I heard yesterday from the vice-treasurer of Wikimedia Argentina, Fajro, that they had just held their first Wikipedia Academy event, Academia de Wikipedia (es) (en). Jimmy gave a talk in English, which was simultaneously interpreted into Spanish. It was a free one-day event aimed at the general public, with talks, panel discussions and howto workshops on editing Wikipedia and using Wikimedia Commons. (Interestingly Spanish Wikipedia is by far the largest Wikimedia project to have turned off local uploads, relying solely on Wikimedia Commons for images and other media files.) They had an attendance of 270, which is really impressive. Well done WMAR! I am sure they will be pleased at the success of the event, as a small “practice run” for hosting Wikimania in Buenos Aires next year.
Wikipedia Academy is an interesting chapters tradition that began with Wikimedia Germany in 2006, repeated again in 2007 and 2008. The concept originates with Frank Schulenberg, who was first a board member with WMDE and since July this year has been the Wikimedia Foundation’s Head of Public Outreach.
I think the concept is more or less this: free event open to academics and/or the general public, intended to provide a practical primer as to how the projects (especially Wikipedia) work. Often hosted with a library or university.
It looks like Wikimedia Sverige (Sweden, WMSE) was just pipped at the post to host the first non-German Wikipedia Academy this year by WMAR, as theirs is scheduled from November 12-13 — just a few days. But given all the interesting things I have been hearing from WMSE lately I am sure it will be a success, and I’ll look forward to hearing the reports from that one too.
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