Education/Newsletter/December 2012/wikiArS initiative in Catalonia

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Exhibition on Llotja 2012

The wikiArS initiative, at the intersection between GLAM and wikieducation, aims to involve art and design schools in Wikimedia projects. The pilot experience took place last academic year (2011-12) at two art schools in Catalonia (Spain): the Llotja School in Barcelona, with six illustration students, and the Serra i Abella School in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, with one student, also studying illustration. These students did their internship with the Amical Viquipèdia association, creating illustrations for Wikipedia and its sister projects. Wikipedian tutors decided which images were needed and, together with the professors, monitored the students' work. They also helped them publish and categorize their contributions. Five students drew portraits of people who lived in the 20th century and of whom there are no free photographs. The other three drew fictional characters from Tolkien's works, recreations of the Fluxus art movement's performances and scientific illustrations of the Mediterranean salinity crisis during the Messinian. For the latter task, the student was supervised by the CSIC Researcher Daniel Garcia Castellanos, who provided scientific advice and gave the go-ahead on the images before their publication. In late May, an exhibit showing the results was held at the Llotja School and garnered considerable media attention. Subsequently, some images received recognition from such communities as Value Image in Commons or imagen destacada (Outstanding Image) on the Spanish Wikipedia.

For the 2012-13 academic year, there are six schools involved in the initiative and several more have shown an interest with relation to the spheres of illustration, desktop publishing and design. At five of these schools, students will do professional internships with Amical Viquipèdia, and in the case of the EDRA School in Rubí, the Final Degree Projects of four students involve wikiArS projects. The number of people providing scientific advice has also grown: five in the field of geology and geophysics, one in the field of zoology, and we are looking for others who can cover history. A page was created to coordinate the initiative and offer resources in Catalonia: WikiArS at viquimedia.cat; and another was just created to encourage other Wikimedian organizations and groups to carry out similar initiatives around the world: WikiArS at Wikimedia Outreach.

Over the course of the academic year, we expect to consolidate the initiative, attend to all interested schools, find more people willing to be Wikimedian mentors or thematic advisors, and set up an exhibit to promote the project in different places.