Wikimedia UK receives funding to boost digital development in heritage organisations

Digital Skills for Heritage poster by Katie Crampton (WMUK). CC BY-S.A 4.0.

Wikimedia UK, the national charity for the global Wikimedia movement is among the successful organisations awarded funding by The National Lottery Heritage Fund Digital Skills for Heritage initiative, to raise digital skills and confidence across the UK heritage sector. National Lottery funded Digital Skills for Heritage has expanded thanks to an additional £1 million from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Wikimedia UK’s project ‘Developing open knowledge skills, tools and communities of practice for sustainable digital preservation’ is one of 12 grants announced today, awarded to address three distinct areas; driving digital innovation and enterprise, providing answers to organisations’ most pressing concerns, and empowering collaborative work to achieve common aims.

Digital skills are more relevant and necessary than ever as heritage organisations affected by the coronavirus pandemic look toward a more resilient future. In October 2020, The National Lottery Heritage Fund published the findings of its survey of over 4,000 staff, trustees and volunteers at 281 heritage organisations, identifying the current digital skills and attitudes of the sector. The results highlighted what tools and training organisations needed to weather the coronavirus pandemic and move forward into a more resilient and creative future. 

Wikimedia UK has a strong track record of collaborating across heritage and cultural organisations, developing strategies to embed open knowledge and engaging with wider virtual audiences. Over two years £119,000 funding will develop skills, tools and communities of practice for the sustainable digital preservation of heritage. Engagement will be through a range of opportunities, from short webinars explaining the role of open knowledge and the scope it holds for sharing and engaging in collections, through to close collaboration on the development and delivery of strategic plans for open knowledge; enabling participating organisations to ensure that heritage is better explained as well as preserved for the long term.

Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK, Lucy Crompton-Reid, said “Wikimedia UK is excited to have been awarded funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver this vital and timely project. Our ambition is to equip heritage staff and volunteers with the skills and tools to share their content and collections online, with a particular focus on increasing access to underrepresented cultural heritage. We look forward to working in partnership with the heritage sector to make this happen, and to ensure that the extraordinary reach and longevity of Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects benefits everyone.”  

Josie Fraser, Head of Digital Policy at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said, “Throughout the coronavirus pandemic we have all seen the essential role that digital skills have played in helping heritage organisations continue to work, communicate and connect. We are proud that our National Lottery funded Digital Skills for Heritage projects have provided the sector with practical support when it has been most needed.  

“The £1 million Culture Recovery Fund boost from DCMS recognises the value of digital skills and allows us to expand the initiative. These new grants focus on what organisations have told us they need most – digital innovation, enterprise and business skills to improve and rethink how the sector operates.”

Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture, said,
“I have been really impressed by the innovative ways that sites and projects have already pivoted during the pandemic, but now more than ever it is essential that our heritage sector has the latest digital skills to bring our history to life online. This £1 million boost from the Culture Recovery Fund will ensure that staff and volunteers have the skills they need to keep caring for the past and conserving for the future through the sector’s reopening and recovery.”

Read more about the awards here.

Further information & images: press@wikimedia.org.uk

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. Website: www.heritagefund.org.uk

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund and #HereForDigital

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