2009-2010 AGM/Vice President/Craig Franklin
It’s been a good first year for Wikimedia Australia, and together we’ve achieved some remarkable successes in that time. From the successful GLAM-WIKI conference in August, to the various collaborations with third parties that have either been announced or are being worked upon, to the other worthwhile things that Wikimedians are doing all over the country, we’ve had a good year. I am running for the Vice President position because I believe that I can build upon the solid foundation that has been built, taking our organisation in new directions while at the same time continuing to work on what has already been started.
My real name is Craig Franklin, and I’m from Queensland. Some of you may have met me in person at GLAM-WIKI. My day job sees me working in the IT and Accounting fields, but my real interests are a lot wider than that, as you’ll see if you browse through my edit history. I have been a Wikimedian since 2004, during which time I’ve racked up over 14,000 edits on the English Wikipedia, uploaded almost a hundred images to Commons, and been involved at other projects including the Irish Wikipedia, Wikinews, and Meta. I am an administrator and an arb clerk on enwiki.
Outside of pure edit counts, I have also been involved in advocacy for Wikimedia and working with GLAM institutions in Queensland with the aim of liberating cultural assets held by these institutions from their copyright and making them freely available through Commons, Wikisource, and other Wikimedia projects (not to mention on their own sites, under freely licenced copyright conditions!). Recently for instance, I was able to convince staff in the cultural and humanities department at the Queensland Museum to release some of their materials and photographs onto Commons under a trial, with the promise of more to come if it’s successful (which it seems to be, QM are delighted with the response that they’ve received). I’ve also been working on other collaborations that are yet to be formally announced, been interviewed on ABC radio about Wikipedia and Wikimedia, and have been involved in setting up many of the various meetups that we’ve had in Brisbane over the years.
My policy platform
I have a big vision for where I would like to see the chapter go. These include:
- Reaching out to the scientific community. We have taken important first steps in making ourselves known in the GLAM sector, but I feel at times that that has been at the expense of links with the scientific community. I would like to see us build bridges to those groups as well, perhaps through a SCI-WIKI conference to mirror the GLAM-WIKI one, or through other outreach activities. There are a lot of subject areas, such as biodiversity, where I feel that the chapter can pull off some real coups in the free knowledge area.
- Work towards making GLAM-WIKI a regular or semi-regular event; a lot of good work was done at the last event and it would be very good to come back a year later and see what progress has actually been made.
- An increased focus on the “smaller” projects such as Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikispecies and the like. I found it quite curious at GLAM-WIKI that these projects were mentioned only in passing or not at all. Arguably, these more specialised collections of information could be of more interest and more value to our friends in the GLAM and scientific sectors. I’m sure that the communities working on these projects would also welcome the extra input and spotlight that collaborations would bring to them.
- Work on more events and reasons the make the $40 annual fee good value for money for our members. Many of us have of course paid the money to support the chapter without expecting anything in return, but I think it would be helpful to be able to organise more “Backstage Pass” sort of events to convince the doubters. I would place a special emphasis on having as many events as possible in regional centres that have active communities of Wikimedians.
- Work towards financial self-sufficiency. WMF in the United States has been extremely generous so far in giving us grants, but it’s in both our best interests and theirs if we can cultivate alternative revenue streams so that we’re not overly reliant on handouts from them.
- Explore the possibility of collaborations with other Wikimedia chapters, particularly those in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Ensure that the governance of the organisation takes into account the geographical diversity of the membership. At the present time, all six members of the committee are resident in just two states. It is important that Wikimedians from Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, and other cities, have the opportunity to be heard.
- Explore ways of growing the membership of the organisation. Wikimedia Deutschland has 443 members, for instance. While we’ve got a long way to go before we reach that mark, I believe it’s achievable in the long term. More members doesn’t just mean more membership fees, it means that our skills base as an organisation broadens, allowing us to tackle bigger and more ambitious projects.
- Foster an atmosphere in both the committee and the chapter as a whole of mutual respect, with a focus on collaborative decision making, frank but friendly discussion, and open consultation between the committee and the general membership. I do not have a big ego, and I am very willing to take on any constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is given.
I see a tremendous future ahead for the chapter, and I feel that I’m a steady hand that can move us closer to that future. I hope that you will consider voting for me, and if you have any questions I am happy to answer them either on the mailing list or by email.