Education/Newsletter/December 2015/What I Learned: Wiki Photo School in Serbia
What I Learned: Wiki Photo School in Serbia
Snippet: Wikimedia Serbia organised Wiki Photo School in cooperation with Petnica Science Center in order to generate content about chemical experiments
One of Wikimedia Serbia’s (WMRS) goals this year was to partner with Petnica Science Center, an autonomous and independent organization engaged in the development of scientific literacy, education and culture. As a first step, WMRS planned a Wiki Photo School, a three-day photo school with lectures and workshops organized in Petnica Science Center, for all participants who were interested in training to photograph chemical experiments.
The aim was to generate high-quality multimedia content on Wikimedia Commons regarding themes that were not well covered on the project. Then, next step was to include this content in Wikipedia articles in order to animate volunteers, and introduce them to Creative Commons licenses and Wiki projects. These target groups included not only students, but also professors and collaborators who have been involved in promoting Wikimedia’s mission.
Participants attended lectures and workshops on photography, WMRS projects, Wikimedia Commons, and CC licences for three days. The idea was for each person to successfully choose a license and upload at least one piece of content of good quality on Commons, and use that content in some other Wikimedia project. Workshops went great, atmosphere was excellent, and participants were highly interested in learning from their lecturers. The most exciting thing for them was using their photos on an article on Wikipedia, not just in Serbian, but in other languages as well. High quality content was produced, measured both by Commons’ “Good Photos” tool, and professional photographers through photo analysis at the photo school itself.
Also, Participants were highly invested in quality photography, and uploading imperfect photos was not an option for them. They decided to upload photos after editing them, but there was lack of time for editing the content and after the workshop ended, follow-up with participants failed, so there weren't as many photos on Commons as previously estimated.
For 2016, the Wiki Photo School also had positive outcomes in terms of outreach efforts: Marija Gajić and Vladimir Pecikoza, two of the instructors and newly converted editors to Wikimedia projects, have each proposed an annual project to Wikimedia Serbia, named Valjevo Mountains Through the Lens and Wiki Loves Dragonflies, both have been accepted.
When asked why they continue to work on Wiki projects, Gajić said, “it was the Wiki Photo School that inspired me and gave me the idea of how to take something that I do (insects) and get it closer to a large number of people of different ages and interests.” Gajić has become a very active editor, taking part in Wiki Loves Earth, WikiCamp, and also recently became a Wikipedian in Residence for the Belgrade Botanical Garden. In this sense, even though this activity did not have the outcomes expected in terms of content, it seems to be a positive outreach event.