AfroCreatives WikiProject: Back and better!

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In a continent bursting at the seams with  talented creatives, it is surprising and disconcerting that so many Africans as well as the cultural and creative industries in which they operate, are not adequately documented across the digital space. 

In response, the AfroCreatives WikiProject (ACWP) was established to mobilize these communities, as well as African cultural enthusiasts, to generate more and better knowledge on the African cultural and creative industries on the internet, leveraging Wikipedia and its sister projects. This is a broad landscape that touches on many disciplines and requires a deliberate and focused approach in one area.  As one of Africa’s most dynamic creative industries, African film & television was a natural starting point. Springboarding and learning from its activities in this area, ACWP will expand its activities into African fashion and African literature in 2025.

The first iteration of  AfroCreatives WikiProject+film (ACWP+film) took place in 2022 with campaigns in Senegal, Nigeria, and Rwanda aimed at documenting African film and television on Wikipedia. 

The year of  2024 marks the return of ACWP with an expanded scope, a more deliberate and refined strategy, and a new Wikimedian-In-Residence, Ceslause Ogbonnaya who brings his extensive experience in the Wikimedia Community, including in his most recent capacity as Wikimedian-In-Residence for the Africa Knowledge Initiative.

Collaboration for the Open

Leading the list of ACWP’s lessons learned following its 2022 campaign was the importance of partnerships with established industry partners and promptly secured the commitment of  The Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (French: Festival panafricain du cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou, FESPACO), the continent’s largest film festival, and the African Federation of Film Critics (AFFC, French: Fédération africaine de la critique cinématographique, FACC), a panafricanist federation of African and diaspora film critics.

These partnerships are aimed at mobilizing African film and television industry stakeholders to learn how the Wikimedia space works, and how they can help bridge the content gap that exists on the digital space about African film and television through Wikimedia projects. These industry stakeholders include the gamut of creatives and professionals—actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, directors, producers, executives, film critics, among many others—who bring their industry knowledge to improving Wikipedia articles. 

In addition, given the vital role of images in enhancing Wikipedia, ACWP+film  is launching a special effort timed to the FESPACO edit-a-thon to encourage industry figures to contribute images such as posters, film stills, behind-the-scenes, film festivals, awards, etc) to Wikimedia Commons. An early test effort made to some award-winning African filmmakers in 2022 reflected strong support and ACWP expects the launch of this concerted effort to bring notable additions to African film and television imagery. 

All these contributions helpfully complement the work of the African Wikimedia communities who contributing in the same or adjoining space

African film and television portals

One of the ideas birthed in 2022 on the heels of the first ACWP+film campaign, was the  creation of  African film and television portals, thoughtfully curated and tailored for English, French and Arabic Wikipedia.

The goals are broadly two-fold: 

  1. To generate greater visibility and awareness for African film and television among a global audience as well as further engagement on Wikipedia, and 
  2. To generate further enthusiasm, pride, and ultimately, more engagement among the African community contributors in the area of African film.  

The Content on these portals is manually curated twice a month. 

The Portals are launching on the 18th of April 2024, with manually curated content posted every two weeks.

2024 ACWP+film campaign

The 2024 ACWP+film campaign will officially launch on 18th May 2024 and run through 1st June 2024. However, the series of film specific training sessions on Wikipedia, Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons will start on 3rd May. 

In addition to general editing guidelines, the training modules include film-and-television specific insights on how to document film on Wikipedia with important elements that are frequently lacking. These include film and television specific infoboxes, filmography tables, linking to external film databases, how to document film subjects on Wikidata, among others. 

The realization for enhanced training modules came on the heels of  the ACWP +film 2022 campaign through a review of the kinds of contributions that were made as well as a deep dive and better understanding of what constituted quality articles about film and television on Wikipedia for instance.

All of this points to what we expect to be an immensely productive and rewarding campaign. So, sit back, relax, and look out for the communications about the campaign launch in due time!

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