Summer, no matter what hemisphere you are in, is traditionally the time when editors and readers leave technology behind for a vacation to places both known and unknown. In Poland, many Wikimedia users will run across beautiful sites and monuments along their way—and as people on vacation are apt to do, photograph them.
The pictures they take would be precious additions to Wikimedia Commons, so we decided to encourage photographers to share their works with the Wikimedia world through a summer photo contest—Wikiwakacje, or Wikivacation.
Here at Wikimedia Poland, an independent organization that works to advance the Wikimedia movement, we are very well aware of the power of gathering content for Wikimedia Commons through photo contests. We’ve been one of the most active countries in Wiki Loves Monuments with more than 100,000 pictures of Polish monuments, and we organized a country-wide Wiki Loves Earth last year, an effort which netted 4,000 pictures of beautiful Polish nature.
This year, we decided to create a contest that would feature the best of and expand beyond both worlds. The new contest allows participants to submit their beautiful shots of monuments, nature, and art located in public space, along with street furniture of historical value, allowing participants to benefit from Poland’s freedom of panorama laws (which allow us to photograph art works which are permanently located in public space).
“By widening the scope of the contest, we are welcoming both out-of-town holiday photographers and city inhabitants,” Paweł Marynowski, the contest coordinator stated. “It is a great chance to get to know one’s own neighbourhood by photographing natural monuments or historic buildings.”
A jury consisting of Wikimedians, journalists, and professional photographers will choose the three best pictures of all submitted, along with three top pictures in each special thematic category: a monument or street furniture element, long shots of nature or parks, and natural monuments/exhibits.
But photography is not all that is included. While in our previous contests we concentrated only on gathering pictures, this year we decided to encourage our participants to create articles where these pictures can be used. That is why we also have a special prize for the most articles created and illustrated with the contest pictures. This way we encourage our participants to not only photograph interesting places and buildings, but also to get curious about them, gather knowledge, and share it with the world by writing a Wikipedia article.
Last, what makes the contest even more special is our partner, the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society—one of the oldest tourist societies in Europe. Thanks to this partnership, we can reach one of the largest Polish communities of avid travelers, roamers of the paths and wilds, and invite them to participate and share photos of the wonderful monuments and sights they encounter on their travels.
This is not the first time Wikimedia has been connected with vacations—in 2015, the Wikimedians of Colombia user group organized WikiVacaciones. The event invited readers and editors to share their holiday pictures and written reviews of places, dishes, costumes and landscapes, and resulted in more than 4,300 pictures.
Polish contest will take place from 11 July until 31 August. The winners will be announced in a special ceremony hosted in cooperation with the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society.
If you want to know more, visit the contest website. Who knows, you may just be tempted to join in and reach for one of the prizes yourself!