us with a free event space in a local art collective. we also invited new volunteers from last year's event to join us with the organization this years.
Despite thorough preparation, the edit-a-thon faced many common challenges of this type of events: Despite an application for changing our account to create a larger number of new accounts we did not have the rights to do so in time for the event, articles were deleted shortly after their creation and could only be safed as we "knew the right people" to help online. All this shows how difficult bordering impossible it became to organize such an event without support from an affiliate or long-term editor - no matter how bold an motivated newcomers are. As the volunteer co-organizer and one participant were two well-networked journalists, we also got a lot of media attention around the event. Of course none of the articles went without hate comments and often personal insults towards the organizers when being shared on social media (twitter etc.), showing once more that putting yourself out there to support diversity comes with a price that not everybody is willing to pay - for volunteers as well as for staff, who are less flexible to back out when being harrased online.
Our main aim for this event was not to produce the biggest amount of articles in one day (which would be hard for complete rookies anyhow, given the complexities of the German-language community), but to start a network of diversity-oriented volunteers who help and support each other beyond to face the challenges that come with this kind of volunteering. This takes time and resources but we think it is the only sustainable approach to change things in the long run. Follow-up events for the coming months in Vienna and other parts of Austria are planned to make use of the momentum. That was also also the beautiful part of the event: the solidarity among participants and remote volunteers likewise. During the preparation of the event especially German volunteers supported us with their know-how, curating article lists, and participating remotely.
The edit-a-thon was organized by the female Wikimedian Sista1210 and by two female WMAT staff members. The participants were 11 women (1 of them only virtually) 3 men (2 of them only virtually) and 3 female visitors who only stopped by for the presentations / parts of the event. 8 participants were new users. The event resulted in 6 new Wikipedia articles, 5 improved Wikipedia articles and 41 new files on Wikimedia Commons. WMAT supported the edit-a-thon with organizational work, travel costs, information material and equipment.
Following the Second World War, UNESCO adopted the Hague Convention (1954) which created rules to protect cultural goods during armed conflicts.
The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) was founded in 1996 to work to protect the world's cultural heritage threatened by wars and natural disasters. Austria has close ties to Blue Shield as Karl von Habsburg has been the president of Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS) since 2008. WMAT is collaborating with Blue Shield in the context of the summer university program with the University of Vienna. Together with Blue Shield representatives we received two sponsoring cheques (worth 5.000 EUR each) for the summer university programms of 2016 und 2017 during the ceremony around the signature of the Blue Shield Memorandum in Vienna.
150 guests were present at the presentation. On the part of Wikimedia our ED and the Wikimedians Friedrich Schipper and Jean-Frédéric were responsible for the organization.
Wikipedia for Peace is a project that brings together peace activism with Wikipedia - the aim is to improve the content on peace and justice-related topics on Wikipedia and at the same time increase the interest on peace and social movements within our communities. SCI Austria and Wikimedia Austria have organized two international “Wikipedia for Peace” camps in 2015 and 2016. Two more camps are planned for 2017 in Tirol and for the first time in Germany (Berlin).
After considerable interest from other international communities we decided to host a training camp this spring to motivate and engage people from all around Europe (and beyond) to start their own “Wikipedia for Peace” projects. The training used discussion and non-formal learning methods rather than formal presentations. We hope to turn the project into a movement within Service Civil International (SCI) and Wikimedia, starting an on- and offline community that is engaged with peace. The training was funded through Erasmus+, so travels, accommodation and food are covered by the European Commission. It was also very helpful that SCI Austria handled the Erasmus+ grant, so WMAT did not have to serve as a fiscal sponsor on top of the other grants we are already handling this year.
The results of the Kick-off meeting were are a Wikimedia for Peace manifesto, a peace camp tool kit which shall be presented at Wikimania 2017, new networks between Wikimedia and SCI volunteers, and first project ideas (there will be a Peace Camp in Switzerland in 2018 etc.).
The 22 participants and the organizer, Wikimedian Shikeishu, came from 11 different European countries: Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 4 participants were Austrians (including 3 women) and 19 Non-Austrians (including 12 women).
WMAT's Community IdeaLab (Ideenwerkstatt), introduced as a format three years ago, is a regular workshop for incorporating community ideas into WMAT's short-term and mid-term planning. These topics were presented, discussed and shaped this time:
Austrian community input to the Wikimedia 2030 strategy discussion
WikiDaheim, a new Wikipedia writing and photography project
The IdeaLab took place in WMAT's office. It's possible to host events with at least 15 people in our new office. That's why it wasn't necessary to move to other places as it was the case in past years. The IdeaLab was organized by a staff member and it was attended by 7 Wikimedians, among them 3 women. One of the new future board members was also present which provided especially the discussions around strategy with a valuable external perspective.
The Writing Competition ("Schreibwettbewerb") is a traditional contest for high-end articles in the German-language Wikipedia. WMAT supported the 26th edition by donating three Wikipedia hoodies. 29 editors participated in the 26th Writing Competition and 29 articles were nominated.
After the competition, many of these articles were nominated as featured or good articles. Here is a list of articles which were recognized as featured or good articles (until 2017-07-10):