This week on the SLIC blog Sara Thomas, Scotland Programme Coordinator of Wikimedia Uk, talks about the upcoming Wiki Loves Monuments campaign and how it can inspire communities.

Wiki Loves Monuments is an international photo competition, organised by the Wikimedia Foundation and supported by chapters across the world, including Wikimedia UK.  Pictures can be of listed buildings & scheduled monuments, with a particular focus on getting images of buildings in use as well as building interiors. There are prizes for the best pictures from Scotland, the UK, and internationally.

Best of all, these images are uploaded under an open license, meaning that anyone, anywhere in the world, can use them for study, inspiration, or just for fun - and all free of charge. The photos are made available through Wikimedia Commons - the picture equivalent of Wikipedia - and can be used to illustrate Wikipedia articles, or for any other purpose, including education, as long as they’re properly credited back to the photographer.

How to Take Part

Screen Grab of locations of buildings without Wiki photosUsing the competition’s interactive map, you can search for places near you, and see the buildings and monuments in your area. A blue pin means that there’s already a picture of that place, a red one means that there isn’t.

You can - of course - upload a picture of a monument that already has a picture, but there’s a certain satisfaction to be had in turning all those red pins blue… and quite a lot of Scotland hasn’t been covered yet!  In 2017, Scotland uploaded 2104 images.  In 2018, it was 4417.  I’m hoping that we can break 5000 this year….

Community Participation

Wiki Loves Monuments 2019 PosterSo what do we mean by putting your community on the map?  Last year, the SLIC Wikimedian in Residence, Delphine Dallison, encouraged librarians all over Scotland to submit pictures of their listed building libraries, or other nearby monuments, to the international photo competition. So that’s one way.

But as well as taking part in the competition yourself, you could also engage library users - particularly those interested in photography and local history, perhaps - in an event, maybe a heritage walk of your local area, for example. You can download a Wiki Loves Monuments Guide for librarians for more information on how to take part.

Library Inspiration

If you're looking for inspiration you can always take a look at some of the library images from throughout Scotland which were submitted as part of the competition last year. This includes Glasgow Women's Library, Coatbridge Library Innerpeffray Library and The Advocate's Library in Edinburgh to name but a few.

The competition runs for the entirety of September, so there’s plenty of opportunity to be involved!  Photos don’t have to be taken in September to be eligible for the competition, just uploaded between 1-30th September, through the website: https://www.wikilovesmonuments.org.uk/getting-started