Projekt:Europeana Awareness 2012/Wiki Loves Public Art/Wikimania-presentation

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Slide 1 – Overview

Hi, my name is John Andersson and I am working for Wikimedia Sverige on a project called Europeana Awareness. Some of you might have heard my presentation about that yesterday. Today I will however focus on one particular part of that project. That is, the organization of the photo contest Wiki Loves Public Art and what happened there.

Slide 2 – Background

The Wiki Loves Public Art contest, or for short, WLPA, focused on getting volunteers to take photos of the artworks that are all around us. So that we could use them to illustrate our articles about the artworks, different styles, artists and other art related topics. For after all how fun is an article about art without an image of the artwork? I mean, here if anywhere an image says more than a thousand words.

As art plays a huge role in our society and often is both debated and appreciated we hoped through this initiative reach a new section of the public that want to focus on art and to find new collaborations in the art world.

I believe that these focused contests are more interesting to do than one that focus on everything as you have a better chance to reach specific groups.

We believe that we were rather successful with getting new volunteers and cooperations going as we had a large percentage of new contributors and quite a few new collaborations with institutions.

We also thought that it’s highly important to digitize public art as a large amount of public artworks get stolen, damaged and vandalized each year as they are not really protected that well and has a low priority in the municipal budget. There really is a deadline for us when it come to digitizing our common art treasures because they are disapearing!

The artworks are also spread out geographically which makes it hard and costly to take photos of them with paid staff. So a volunteer based contest is perfect for it. These are some of the reasons why Wikimedia Sverige thought that this was worth pursuing.

For our partner Europeana this was a possibility to increase their visibility on Wikimedia Commons, and to show for us Wikimedians how involved they are, and want to be, in our work for free knowledge. But for Europeana this was also to get a better understanding of the local Wikimedia communities and spread the idea of sharing cultural heritage information openly. Hence Europeana has worked and a lot with external communication and spread the word about the contest in their network, which is consisting of over 2,200 GLAMs.

So, after months of preparations and hard work the contest took place for the first time this May. There were five countries participating, all organizing limited pilots to try out the concept. There were also volunteers in a few other countries that started looking into the possibility.

The contest was organized in a federative fashion but still a lot of things had to be prepared centrally in advance. There were some things, such as logotypes. websites and the database that took much more time to get set up then I first guestimated. However, in the end I must say that I am very happy about the end results of all of them and next year they can all be used again.

Slide 3 – The Technical Stuff

As we use the same database framework as WLM we can harvest the lists on Wikipedia to a database and we can rather easily adopt and use some of the same tools that has been developed for Wiki Loves Monuments. Thanks to that we can save a lot of work!

The WordPress theme used for the website was developed by a Swedish volunteer as part of the preparations and can now easily be used by anyone that would like to organize the contest in the future and set up a website. We documented it well to make it easy not just for the other teams this year but also for future rounds of the contest.

Slide 4 – WLPA In Sweden

I will go through and tell you a bit about what happened in the different countries as I believe that there are a lot of lessons that can be learned how they handled the problems and possibilities. Hopefully some of these insights might be valuable for many of you.

In Sweden, thanks to the unclear FoP laws and a lack of databases we decided to not include artworks outside, but instead focus on public artworks that were in the Public Domain and within museums. This had some benefits and some specific problems.

First of all, as you know one of the major reasons for success with WLM is that it’s easy to find things that are close to you to photograph. Art museums on the other hand are not everywhere, especially if you specifically target the ones that mainly include old artworks. So easy access was only really true for large cities where we had found art museums with a large share of Public Domain artworks and that had agreed to work with us.

Secondly, to identify these museums, initiate contact and cooperations with all of them took a lot of time and effort. However, this do have a great value for our work at large as this gave a perfect opportunity to initiate new and good cooperations with many of them. Many of them thought of this as very fun and offered our volunteers free entrance. The photographers just needed to tell the staff that they were there for the contest.

The museums also helped us communicate about the contest and two of our jury members were photographers at the museums. We were very successful with our contacts with the museums and nine art museums decided to take part in the end.

Photographing in a museum did create some problems for the volunteers with the sometimes poor lightning in the museums, the fact that many of the objects have glass cases in the way which created reflections. But I personally believe that we had some really, really fantastic images from Sweden.

To bring in some new blood in the association we tried to organize a few small and rather informal photo safaris at the museums in order to reach more people and have a chance to talk with them about our wider work. We advertised on Facebook for around 10-20 euros per event and together walked around and took photos and had a cup of coffee together. We had more than 30 different people attending these events. 15 of them however took part in the last photo safari alone, so they did not upload images in time for the actual contest.

Even though this worked out really well and I hope we will include museums next year as well we wanted people also on the countryside to take part. Therefore we wanted to do something to make it possible to identify PD artworks also outside. What we came up with was the Open Database of Public Art in Sweden. A presentation about that was also given yesterday that some of you might have listened to, but for the rest of you, this is a project that I initiated when I realised that we lacked a database of public artworks in Sweden and my colleague André Costa has done a fantastic job the last months with getting it all in place.

