Photo by AbhiSuryawanshi, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Over the first weekend of November, 80 Wikimedians from 43 countries, and speaking close to 30 languages, gathered in Stockholm for the Wikimedia Diversity Conference. The conference was organised by Wikimedia Sweden (Sverige), with support from Wikimedia Norway (Norge), and made possible through a conference grant from the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Diversity Conference provided a thematic space for community organizers and program coordinators across the world to share experiences from working in the diversity space within the Wikimedia movement. We came together to reflect on questions such as: What are some common pain points? How can we support each other better? What skills do we need to develop to advance our work in this field? With a shared understanding of what makes each of us unique, and what brings us together, we then engaged in conversation.

Participants of the conference brought with them examples of a wide range of initiatives to increase diversity in Wikimedia projects. At the conference they were able to discuss these examples, network with each other, and share insights. Capping the group at 80 also allowed for participants to gather for group dialogue aimed at harnessing our collective knowledge and to jointly explore further actions. This specific dialogue activity was organised as a “WikiCafé”, relying on the conversational process known as World Café, and lasted around three hours. The starting point of the conversation was the strategic direction, guided by the question How can we move towards knowledge equity?”

Outcomes

This conversation outcomes are now published. Conference participants also released a statement articulating that “different communities have different needs, and currently face uneven resources and distribution of support” and that “progress is blocked primarily by lack of resources in terms of infrastructure, access, capacity and people, and perceptions of Wikimedia as a closed community.” The resource page also lists a series of problems and identified solutions which the statement is based on.

It is now time to take this conversation beyond the conference and hear from the movement at large. We are asking community members to answer three questions: What does diversity mean in your context? What specific needs should be addressed in order to advance your work? And what resources would address those needs. Please join the conversation.

Where are we going next?

The outcomes of the conversation were captured and documented on the conference portal on Meta. In the synthesis, one group of conference participants pulled out what common blockers, as well as possible solutions. We also identified what are the most critical next steps needed in order to move towards knowledge equity. A drafting group created a summary of the key takeaways. Conference participants and other diversity advocates are invited to engage with these outcomes and help define what diversity means in the local context and share more thoughts online around the three questions shared.

If you are interested in building inclusive communities and projects in the Wikimedia universe, connect with the Wikimedia diversity group on Meta and join the diversity conversation.

We want to hear from you! Take this outcome to your local community, project or affiliate and identify what it means in your context. Imagine a world where everyone has equal footing to share in free knowledge, and share your thoughts on it.

Sara Mörtsell, Education Manager, Wikimedia Sweden (Sverige)
María Cruz, Communication and Outreach Project Manager, Learning and Evaluation, Wikimedia Foundation