Meeting: 2022 AGM/President's Report

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has continued into 2022, widespread vaccination has meant the possibility of face-to-face meetings has returned, particularly as the relaxation of the Wikimedia Foundation’s travel policy occurred in February this year.

Wikimedia Australia started the 2021–22 term as a participant in a number of global virtual events including Wikimania 2021 in August and WikidataCon in October. Physical meetups and edit-a-thons have started to happen again alongside the regular online community and other meetings, and the Wikimedia Summit, Wikimania 2023 and other global events will be resuming in-person from later this year.

Annual Plan

In mid-2021, Wikimedia Australia applied for the final time for funding from the Wikimedia Foundation’s Simple Annual Plan Grants (APG) program to cover costs of chapter governance, community support, and outreach and engagement.

Early in the term, the committee worked with Patrick Moriarty of Strategic Australia Communications to develop a three-year strategic plan for the chapter. This plan enabled us to apply for the new multi-year General Support Funding program from the Wikimedia Foundation which was approved in May this year for a three-year grant.

This year we have funded some amazing work from our community, including the Australian Census Data tool by Maia Williams; Wikidata Fellowships to Brent Tweedie, Margaret Donald and Kerrie Burn; and a series of GLAM training modules by Mike Dickison. Thanks also to all the community members who have stepped up to work as mentors, advisors and testers for these wonderful projects.

As always, special thanks also to our key community members and facilitators including Kerry Raymond, Ann Reynolds, Margaret Donald and Toby Hudson and others, who have have volunteered their time and resources to conduct online training, facilitate events and manage hugely successful campaigns such as 1Lib1Ref and Wiki Loves Earth.

Global and regional engagement

Wikimedia Australia continues to work closely with the Wikimedia Foundation and the global community to advance the capabilities and sustainability of the movement. Several of our members have been involved in movement initiatives such as Movement Strategy implementation, the Movement Charter, the Global Code of Conduct and elections for the Board of Trustees.

WMAU is a key member of the ESEAP (East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific) regional cooperation hub, and this year has volunteered to host an ESEAP Conference in Sydney in November 2022. This has been and will be a lot of work for the committee, staff and volunteers, but will be an exciting opportunity to re-connect with our friends and colleagues in the region after several years. ESEAP will also be hosting Wikimania 2023 in just over a year.

Our close relationship with our friends across the Tasman in Aotearoa New Zealand continues, and the Wikimedia User Group of Aotearoa New Zealand was established as an incorporated society in March this year, so I offer our congratulations to WANZ and their new committee for this important step.

Committee of management

The term of this committee started on 8 August 2021, and had a full cohort of members across four states and territories (New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory). We welcomed Bunty Avieson, Michael Barritt and Paige Wright as new members. Today we welcome three new members to the committee: Jeremy Ludlow, Kelly Tall and Peter Neish.

Leaving the committee in this term are Paige, Michael and Sam Wilson and I thank them all for their service this year, particularly Sam who has been on the committee since 2017 and been our chief technical and website wizard.

My thanks to the committee executive this year: Tom Hogarth as vice-president, Amanda Lawrence as secretary, and Pru Mitchell as treasurer; and our amazing staff Caddie Brain and James Gaunt. James worked with us as an intern in mid-2021, and has been the co-ordinator for The Record, an amazing program to improve coverage of Australian music and musicians on Wikimedia projects, and a Wikimedian-in-residence at the Australian Music Vault. I’m happy to say James has been appointed as Wikimedia Australia’s second staff member, the project and communications co-ordinator and will start next week - so welcome James.

The year ahead

Unfortunately I have over-committed myself in terms of work and education this year, and have decided to stand down as president of Wikimedia Australia. I am delighted to congratulate and hand over to Amanda Lawrence who has been elected the new president. I will remain on the committee and will take the role of Secretary to assist with the transition to the new committee term. Thanks Amanda for taking on the role, I know you will be amazing, and I hand over to you to welcome the new committee.

Alex Lum

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