A throne table, part of the enamels of the world collection. C. Khalili Collections

Wikimedia UK launches partnership project with Khalili Collections

Rebecca Atkinson, 12.09.2019
Project aims to diversify online encyclopaedia's cultural content
Wikimedia UK has announced a partnership with Khalili Collections to diversify its cultural content beyond Europe and North America.

Containing about 35,000 objects, the Khalili Collections were assembled by the scholar, collector and philanthropist Nasser D. Khalili. They are made up of eight collections: Islamic art (700–2000); Hajj and the arts of pilgrimage (700–2000); Aramaic documents (353–324 bc); Japanese art of the Meiji period (1868–1912); Japanese kimono (1700– 2000); Swedish textiles (1700–1900); Spanish Damascene metalwork (1850–1900); and enamels of the world (1700–2000).

As part of the project, Khalili Collections will release 1,000 high resolution images under the Creative Commons license and summaries of its research into the artwork and objects categories. It will work with Wikimedia UK to further share knowledge about art and cultures that are currently under-represented on the website.

A spokesman for Wikimedia UK said that most of its editors, who create and update articles, are white men from Europe and North America. “They tend to write about what they know about,” he added. “We have far less content in non-European languages, and about people who are not men.”

It is hoped that partnering with the Khalili Collections will address this imbalance.

“At Wikimedia, we are actively seeking to diversify our cultural content, and the Khalili Collections is one of the most geographically and culturally diverse collections in the world, spanning some two and a half millennia, with masterpieces from Europe, the Middle East, Scandinavia, East Asia, Russia, South Asia, North Africa and beyond”, said Lucy Crompton-Reid, the chief executive of Wikimedia UK.

And Khalili said: “The partnership is an important part of our wider, longstanding strategy to make the collections – and the five decades of expert research dedicated to them – more accessible to art and culture lovers worldwide.”