My name is Sherry Antoine, I’m the program director of AfroCROWD. I think among its meanings, Knowledge Equity means equal access and inclusion for all who pursue knowledge and its curation, creation, and presentation. That includes literal access to the technology that makes Wikipedia possible in the most remote areas of the world regardless of background (who you are) or foreground (where you are, what you have).
During my time directing programming of AfroCROWD, which, founded by Alice Backer, has been around since 2015, we have grown from the local New York City area, all over the United States, with organizers in Europe and partners in Africa and the Caribbean. I am also the lead organizer of the new “Wikimedians of the Caribbean User Group”. Forming in late 2018, and becoming a user group in the spring, “Wiki Cari” as we call it, has already presented or held events around the world. In both groups, Wikimedians of the Caribbean as well as AfroCROWD, we are working on making the most of each opportunity to continually expand and connect the Wikimedia community in the world.
For more than 10 years now, cultural institutions around the world have partnered with Wikimedians to make their collections more visible and to encourage re-use via Wikimedia platforms. Collaborations of this kind, GLAM-Wiki projects (with Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), often use Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons as platforms. Images of cultural collections are uploaded to Wikimedia’s media repository Wikimedia Commons and are re-used as illustrations in Wikipedia articles.
For several years, a growing number of GLAM-Wiki partnerships also work with Wikidata, the free, multilingual knowledge base of the Wikimedia ecosystem. Cultural institutions and Wikimedians upload data about cultural collections to Wikidata: it provides an accessible way to publish collections data as Linked Open Data, and makes the collection data multilingual, re-usable and discoverable across the web. Since 2019, files on Wikimedia Commons can now also be described with multilingual structured data from Wikidata. This will make the (structured) data component of GLAM-Wiki collaborations even more prominent in the future.
My name is Marc Miquel, I work on a project called Wikipedia Cultural Diversity Observatory (WCDO), which is a joint space for researchers and activists to study Wikipedia’s content diversity coverage, discuss the strategic needs and propose solutions to improve it and fight against the knowledge gaps.
The project wants to explain both the causes of the gaps and to provide a picture of the cultural representation of every language in every place in the world and at the same time, stimulate sharing content across languages. To fight the knowledge gaps, we want to raise awareness by providing different types of resources: datasets, visualizations, and statistics, as well as lists of articles and tools that show the most relevant gaps that need to be bridged.
Community conversations, which took place in parallel with the Wikimedia 2030 Working Groups activities, were the occasion for different communities to provide their views, needs and wishes in relation to the future of our movement. Having worked with the Arabic speaking community, these are the most important points and areas that I collected in different discussions in various channels between March and September 2019. In total, over 50 people from different Arabic speaking countries, and even abroad, mostly men, participated in the discussions.
To me, I think “knowledge equity” means that we apply the principles of democracy and self-determination to the landscape of knowledge production and dissemination. This translates to a lot of things in practice: it is about actively including voices that have historically been silenced; it is about making sure that the ways in which they understand the world are a core part of the way that we design our repositories of knowledge. It means that institutions that claim that knowledge equity is a part of their mission actually provide ecosystems located in our countries for us where we can work, think, and produce.
For me, “Knowledge Equity” means having the inclusion of marginalized voices of our movement. It also means free and easy access to the local cultural heritage and the indigenous knowledge. The problem nowadays are the restrictions and the barriers that stop us from being able to open this knowledge to public – whether it is in the form of restricted public access to the cultural institution works or lack of platforms that support the oral knowledge.
Just like in several other countries in French-speaking Africa, there is a glaring lack of content on women from the Ivory Coast, both on Wikipedia and in other projects in the Wikimedia sphere. In this context, where we are working to reduce the considerable gender gap, equity for us refers to the fair treatment of information and the balance of content in the Wiki projects. For example, equity for us would not be an equal share of articles or photos on men and women, but an important, highlighted presence through quality content of notable women from our country in the different projects.
Together we have imagined a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. Every single person associated with the Wikimedia movement is committed to this vision. The journey towards this enormous goal is not effortless.