User: Andrew Owens/Regional participation

< User:Andrew Owens

Regional participation in Wikimedia Australia is vital to ensuring its success. Expanding it is not an automatic process, and is contingent on recognising three things:

  • Wikimedia Australia is a truly national chapter, with members from almost every part of Australia.
  • Diversity is a good thing - each area has different cultural and historical realities and artefacts, different approaches work in different places, and every financial member should be able to feel that they are part of the movement and can help to bring the Statement of Purpose to life in their area. If locals who are cognisant of local cultural norms are setting the agenda, then projects and planning are far more likely to work.
  • The chapter is there as a supporting institution - it does not run the projects, but it provides a framework within which projects can grow, a place where ideas can be exchanged and members with less experience can learn from their peers.

Up until this point, projects have been rather centralised initiatives. The goal of the Regional Participation movement within Wikimedia Australia is to facilitate the growth of projects in any location in which Wikimedia Australia has members. Members will not be left on their own - the plan is to develop a flexible kit or pack with which even lone volunteers in far-flung areas can approach local bodies confidently, professionally and with a sense of purpose. It is hoped that this will attract potential members and also create the basis for future projects, enhancing Wikimedia Australia's sustainability and improving its conformity with its Statement of Purpose at a national level.

Status

(As of September 2010:)

The information kit is in development, and is now a priority for the chapter, but events during the 2009-2010 term have tempered my enthusiasm with some cold, hard reality. Lessons learned:

  • In order to build a community, one needs to start with a community to build.
  • Two hands are better than one.
  • A house divided against itself cannot stand.
  • A strategic plan is necessary for future growth.

I will have more to say on this in my 2010 nomination statement. I am heartened by the fact that the nominations presently include country NSW, Adelaide and Melbourne, Perth and will soon include Brisbane - this will be the most regional committee we've ever had and the chance for some new minds to produce something great is really there this time.

Statement of Purpose

The following maps the three points in our Statement of Purpose to the aims of the Regional Participation project.

Our members should be given encouragement and support to:

organise and participate in educational and social events that promote development of Free Cultural Works and related open source software systems, in particular wikis

  • meet and develop links with each other as well as with like-minded peers from around Australia;
  • meet and develop links with representatives from local institutions and organisations, including the GLAM sector, historical societies and free culture organisations;
  • build relationships with schools/education district offices, TAFEs, teaching representative bodies and professional associations;
  • conduct events appropriate in size and scope to the base and talents of members and volunteers available.

increase public awareness, support and participation in the projects hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF)

  • aim to enhance participation in Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wikisource and other relevant projects at a local level.

develop resources to assist Australians in the creation and maintenance of Free Cultural Works

  • aim to build self-sustaining communities around the projects developed, and use contacts in Wikimedia Australia membership to link communities together.

Examples of possible projects

(fill in here)

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