Education/Newsletter/June 2013/Growing contributions from wikiArS initiative

wikiArS, the initiative to engage arts students to draw free portraits of contemporary personalities, is finalizing its second academic year. The initiative has grown after the pilot experience in the first year. We contacted more schools, 9 of them decided to participate and 5 have already started. As a result we have more students, more images created and more people involved overall.

Participants in Llotja (Barcelona)
Participants in UCA (Jerez)
Illustration by CarolGC for Wikijunior

We also tested new ways of participation. The number of internship students Amical Wikimedia has increased to 13, coming from the schools of Llotja (Barcelona), Serra i Abella (L'Hospitalet) and Escola d'Art de Manresa. In addition, 4 students from EDRA (Rubí) are doing their Final Degree Project within the initiative. Finally, 7 students from the University of Cádiz are making their contributions within an elective course, thanks to the help from Wikimedia España.

Part of the students of Llotja continues making portraits of twentieth century celebrities without free pictures known. We put much attention on two aspects: the portraits shall not be considered a derivative work from any existing photograph or film, and the drawings shall have their own style but being encyclopedic, without falling into caricature. With other students we have opted for other types of illustrations that require an expert on the subject to help them finding information, make corrections and check them before uploading. It is a triple supervision model by the school teacher and wikimedian mentor. For Catalan schools there are several advisors who help us in this task in areas such as Earth Sciences, History and extinct mammals. Project mentors in University of Cadiz helped students find expert advisors in the areas that the different students chose, such as medicine, architecture, chemistry, magic...

There are new approaches also in the type of contributions and their purpose. The contributions of the students from the University of Cádiz are movies, mostly generated with Blender, exploring the possibility to build them upon free 3D models, learning and benefiting from copyleft culture. Moreover two students from EDRA (Rubí) aren't working in images for Wikipedia but illustrations by children to be published in Wikijunior (Wikibooks).

These days some students have already published works in Commons while others are still working. Among the images published some have received distinctions, especially as Valued and Quality images.

The Wikimedia Foundation gave an Individual Engagement Grant to the veteran wikipedian David Gómez to work in the consolidation of the wikiArs initiative and to document the experience in order to ease its replication. The grant period spans from Spring to Autumn 2013, completing the two academic years of the program.