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Things I Learned from WikiStage WBG Lima

Maya Brahmam's picture

The first WikiStage WBG was held in Lima on October 6 on the topic of social inclusion. You can view the entire show at World Bank Live.  

WikiStage Lima crewWhat’s a WikiStage?
This was a special event organized by the World Bank and produced under license from WikiStage. It featured an inspirational sequence of talks, performance, and films in a 3-minute, 6-minute or 9 minute format. The WikiStage Association in Paris is a non-profit organization that supports a global network of volunteers and event organizers. WikiStage is independent from Wikipedia or other “Wiki” projects and is a young knowledge sharing collaborative that began in 2013 and today represents a network of more than 50 event organizers in 10 countries.

Our goal was to create an interesting and tightly choreographed program that explored social inclusion through the perspectives of people from a variety of different backgrounds and disciplines. It was presented in English and Spanish to a live audience of 500 and livestreamed to a global online audience.

Here are three things I learned from organizing the WikiStage WBG Lima.

Walking a space helps you understand physical inclusion.
Including a speaker with disabilities helped me “see” physical inclusion – it was no longer an abstraction. I had to walk the venue ahead of time and look at it through the eyes of someone who would need to maneuver differently. It opened my eyes to the many things I do without thinking – Victor Pineda, our speaker from World Enabled, made an interesting point that since disability can happen to anyone at any time, inclusion of people with disabilities is in our own self-interest and improves the quality of life for the population at large.

Problem solving on the fly can bond a team.
The young musicians of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura have a very practical attitude to their work, after all, they have built their instruments out of materials salvaged from a landfill and have learned to make do with what they have. When they arrived for their sound check, we discovered that the cello’s entire sound board had broken off in transit. The cellist, Victor, had a solution – he’d brought a wooden clothes brush that needed to be sawn to fit and drilled to hold the strings. This required some quick work  and collaboration from the team, but the cello was ready to be played after about 30 minutes with a knife and a screwdriver, and the experience drew everyone together – an unexpected bonus!

An emotional and focused experience.
When you use a storytelling format, it forces people to share more about themselves and brings an emotional dimension to the discussion. The format also allowed us greater freedom to explore different aspects of inclusion, and the timeframe forced speakers to be disciplined in their presentations, which kept the audience engaged and interested.

The WikiStage WBG was curated carefully and featured local voices from Peru and global voices from other countries. We also curated our audience to include students from local universities and social entrepreneurs. Close to 300 young people attended WikiStage WBG Lima and for many it was their first experience with this form of storytelling.

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Photographs courtesy of the author


Submitted by Jayashri Rangan on

This is a really cool story. What makes some individuals view every experience as an opportunity to grow and enrich themselves? This attitude can enrich all world communities

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