Finding a home as a Wikipedia editor

Ever wondered who writes all those Wikipedia entries? This workshop aims to give people from refugee backgrounds the skills and confidence to share their knowledge on the world’s largest encyclopaedia. We caught up with Abd Alsattar Ardati and Dr Kirsty Ross from IDEA Network at the University of St Andrews to find out more. 

Tell us a little bit about your event

Abd: We want to introduce people from under-represented communities to the idea of open knowledge and encourage them to have a go at becoming a Wikipedia editor.  

We have all used Wikipedia to look up interesting facts. Wikipedia can also be used as a tool for you to share your own knowledge about your culture, history and heritage. This can be extremely rewarding and valuable too! It’s a great way to improve your computer skills and give back to your community at the same time.

Kirsty: Wikipedia has always reflected biases in society, especially in terms of the knowledge that is found on the platform. It is heavily weighted towards Western knowledge and the English-speaking world.

We want to connect with communities and build relationships so that, together, we can redress that balance and enrich open knowledge with more diverse voices.

What does being part of Refugee Festival Scotland mean to you?

Abd: I have many friends and family members who are refugees. At one point in my journey, I was very close to seeking refugee status myself. This helps me to understand the community’s struggles, needs, and aspirations for a better future. It is important to feel that you are in a welcoming environment. I feel grateful for this opportunity to join people with whom I can relate.

Kirsty: It is an immense privilege to be part of the Festival. I only understand two languages (English and Scots), so I am in awe of those with knowledge of multiple languages! I’m incredibly excited that we will be able to create a safe space for folks to come together and share their knowledge with us – and with the rest of the world, via Wikipedia. 

Why do you think the festival is important?

Abd: I’ve always wanted to take part in an event that brings different people from different communities together. It is great to celebrate the things we have in common, but it is also enriching to exchange ideas around what makes us unique as communities and individuals. 

This year, so many people are experiencing feelings of isolation, which makes it even more necessary to set up channels of discussion among refugee communities. Conversations about culture are especially important because they are the glue that helps hold communities together. 

Kirsty: We’re looking forward to sharing our enthusiasm for open knowledge, meeting lots of new people, and playing our small part in amplifying the voices and knowledge of refugees on the world’s largest encyclopaedia!

The Finding a home as a Wikipedia editor workshop takes place from 2pm on Saturday, 19 June.

Get your free ticket here. 

View the full festival programme.