Wikipedia partners with the Khalili Collections to make art public
News provided by Wikimedia UK on Tuesday 12th Nov 2019
Wikimedia UK, the charity responsible for promoting Wikipedia in the UK, has announced a new project to partner with the Khalili Collections, one of the biggest private collections of art in the world. The collections contain 35,000 objects and represent the biggest private collection of Islamic art, as well as collections of Japanese art and Kimono, Aramaic documents and Swedish textiles.
You can see a video made about the project by Wikimedia UK on our YouTube channel:
As part of the “Masterpieces of the World” project, the Khalili
Collections will initially release a thousand high resolution images on
Creative Commons licenses, as well as summaries of its extensive
research content relating to artwork and objects from around the world.
The Collections plans to continue working with Wikimedia UK to further
share knowledge about art on Wikimedia platforms and increase the
visibility of cultures and art forms that are currently
under-represented on Wikipedia.
“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, CEO of Wikimedia UK. “We are proud to be
partnering with one of the world’s great preservers of global cultural
“We are delighted to be working with Wikimedia UK, undeniably a
pioneer in delivering free access to cultural knowledge worldwide”, said
Professor Nasser D. Khalili, Founder of the Khalili Collections. “The
partnership is an important part of our wider, long-standing strategy to
make the Collections – and the five decades of expert research
dedicated to them – more accessible to art and culture lovers
Initial outputs from the partnership will include new Wikipedia articles on The Khalili Collections (an overview article
has just been published and articles for the eight individual
collections will be forthcoming), 1000 images which will be freely
available for reuse, including on Wikipedia, metadata records about the
images on Wikimedia Commons, and content from the collections being
showcased on Wikipedia, Commons, and Wikidata.
To achieve this, the Khalili Collections will change the licence on
1,000 of its images from “all rights reserved” to CC-BY-SA. These are
very high-quality images depicting treasures from non-Western cultures.
Some use state-of-the-art high-resolution digitisation. KC will also
freely licence some short summaries of the academic books it has
published, allowing them to be used as the basis for Wikipedia articles.
In the longer term, we hope that the success of the initial pilot
release of content will lead to further joint work sharing perspectives
on the history of the world, as revealed through cultural treasures.
Wikimedia UK recently published a report
on the long-term impact of our Wikimedians in Residence who work at
cultural and educational institutions, and we are looking at the
potential of hiring a Wikimedian to work with the Khalili Collections to
help make the most of the information and content that the KC is making
Wikimedia UK are very excited about this project, as it helps us to
meet one of our main goals, to increase the diversity of the content and
contributors to the Wikimedia projects. Digital inequality across the
world means that Wikipedia is much better at representing the culture
and history of European civilisations than those of other continents,
and we hope that the release of content by the Khalili Collections will
help Wikimedia to fill some of the gaps in its representation of the
We have a very long way to go in our quest to make an encyclopaedia
which represents the breadth and diversity of the world’s history and
culture, but partnerships like this are hugely important in making the
art heritage of the world freely available to anybody with an internet
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Wikimedia UK, on Tuesday 12 November, 2019. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/