Increasing diverse content on Wikimedia projects with UK music festivals and labels

Lady Leshurr at Field Day 2017 – image by Jwslubbock

I’ve been doing some outreach to various UK music festivals and labels to encourage them to release content on their artists and to consider giving Wikimedia community members press passes to take photographs at their events.

Last weekend I did some photography at Field Day 2017, taking photos of artists like Loyle Carner, Mura Masa, Omar Souleyman, Gaika, Lady Leshurr and Sinkane, most of whom did not have photos on Commons already. You can see all the photos here.

There are lots of other festivals where Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) artists make up a large proportion of the performers, but perhaps most prominently is Afropunk Festival in London on July 22-23. Artists like Lianne la Havas, Danny Brown, NAO, Corinne Bailey Rae, Little Simz, Saul Williams and Nadia Rose are performing at the new Printworks venue in Elephant and Castle, South London.

Afropunk’s organisers are happy to have Wikimedia photographers present, so if you would be interested in coming along to take photos, please get in touch with me at john.lubbock@wikimedia.org.uk. You can also help contribute to improving content on Wikimedia projects by adding to the WikiProject Black British Music page, which lists artists who need their articles improving or creating in the first place.

Sinkane at Field Day 2017 – image by Jwslubbock

We are blessed in the UK with an incredibly diverse and vibrant culture comprised of the hundreds of diaspora communities who live here. Britain grew rich and powerful by exploiting the peoples it colonised, but now we have the opportunity to open up knowledge and information so that it is accessible by everyone in the world. We also have the opportunity to animate and work in partnership with diaspora groups to encourage them to use Wikipedia as a way to make accurate information about their history and culture available to everyone.

That’s why I started the Kurdish Wikipedia Project, and why Wikimedia UK is working with Kurdish cultural organisations to train Kurdish people to edit Wikipedia and improve the its coverage of Kurdish history and culture. At the moment, there are only 28 people on Wikidata listed as Kurdish, compared to thousands of people belonging to groups with more developed Wikipedia communities.

Wikidata timeline showing all the Kurdish people with Wikidata items.

People in the music industry I have spoken to recognise that articles about their artists are often not very good, but they usually don’t understand how they can go about improving them without it being a conflict of interest, and why copyright makes it hard for them to release content to illustrate articles with. I spoke to representatives from two music labels a couple of weeks ago, but I found that content releases would be difficult as they would have to get permission from photographers who had granted them the rights to use photos of their artists, but might not be happy to release them on Open Licenses.

So that’s why we would like to encourage our community to get out there and help increase the diversity of content on Wikimedia. Perhaps you have photos of places outside Europe where little content exists currently on Commons? Perhaps there is a festival or cultural event you would like to go to but need help getting a press pass or with expenses? We can help.

Lots of organisations will be happy to give someone a press pass once they understand the content will be used to improve the Wikipedia articles about their event or artists. Tell us what events you would like to attend and we can see if we can get you a press pass.

Everyone can take part in improving the diversity of the content on Wikimedia projects. If we are to create the best, most accurate encyclopaedia in the world, it cannot only reflect the interests and culture of European people. So tell us your ideas, and let’s make Wikipedia more diverse.

Comments

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  • It’s still quite backwards that the labels are unable to address such distribution gaps themselves, though. They could at least fix their contracts with photographers for the future, or organise some sort of photo-taking event for their artists. It would probably be more cost-effective than many dinners or press conferences.

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