Aotearoa's second-ever Wikimedia conference, Auckland WikiCon, was held at Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 July. It followed the successful inaugural WikiCon in Hokitika in March; the final conference for the year will be in Wellington in November. With over 20 attending, this small event was still New Zealand's largest Wikimedia meeting to date, and in the time of COVID-19 one of the rare face-to-face meetups in the world with no social distancing or mask-wearing required.
The meeting was hosted by Auckland Museum, with an introductory talk by the Director of Collections and Research David Reeves, who made it clear that engaging with open knowledge, linked data, and the Wikimedia movement in particular was important to the institution. Auckland Museum's James Taylor gave two talks, on the Museum's Wikimedia strategy to date,and their upcoming project grant to work with the new New Zealand History school curriculum (slides here). Ambrosia10 complemented these with a whirlwind tour of ways editors could contribute to Wikimedia projects using the images and data of Auckland Museum – useful for beginners and experienced editors alike (slides and text here). Another presentation, by Andrew Wooding, was an introduction to Wikisource (summarised here), a project which until now has not been on the radar of most New Zealand editors.
Happy editors at Auckland WikiCon
The conference was balanced with a generous allocation of networking, Unconference, and informal help. The number of beginners attending was so large that two sessions ran simultaneously, one just for beginning editors with one-to-one help to get them started with their first edits. As a helper (notes Giantflightlessbirds), one of the most rewarding contributions from this session was seeing a new editor create her first article, in Portuguese (on Matariki, the Māori New Year festival). The newbie editors resolved to run a meetup on August 28th, hopefully the beginning of regular Wikimedia meetups in New Zealand's largest city. This, along with a conference session on making the user group an incorporated society, bodes well for the health of the Wikimedia movement in Aotearoa.
Ōtepoti Dunedin Edit-a-thon
An edit-a-thon took place in Ōtepoti Dunedin on Saturday 10 July at the Hocken Collections Library from 10.30am – 4pm, Wikipedia:Meetup/Dunedin 4. This was the first of three edit-a-thons that are part of the Performing Arts Aotearoa Wikiproject funded by the Wikimedia Foundation.
The coordinator Pakoire and co-host DrThneed were joined in person by seven others, which included six new editors from the performing arts community, and two people working remotely in Wellington and Christchurch.
There were two content focus areas for the workshop:
To improve content around the legacy of Allen Hall which is the theatre venue of the Otago University theatre department and has been operating for decades
To celebrate the current performing arts companies in the city by increasing content on people and organisations in Wikipedia
The red door of Allen Hall is being used as a hook for a Did You Know feature on the Wikipedia homepage which links two new articles created for this event, Allen Hall and Lisa Warrington.
The dashboard for the event recorded the new editors adding 27 references to Wikipedia between them and a total of 2,017 words. Comments from new editors after they had learnt the basics and started editing related to how accessible they found doing it. There was motivation amongst many in the group to continue to meet as a way of progressing the articles they are interested in. With the experienced editors overall including Wikidata the edit-a-thon added 48.1K words, 4 commons uploads, 245 references, across 53 articles including 4 new Wikipedia articles and 15 new Wikidata articles.
Conflict of interest is an area of consideration for editing in performing arts, since most subject experts are also practicing arts and producers. This edit-a-thon / meetup format was useful and people worked on unrelated articles but in tandem with others who knew where to get information.
Both the Otago Theatre Department and the Hocken Collections Library were keen to host this event but the timing meant the Hocken was a better option. It was a very suitable venue and the event was very warmly supported by staff with special thanks to Lynn Benson. The university subject librarian for Art and Humanities Alexander Ritchie has also expressed a desire to support Wikipedia events in the future.
Performing Arts Aotearoa Wikiproject overview
This is a project to increase content and improve the quality of performing arts information from Aotearoa New Zealand on Wikipedia, Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons and is a four month project from 17 May - 10 September 2021 made possible with a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. The Wikiproject has goals to ensure good representation of women, Māori and people of colour artists, producers, productions and organisations to address existing bias in Wikipedia.
There are two more scheduled edit-a-thons as part of this project:
Auckland on Saturday 14 August 10.30am - 4pm at the Auckland Theatre Company studio - 487 Dominion Road, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024. The focus is influential Auckland women in performing arts.
Wellington on Saturday 21 Augusts 10.30am - 4pm at the Nola Millar Library, Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre - 11 Hutchison Street, Newtown, Wellington. The focus is staff and graduates of Toi Whakaari and the New Zealand School of Dance.
The Wikidata entries have far exceeded the project goals with approximately 750 items created or added to. There is more work to do to create opportunities to upload images to Wikimedia Commons under appropriate licences, as predicted this involves a lot of education with individuals and organisations as well as motivating people to follow through.