Blackpool Social Club to host two-month Wikithon

The online magazine for arts and culture aims to build a community of Wikimedians to improve Blackpool’s online cultural presence

Blackpool Social Club is hosting a two-month Wikithon – a period dedicated to writing and editing Wikipedia content about Blackpool. We are seeking people with local knowledge or interest as well as photographers and archivists to help us represent the best of Blackpool to the online global community.

Since 2012 Blackpool Social Club has strived to bring readers on the Fylde Coast the very best of creativity and culture. Now we want you to help us show the rest of the world all our vibrant town has to offer, even after the lights go out.

The UK chapter for the global Wikimedia movement, Wikimedia UK, has invited Blackpool Social Club to take part in a Wikimedia residency as part of its Connected Heritage project. The project aims to raise digital skills and confidence across the UK heritage sector and empower communities to contribute to their presence on Wiki.

We are looking to highlight the lesser-known aspects of our community, culture and heritage to show the world that Blackpool is much more than seasonal tourism and tabloid headlines. And we need your help.

Like Blackpool Social Club, the information on Wikipedia is written by dedicated volunteers who believe in sharing knowledge freely. Wikimedia UK believes that open access to knowledge is a fundamental right, and a driver for social and economic development. By making information available to all, it breaks down barriers to learning. Blackpool Social Club aligns with this vision, and on a local level we believe that everyone should have access to creativity, culture, community and heritage.

Over the next two months, we will be drawing on our huge archive of articles and various other sources to add information about our town to the online encyclopaedia. We are looking to highlight the lesser-known aspects of our community, culture and heritage to show the world that Blackpool is much more than seasonal tourism and tabloid headlines. And we need your help.

We are aiming to draw together people with knowledge and expertise about Blackpool, as well as those keen to learn about it, to come together and form a team of Wikimedians. We are also looking for photographers – professional or amateur – and those with historical images of the town to increase the number of free online images available to the public through Wiki Commons.

In the first instance anyone with an interest should come and join our dedicated Facebook group. If you’re not on Facebook please email us and we will keep you posted on our activities. The group will be a place to discuss and assess the current information available about Blackpool on Wikipedia, and share ideas about what we would like to add. This might be information about a cultural organisation, a notable person from Blackpool, a significant event in the town’s history, or information about a demolished building.

Blackpool Derby Baths on 1st January 1952. Photographer Robert Linsdel shared the image on Wiki Commons, allowing Blackpool Social club to publish it. But there is no information about the baths on Wikipedia… yet.

On a date to be announced we will host an in-person Wikithon where we will come together at Aunty Social on Topping Street, learn how to input information to Wikipedia together, and spend time building or improving articles. A second Wikithon will focus on uploading images to Wiki Commons. Armed with our new digital skills we will be free to contribute to the project in our own time – as little or much as we like – ensuring a lasting legacy for this project and for the town itself.

This project has the power to create an alternative and truer picture of Blackpool in the public eye. We know this is an important topic for so many people in the town so we hope you’ll support us and join us in our efforts. If you are interested in becoming a Wikimedian join our Facebook group or get in touch.

Main image: Culture collage by Katie Crampton (WMUK)

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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    Antonia Charlesworth Stack is a journalist and editor from Blackpool. She was deputy editor of Big Issue North magazine and is editor of Blackpool Social Club. Antonia is also the founder of Reclaim Blackpool, a women's safety campaign that began life as an article she wrote for Blackpool Social Club. She's a contributing author to the Lancashire Stories anthology with her story about a Blackpool performer, The Call of The Sea. The book is available for free in libraries across the county.

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