Reflections on two years in post

Photo shows the staff of Wikimedia UK in summer 2013
Stevie with staff colleagues (wearing number 12)

This post was written by Stevie Benton, Wikimedia UK’s Head of External Relations

They say that the passage of time is relative, and I agree. The last two years have passed both extremely quickly and yet slowly.

I’ve been working for Wikimedia UK for two years now, having started on 19 March 2012. The process of recruitment happened in the blink of an eye. The advert had been shared with me by a friend, but it wasn’t until the closing date I decided to apply. A week later I was rushing over from my previous job to get to the office for an interview – not having time to even change into a suit – and three days later, I’d been offered the position.

I’ve always been an admirer of what Wikipedia represents – a great collective effort to share knowledge, for free, with everyone on the planet. My own meagre contributions to that effort had been to correct some typos when I found them, and to remove vandalism when I encountered it. I registered an account, but it seems I’d never used it, inadvertently editing as an IP. I didn’t consider myself enough of a subject expert to make other kinds of contributions, but the opportunity to support Wikipedia and the other projects in a professional capacity was exciting. Two years later, it still is.

Wikimedia UK has changed quite a lot since those days and we’ve been involved in some great successes, such as Wiki Loves Monuments. We’ve had some challenging times as well. Being involved in a growing, evolving organisation as its fourth member of staff has been a richly rewarding experience.

We are moving into a new phase of operations now. We have an agreed strategic plan that focuses on delivering impact. We are consolidating our high level partnerships, for example through our Wikimedian in Residence programme, and we are looking at ways to deliver increased impact through the projects we support. Over the next few months I expect to be able to announce some exciting and interesting partnerships and of course, we have Wikimania 2014 to look forward to in August. We’re taking steps to build closer links with other “open” organisations and beginning to take a leading role in advocating wider changes that support our vision of open knowledge for all.

It’s an exciting time for our charity and I thank all of those volunteers and staff that make my role such an interesting and fulfilling one.