From time immemorial, human beings have obsessed over knowledge. It’s one of our most precious resources, and our most jealously guarded. We’ve accumulated it gathering in circles under trees and squeaky chairs in sloped lecture halls, distributed it in etchings on stone tablets and inky letters on paper pages, even sought to hide it by blindfolding interlopers and erecting paywalls out of code.

Today, the gates that keep knowledge in the hands of the few are coming down. As a global society, we are more literate, cooperative, and connected than ever before. By reading this right now, you are doing more than your early ancestors could have fathomed.

How has that access to knowledge shaped your life?

Who would you be without what you know?

Is the right to seek knowledge freely currently protected where you live?

What might a future with complete access to the sum of the world’s knowledge look like?

What forms of knowledge are most important to you—and does your society recognize and value them?

After all, knowledge isn’t just a set of random facts (“Hey Alexa, what’s the population of Budapest?”), nor is it only the theorems you memorized in school or the coding languages you use at work. It’s family recipes and whisper networks, the ways you tie your shoes and the muscles you recognize by name. It’s contested, nuanced, often inextricable from power and control. It affects the decisions we make, our health and happiness, even how we relate to each other.

With your help, the Wikimedia Foundation wants to illustrate the expansive role of knowledge in human life. Send us your creative submissions on the theme of what open access to knowledge means to you. We’re accepting work in five categories: short films, visual art (including illustrations, photography, 3D renderings, etc.), poetry, short fiction, and creative essays. The deadline to submit is 11:59pm on 30 April 2019.

In June, we’ll showcase the top entries under a Creative Commons license in our Heart of Knowledge digital anthology zine, share selected works through the Wikimedia Foundation’s YouTube channel and blog, and host an awards ceremony at the Wikimedia Foundation headquarters in San Francisco, California. Winners in writing categories (poetry, short fiction, and creative essays) will be published online by our collaborators at Electric Literature. The top submission in each category, as determined by our panel of judges, will also win a prize worth up to $350.

Rules here.

Submit here.*

Adora Svitak, Communications Fellow
Wikimedia Foundation

*Please contact if you need an alternative method of submission. This blog post was updated on 10 April to specify where the winners will be published. 

Related — Array

Read further in the pursuit of knowledge

Winners announced in Europeana’s First World War portfolio contest

Affiliates From the archives Wikimedia Commons Wikipedia

"Each of their portfolios," Europeana's Liam Wyatt says, "demonstrated the potential of open-access heritage to help understand European history through diverse, innovative, and qualitative projects."

Read more

Freely licensed magic at Eurovision

Community From the archives Interview News on Wikipedia Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to Albin Olsson, free photographic mastery was on display at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

Read more

Help us unlock the world’s knowledge.

As a nonprofit, Wikipedia and our related free knowledge projects are powered primarily through donations.

Donate now

Connect — اتصل

Stay up-to-date on our work.

Get email updates

Subscribe to news about ongoing projects and initiatives.

Contact a human

Questions about the Wikimedia Foundation or our projects? Get in touch with our team.


Photo credits

Heart arrow

Unknown via Pxhere