Wiki Loves Monuments

Dr Sara Thomas, Scotland Programme Coordinator at Wikimedia UK. shares her enthusiasm for the photo competition Wiki Loves Monuments and encourages entries from Scotland.

Glenfinnan Viaduct by Paul Stümke

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve taken photos of:

  • The category A listed ex-theatre where I spent my first summer away from home at 14
  • The category A listed University building where I handed in my PhD thesis
  • The category B listed house at the bottom of my street that’s been empty for years and with which I’m getting a little obsessed (It’s got a garden! It’s not yet been split up into flats!)

…all in the name of a certain international photo competition called Wiki Loves Monuments. It’s the world’s largest photo competition, organised by various Wikimedia chapters and groups. The aim is to improve the quality and quantity of openly-licensed images of listed buildings and scheduled monuments around the world, making them freely available through Wikimedia Commons. And if you’d like to see which images are missing from the Scottish record, just look at all the red pins on this interactive map.

Picturing Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle by Syxaxis Photography

There are prizes for the top 3 images in Scotland (sponsored by Wikimedia UK and Archaeology Scotland), as well as the top 10 images in the UK, with the

Smailholm Tower by Keith Proven

latter then going forward to the international competition.

You can take a look at what’s already been submitted in Scotland here. And if you wanted to see how we were faring against England, Wales & Northern Ireland, you could do that too. A certain amount of friendly competition never hurt, after all.

Digital preservation through Wikimedia

I’m the Scotland Programme Coordinator at Wikimedia UK, so it’s my job to be enthusiastic at people about open knowledge and open culture – but I usually think about access and learning, rather than preservation. The list of buildings close to my heart isn’t exactly the New Palmyra project, or Wikipedia’s call for people to contribute to the digital reconstruction of the contents of the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, but working on the competition over the last couple of weeks (I’m not eligible to win anything, I just like taking part) has made me happy to be doing my bit for the preservation of the record.

How you can get involved

All you need is a camera (or indeed, cameraphone), and a Wikimedia Commons account (very easy to set up, and if you already have a Wikipedia account, you don’t even need to do that), and you’re ready to go.  There are full instructions on the competition website about how to make your submission.

So, what’s your favourite Scottish listed building, or scheduled monument?  Grab your camera.

Dr Sara Thomas, Scotland Programme Coordinator for Wikimedia UK.


Images – Highly commended 2017, best image in Scotland. – Eilean Donan at Dusk, Highly commended in 2016. – 2nd place in UK competition in 2017.