2022:Submissions/Democracy and Wikimedia - sharing insights on how our work strengthens civil society

From Wikimania

  • Language: English
  • Status: Live

Speaker(s)[edit source]

Daria Cybulska (WMUK)

Abstract[edit source]

In 2021, together with a colleague, I conducted reflection on how Wikimedia activities (eg editing training) increase information literacy skills, which in turn boosts people's capacities to become engaged, skilled, and informed citizens - something that the world needs a lot right now. In sharing this research I hope to share a hopeful note on how important our programme activities are in the context of things like fake news and the shrinking civil society space globally.
In essence, the findings I will be sharing are:
Wikimedia UK, through its programme delivery, helps strengthen civil society and democratic processes in the UK by:
1. Providing open and free access to accurate information – Wikimedia UK facilitates the recording and provision of factual and accurate historical and cultural memory (redressing the imbalance of representation for marginalised groups), thereby challenging media manipulation.
2. Improving information literacy skills – Wikimedia UK’s programmes promote information literacy by providing access to open knowledge, and facilitating its consumption and creation. Its content development programmes help fight mis- and disinformation, misrepresentation, systemic bias and inequality, thus building more tolerance and cultural understanding.
3. Encouraging volunteering – Working with Wikimedia UK provides opportunities for marginalised groups to self-organise, self-represent, learn useful skills and become active members of a democratic society.
4. Providing accessible collaborative infrastructure – Wikimedia UK’s programmes are delivered within the Wikimedia projects ecosystem, using its collaborative tools and drawing on its consensus-based community decision-making processes. Programme participants thereby gain direct experience of navigating community decision processes, self-representation and participation, achieving skills for civic engagement in public life outside of Wikimedia.

Learning Outcomes[edit source]

The audience could take away talking points about the importance of running Wikimedia activities in their context, with the focus on information skills and civic engagement.

Biography[edit source]

Daria Cybulska has worked at Wikimedia UK since 2012, initially focusing on events, outreach, partnerships, and community development, and now serving as the Director of Programmes and Evaluation. Since then she has developed programs to Increase Knowledge Equity via bringing diverse people and content onto Wikimedia projects.