The GLAM movement in Catalonia has been very active the past few years. Edit-a-thons and workshops have taken place in all kinds of institutions, but the one that was held this April in Fundació Miró in Barcelona (Catalonia), co-organized by Amical Viquipèdia, was really special: the edit-a-thon lasted for 35 consecutive hours, split in three session. Moreover, during the first hours of the edit-a-thon, Catalan Wikipedia reached 400.000 articles – a magical coincidence that made the event even more special.
35 consecutive hours editing Wikipedia? It IS possible!
Fundació Miró’s Espai 13 is celebrating the 35th anniversary since its creation. Fundació Miró had already collaborated with Wikipedia back in 2011, when they hosted an edit-a-thon about the Catalan artist Joan Miró. But this time Amical Viquipèdia and Fundació Miró agreed to make a huge celebration to commemorate the event: 35 consecutive hours editing Wikipedia.
During that time, around fifty Art and Philosophy university students from all over the country, and around fifteen volunteer Wikipedians, gathered in the workplace to start or expand articles on 300 artists who have exhibited at Espai 13, Fundació Miró’s space dedicated to promoting young artists’ work.
To start the event, we held a press conference at 12am on Friday, April 12th, 2013. The first shift of participants was already prepared to start working on the 300 proposed articles about the Espai 13 artists – and some of those artists were present at the event too, so the students were able to take freely licensed pictures of them and post them to Wikimedia Commons. The 26 Art and Philosphy students who participated in the first turn, plus the 5 volunteer Wikipedians who were there to help them, stayed until 10pm – that is, 10 hours. The second turn comprised a similar number of participants. They worked admirably during the whole night without rest until 10am next day, when the third shift took over and stayed until the end of the edit-a-thon eleven hours later, finishing at 9pm on April 13th, 2013.
The students and the volunteer Wikipedians didn’t just write on Wikipedia – there were parallel activities scheduled in order to get out, relax the mind and get ready for more work on articles. In addition to lunch and dinner at the magnificient gardens of the museum, those activities included a guided visit to the museum at midnight, conferences by Wikipedians, a couple of performances from two of the artists that were being written about, and two yoga sessions –one of them being held at 6am in the morning at Fundació Miró’s balcony, when Barcelona was waking up and the sight was breathtaking.
Catalan Wikipedia reaches 400.000 articles
Nonetheless, the edit-a-thon at Fundació Miró was not the only celebration of the day. As luck would have it, the 400,000th article in Catalan Wikipedia was written during the event. Catalan language is the 75th most spoken language in the world with 11,5 millions speakers, yet Catalan Wikipedia occupies the 15th place by number of articles. Catalan-speaking territories are situated in Spain, France, and Italy, whose languages make a strong influence to its speakers, specially Spanish – most of Catalan speakers are bilingual, knowing Spanish as well.
At 5.23pm, in the middle of a conference about “Open knowledge and the cultural institutions,” a participant announced the good news and we opened champagne bottles in the presence of Barcelona TV, who covered the news live. Catalan National TV also joined the event at midnight and the next day broadcasted a two-minute video about the the event being the longest edit-a-thon ever and the 400.000 articles milestone.