For it’s third-annual Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, Art+Feminism supported 2,500 participants in 175 events across 6 continents for a record-breaking year of editing and creating pages for women in the arts. Organized in collaboration with the Professional Organization for Women in the Arts (POWarts) and the Museum of Modern Art, the Edit-a-thon was led by Siân Evans of Art Libraries Society of North America’s Women and Art Special Interest Group, Jacqueline Mabey of failed projects, and artist Michael Mandiberg (read: "Meet the Man Printing Wikipedia as a Book").
“We’re thrilled with this year’s results,” Evans, Mabey, and Mandiberg explain to The Creators Project. “We feel that they reflect our emphasis on intersectional feminisms, both in the content edited and the organizing efforts.” At latest count, this year's efforts resulted in an accumulated 2,000 new pages and the editing and improvement of 1,500 existing articles on Wikipedia. At a more than three-fold increase of last year’s events’ results, this incredible achievement is truly one in the spirit of March’s Women’s History Month, around which the program is organized.
Apart from the actual editing, the events also included discussions and panels focusing on the implications of Wikipedia’s gender disparities, such as LGBTQ visibility, intellectual property, and the general lack of female participation in the database. “It is important to improve Wikipedia’s gender bias both because it is one of the keystones of our digital commons and because it’s becoming one of the content backbones of the Internet: many other popular sites pull in content from Wikipedia's APIs,” they explain. “Absences on Wikipedia ripple across the internet.” The additions and edits, published in full detail on Wikipedia, include a wide range and definition of artists, from Liz Magic Laser to Park McArthur, Anne Pasternak to Carrie Mae Weems—all of whom we've featured previously on our site.
“More are people using Wikipedia as a platform for teaching, research and composition, more librarians are describing it as a research tool,” Evans, Mabey, and Mandiberg continue. “For example, Google search pulls its biographical sidebar information from Wikipedia, and MoMA’s website now pulls from Wikipedia content. This is the marker of a cultural shift with regards to how Wikipedia articles are viewed in the art world and in research in general, making our work more pressing.”
“Art+Feminism is envisioned as an intervention [by] both feminists and artists/art workers/art lovers," they add. "It's a contribution of our specific knowledge to the Commons. Yes, it's about representation as women, but also representation of art histories.”
Art+Feminism’s Wikipedia Edit-a-thon’s continue throughout this month, with more than 10 events scheduled for later in April. Find out more on Art+Feminism’s website.