July 31, 2012

Backstage Pass at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Wikimedians visiting the MNAC romanesque collection commented by one of the museum's curator.
If you are a museum geek you may know that most of the museums close on Mondays. And if you are a "hardcore" museum geek you may once have dream on visiting the museum while is closed, walking through one of your preferred rooms and enjoy your favourite art pieces in a quiet ambiance, asking questions to the curator of the collection. That is exactly what a group of 12 Wikipedians did it yesterday, at the National Art Museum of Catalonia,  the MNAC, in Barcelona. 

Part of my residency at the MNAC museum project is to build bridges between the museum professionals and the local community of Wikipedia editors. This is why yesterday we organized a whole day of Wiki activities where curators and Wikipedians met and discussed about their ways of working. 

Let me explain you how the day passed:

Two ways of seeing art 
10:00 - Welcome
Conxa Rodà, museum's head of strategy, welcomed a group of 11 Wikipedians, explaining us that Wikipedia is an important part of the digital strategy project that the museum new direction just started in 2012. 

10:15 - Romanesque Backstage Pass
Then one of the museum's Romanesque section curators walked us through the Romanesque collection, where Wikipedians had the opportunity to ask questions about art pieces they are working on Wikipedia, and take as many photos as they wanted to.

11:00 - Meeting with other curators
When we finished the first backstage pass we went to museum's library, where Wikipedians spent one hour explaining to museum professionals how featured content is created, what is notability on Wiki world. Even museum's director, Pepe Serra, joined the conversation and explained us that museum's goal is to make our heritage available to different layers of public, and it's obvious that Wikipedia is consulted by millions of people worldwide. I founded this part of the day very interesting, as curators have a really good will on collaborating in the #glamwiki project but we are still all learning the best ways to do it. And meeting with the other part is the very best beginning for finding the common ground. 

12:00 - Modern Art Backstage Pass
It's great when curators share they knowledge with passion

Museum's collection is huge, so we decided to focus on quality among quantity, and we did our second backstage pass tour of the day on the Modern Art Collection. Catalan Modernisme is one of our most interesting and creative periods and is very well represented at the museum's collection. So everybody had a great time. Lots of new wiki challenges and projects started from curators explanation of  Fortuny, Casas, Gaudí, Nonell.... and several other Catalan painters. And we will improve the Wikipedia article of ''The Battle of Tetouan'' , one of museum biggest paintings up to a featured article. Challenge accepted.

We took photos at the warehouse collection :-) !! 
13:15 - VIP Level: Warehouse visit
And then...magic happened. When the security guard opened the heavy doors of the museum's warehouse, a big and general "wooooow" was heard. When you enter in these kind of rooms, you feel
a little bit like Indiana Jone's or like the children of the Goonies, you are freezed by being in front o a treasure. It was the moment when we thought: This is one of the reasons why we do LOVE being Wikipedians.


14:00 - Conservation-Restoration Labs 
Wikipedians and restorers working together.

Then Mireia Mestre, head of the Conservation-Restoration labs of the MNAC, showed us one of the restoration workshops, where restorers where working on a Romanesque altar frontal.... and they asked for help to a Wikipedian specialized in Medieval heraldry. Solution to the mysterious bassoon wasn't found... as the Wikipedian always need to ask for references. But we will keep collaborating.

16:00 Mini edit-a-thon  
After a nice lunch kindly funded by the museum, Wikipedians spent the afternoon at the museum's library, improving all the Wikipedia articles related to their preferred artworks.

It is very important to put together people of different ages, education, background and opinion, in order to create new things together. Museums are opening little by little to local groups -as Wikipedians- who love the museum's collection as well as the professional curators. Only in this way we will together generate new discourses and keep on going.

Catalan Ministry of Culture signs an agreement of collaboration with Amical Viquipèdia to promote the use of Catalan language

Joan Gomà (left) and Ferran Mascarell (right) signing the agreement

Catalan Ministry of Culture, Ferran Mascarell, signed yesterday an agreement of collaboration with Joan Gomà, president of Amical Viquipèdia, to promote and disseminate the Catalan language.

The aim of the agreement with Amical is the dissemination of  Wikipedia's contents and use, given the importance of having a Catalan edition of this free encyclopedia for the promotion and dissemination of Catalan language through Internet. The agreement, signed by the President of Amical, Joan Gomà, aims to create a stable channel of communication between both parties.

Under this agreement, Amical will advise the Direcció General de Política Lingüística (Department of Language Policy) in the potential use of the platform and it's associated projects, on how to create training projects related to learning the Catalan language. Also will provide them data and stats relatied to active users and number of articles existing in Catalan, and any other indicator of the presence and use of Catalan on the Internet.

The Department of Culture gives the right to disseminate the articles, essays, studies and other materials produced which have been edited and published by the  Direcció General de Política Lingüística and on which this institucion has rights, so they can be uploaded to Wikipedia. They will also offer technical support in placing names and terminology in Catalan, will do outreach of Wikipedia, and other actions to promote the use of Catalan on the Internet. Amical Viquipèdia will spread among Wikipedians all this material and this information so that they can use freely to improve the quality and quantity of the contents of Wikipedia.

+ info: Press release in by the Government of Catalonia | Press release by Amical 

July 12, 2012

A Wikipedian in Residence for a whole Town? Yes, in Palafrugell

Calella de Palafrugell, the maritime village of Palafrugell- Tempus7- CC-BY-SA 3.0
During July and August 2012, Catalan Wikimedian David Parreño, User:Davidpar will be serving as Wikipedian in Residence for the town of Palafrugell, a municipality in the Mediterranean Costa Brava, in Catalonia.

After convincing the cultural institutions and the Town Council itself, this summer he will serve several local cultural institutions at a time, with the aim of improving Palafrugell cultural institution's presence internationally

He will coordinate and try to build bridges between the Wikipedia community and the local cultural institutions, looking for releasing materials (text, photo, video), organizing editing events like workshops or edit-a-thons, coordinating a local Wiki Takes for this year's Wiki Loves Monuments edition, implementing the use of some QRpedia codes, among others...

Here is a list of the Institutions:

David with a Wikipedia T-shirt explaining how to go wiki.
Kippelboy. CC-BY-SA

  • Cultural Dept. of Palafrugell's Municipality
  • Arxiu Municipal de Palafrugell (local archive)
  • Biblioteca de Palafrugell (Palafrugell's library)
  • Fundació Josep Pla 
  • Museu del Suro (Cork Museum)
  • Fundació Cuixart (Cuixart Foundation)
  • Fundació Ernest Morató (Ernest Morató Foundation)

On Saturday June 16 we already organized the first workshop in the local Library, and it was a real success. 17 people attended from different towns of the region to learn or improve Wikipedia articles about Palafrugell. This is another example of how joining forces cultural institutions can reach wider audiences.

Palafrugell goes Wiki!