How is it September already?! Time always seems to fly at the end of summer but this year has been particularly weird as we’ve started to ease out of lockdown. July seemed to run on for ages, and then August disappeared in the blink of an eye!
The best thing about September is that it means Wiki Loves Monuments is back! For those that haven’t come across it before, Wiki Loves Monuments is Wikimedia’s annual photography competition, which runs throughout the month of September. The rules are simple, all you need to do is register a Wikimedia Commons account, take an original picture of a scheduled monument or listed building, and upload it to Wikimedia Commons using this interactive map. In addition to the overall prizes for the best UK entries, there are also prizes for the best images from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
One of the things I love about Wiki Loves Monuments, is that anyone can enter. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, you don’t need a fancy camera, any camera phone will do. Last year, one of the winning images, a gorgeous picture of the interior of Arnol Blackhouse, was taken with a smartphone.
Normally I’d encourage folk to use Wiki Loves Monuments as a great excuse to get out and about to explore sites and monuments across Scotland, but this year is a little different of course. Many of our historic monuments are closed to the public and most of us are restricting travel unless it’s absolutely necessary. However! There are still lots of ways you can join the competition. Why not load up the interactive map, take a wander round your local area and photograph some of the listed buildings in the vicinity? You might be surprised how many historic buildings there are right under our nose! If you’re in Edinburgh, you might like to download the Curious Edinburgh app and explore some of the walking routes they have mapped out across the city. And in Glasgow, the Women’s Library have a series of Women’s Heritage Walks you can follow. Although the guided walks aren’t running at the moment, you can download maps and audio guides of the routes to follow yourself. I did the Garnethill Women’s Heritage Walk a couple of years ago. It was absolutely fascinating and I uploaded several of the pictures I took along the way to Wiki Loves Monuments later in the year, including this picture of the former Garnethill High School for Girls.
You can even take part without leaving the comfort of your own home. Why not dig out your old holiday snaps to see if you’ve got any pictures of sites and monuments you can upload? It’s also a lovely way to relive holidays past, for those of us who haven’t been able to get away this year. I’m a bit sad that I’ve already raided my (horribly disorganised) photo archive for previous years competitions, but I might have another look just in case there’s any I’ve missed.
But perhaps the best thing about Wiki Loves Monuments is that not only is it great fun to take part, you can also enjoy the fact that you’re making a positive contribution to our shared knowledge commons, and that’s a lovely thought to brighten up a dreich September!