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2023:Program/GLAM, Heritage, and Culture/ZYA87J-Kulturbotschafterinnen und -Kulturbotschafter, a GLAM-approach in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH)

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Title: Kulturbotschafterinnen und -Kulturbotschafter, a GLAM-approach in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH)


Rainer Halama - Wuselig

I was born in the Swabian Region of West Germany in 1957 I was ripped from this idillic life in 1970, when my father took his family of three to India where he was in charge in setting up a joint-venture company for the production of radio parts in Coimbatore. As a thirteen year old I experinced the full culture shock. I went to boarding school in Kodaikanal at an American Highschool that just at this time was in the transition period from beeing a school for the kids of American missionaries to the renowed International School that it is today. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodaikanal_International_School). The unique learning experince there, the international diversity of the student and teacher body and the integration of the local enviroment, history and culture into the school curiculum probably made me the Wikimedian I am today. After three years my father was asssigned to Singapore. There I graduated from Singapore American School in 1974. In Singapore I was already old enough to roam about the city on my own, or travel with friends from School or on official School excursions up the west and east coast of West-Malaysia and to Sumatra. Returning to Germany I experienced reverse culture shock. I only learned about the concept of TCKs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_culture_kid) years later. I finished my German Secondary School, did my military service and studied Generals Economics at Tübingen University, with a two semester stint at the State University at New York followed by a three month trip through the USA and Canada, mostly hitch-hiking. I worked in diverse jobs as Export Manager, Key Account Manager, Sales Manager, tried running an independant sales-representation for a while. Married late, divorced soon, got a depression, found Wikipedia. Trying to illustrate my own articles, I found back to my old hobby photography. As a photographer I become involved in the Wiki loves.. Contests and also in Jury and organization work for these. Mainly via Wiki loves Monuments I also got into touch with the GLAM community. And trying to perfect the description and categorisation of my uploads, I got involved in Wikidata. I have organized local meetups, GLAM-events and aespecially at the later ones was dissapointed that they were mostly one-time highlights, with for the most part, no continuity, or built up of lasting relationships with these institutions. I asked myself, wether we as Wikimedians, for all the effort the institutions put in regarding, time and human ressources, really gave anything back to the institutions. Did we just click photoes of their exhibits and dump them in Commons, or where these photos of any use for future research in AND outside of the Wikiverse? Wonderful projects, like Coding da Vinci have evolved in the meantime. If we manage to also cooperate accross our own projects, transfer that know-how into the GLAM-Institutions, demonstrate to the institutions, that by collaborating with us, they can broaden their outreach and also find new research tools via structured data, we still can accomplish a lot. This is my goal as a “Kulturbotschafter”. Today I live in a stable relationship with a partner that doesn’t do any active editing, but found a niche as juror in Wiki loves … contests and is very tolerant ans supportive of all the time I put into Wikimedia projects. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/2016_06_25_-Wikimania_2016-086%28cropped%29.jpg (Marco Calvo, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Pretalx link

Etherpad link

Room: Room 324

Start time: Thu, 17 Aug 2023 14:15:00 +0800

End time: Thu, 17 Aug 2023 14:25:00 +0800

Type: Lightning talk

Track: GLAM, Heritage, and Culture

Submission state: confirmed

Duration: 10 minutes

Do not record: false

Presentation language: en

Abstract & description[edit source]

Abstract[edit source]

Wikipedia-KulturbotschafterInnen (Cultural ambassadors) are Wikimedia volunteers who have been trained to be competent partners in discussions with and in between the Wikimedia Community and GLAM-Institutions regarding digital partnerships with the goal to open access to our Cultural Heritage. They do this by bringing these different partners to a common communication level.

Description[edit source]

It is difficult for a common anonymous Wikimedia Volunteer to approach Cultural Institutions. The larger, the worse. Some actors within the institutions still have large biases to a work that anyone can edit. Anyone to them meaning incompenten amateurs, lacking academic credentials. Both worlds don’t really know how the other partner works and which rules and regulations and internal mechanisems shape they see as the results of the other sides works. With the Wikimedia Foundation and local Chapters like WMDE, WMAT and WMCH we have countervailing institutions that are regarded by the GLAM Institution as discussion partners on eye-level. And yes, we as volunteers acknowledge and profit from their great lobbying work. But the core value of our work as Wikimedians is that it is done by independant, self-governed volunteers, free of commercial interests. And so when it comes to the creation of content for our projects our focus should be on facilitating this work by the volunteers, but also try to make our work more sustainable, based on long-term cooperations, forged on continuity, beyond one-time light-tower events. I want to show the history of the Institution “Kulturbotschafter”, not denying the controversyy that it also caused resentment with part of our community that the “badge”Kulturbotsachafter” would create some kind of special cast of “Better-Wikimedians”, or that WMDE would have a bigger directorial leverage on volunteer work in the GLAM sector. I would like to gather input from other communities in the hope of improving the concept. I could envision the presentation also as part of a broader international discussion on approaches to GLAM-Institutions

Further details[edit source]

Qn. How does your session relate to the event themes: Diversity, Collaboration Future?

The main emphasis is definetly Collaboration: The Ambassador Part is not a one-directional affair. If you take the chapters, the community and the GLAM-Institutions the “Kulturbotschafter” is the one who represents the ideas of each group to the other two, trying to bring the three together in a common endeavor to free knowledge. Since absolute opening of GLAM-Institutions to open Access and Free Knowledge is still an utopy, that is a project for the Future. All that is recorded so far only mirrors the state of diversity that was in the past. And even there our mirrors have stains, where different power players over the years have bloated out parts of the history that they didn’t support idealogically. We as Wikimedians will allways only be the mirror. If we don’t do Original Research, we also don’t do active politics. But we can clear the spots from the mirror to allow the world before the mirror to become more inclusive, so that the diversity of our world can be better represented in our mirror.

Qn. What is the experience level needed for the audience for your session?

Average knowledge about Wikimedia projects or activities

Qn. What is the most appropriate format for this session?

  • Tick Onsite in Singapore
  • Empty Remote online participation, livestreamed
  • Empty Remote from a satellite event
  • Empty Hybrid with some participants in Singapore and others dialing in remotely
  • Empty Pre-recorded and available on demand