We applied for funding from the Swedish innovation agency and we were fortunate enough to get it. We built the database, we started contacting Swedish municipalities, informed them about open data and requested that they share their data with us. We believe that this database have the potential to be a very valuable product for researcher, the art interested public, the tourism industry and many more. As this very problem seem to exist in many countries we hope that this database concept will be copied also by other chapters. Of course this is not a small task but arguably well worth doing! The plan is that the databases then will be connected to WikiData.

Slide 5 – WLPA In Spain

In Spain the contest took place in Barcelona. The Catalan team was very active on social media and manage to get a very good support from heavy actors in Barcelona. For example the contest was highlighted on Barcelona’s official website! I mean WOW! You really can’t buy that kind of advertisement! This show that it’s worth thinking big when you look for sponsors!

There were two fantastic volunteers in Barcelona that I would like to mention specifically: that is User:Pere prlpz and User:Enfo. The two of them took more than 5,000 photos in the city themselves and uploaded them on Wikimedia Commons!

Slide 6 – Winning photo

Look at this beauty and what perfect dimensions! This is the photo that took first place in this years contest. The photo was taken by User:Coldcreation.

Slide 7 – WLPA In Finland

Wikimedia Finland worked very hard with getting lists of only the artworks that were Public Domain in Finland. WMFI sorted through databases for 22 cities in Finland!

However, Finland does not have that many really old artworks so in the end only 76 artworks could be photographed as part of the contest. The PD was necessary as Finland has a rather crappy legislation with no FoP for artworks. However, this mean that the preparations for other countries with limited FoP have someone with experience to talk to!

This was Wikimedia Finland’s first attempt to organize a photo contest such as this and they looked at this as a tryout for Wiki Loves Monuments and a way to further increase cooperation with Wikimedia Sverige. The contest was also a PR opportunity where the chapter could talk about FoP and the value of it. An issue that is rather hard to get the spotlight on otherwise.

Slide 8 – Second prize photo

The international jury picked this beautiful green image as the winner of the second place! The photo was taken by User:Kartanofoto.

Slide 9 – WLPA In Austria

In Austria the team managed to dig out and prepare lists from two cities: Vienna and Linz. Not only that, they also created an awesome statistical tool that I looked at basically every ten seconds during the entire month to see what happened!

The Austrian team was also the most successful when it came to attract photographers with 48 percent of the total amount of uploaders and at the end of the contest they had photos of over 83 percent of the listed artworks!

The team told me that they did this by being active with external communication, by getting a website up fast, media attention etc.

Slide 10 – WLPA In Israel

Israel was the only country outside of Europe that was taking part in the contest this year. The Israeli participation was also unusual in the sense that Wikimedia Israel did not take part in the preparations. They Chapter clearly stated that they were not against the idea, but that they had no resources left for it this year. Instead it was lead by the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem. They started super late but still manage to pull it off with some hands on help from us.

They had a close cooperation with the Israeli team working on the Pikiwiki software which also sponsored prizes for the Israelis contest. Thanks to the database of the Israeli Museum there were artworks listed all over the country for the contest. They also organized a photo tour of a sculpture garden in Jaffa.

Slide 11 – Third prize photo

This is the beautiful photo that won the third prize! The photo was taken by Gila Brand.

Slide 12 – The International Jury and Prices

The international jury consisted of four volunteers from different countries. They went through a process where ten images from each country was nominated. They did their voting in three stages all openly on a page on Wikimedia Commons.

In the first round each member of the jury had the opportunity to nominate images to the second round. The five images that received three or more votes in the first round went directly to the final. The second round included all the images that received two votes in the first round and each jury member then had 5 votes that round. The third and final round included five images from the first round and four images from the second round. From the nine images in the final, the jury chose three winners.

The first prize was a travel cheque worth 500 euros, the second prize worth 300 euros and the third prize worth 200 euros. I personally still remember being a poor student and getting a prize with flexibility would have been a dream for me. But to make sure that there would be something more lasting all of them will receive a high quality print of the photo sponsored by Europeana.

Slide 13 – WLPA In Numbers

9,255 uploads from 5 countries 225 people uploaded images 57% new 2,169 different public artworks now have photos 75% coverage

Slide 14 – Goal

We hope to organize the contest also next year! We would lovr to see it expand both to more cities but also to new countries! So please let me know if you think that this would be something for your chapter, and please do remember the options that you have within the contest. This year we have successfully shown that it is possible also when there is tricky legislation in your country.

So does anyone have any questions?

To assess the legal situation when the discussion about FoP material on U.S. servers started on Wikimedia Commons we contacted the WMF legal team and asked what they thought about organizing a contest. They told us that they only have a few DMCA take-down notice for a Freedom of Panorama work per year; and that even though something might happen we shouldn’t self-censor ourselves unnecessary.

We of course kept a close eye on the Community discussions but since there seemed like a consensus that the photos would not be deleted was pretty much reached before Christmas we decided to push through but we also expand the contest to artworks within museums so that the teams that had started working could make adjustments if they so choose! This was however up to the national teams to decide about.