The Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was an international initiative to bring women’s voices to the online encyclopedia—as editors and as subjects
“Last Saturday, about 600 volunteers in 31 venues around the globe engaged in a collective effort to change the world, one Wikipedia entry at a time.
In the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, in nonprofits and art schools, in museums and universities, these people—mostly women—set out to write entries, uncredited and unpaid, for the fast-growing crowd-sourced online encyclopedia.
Volunteers versed in the process, protocol, andethic of Wikipedia gave tutorials to the newcomers, who were mostly artists, activists, students, and scholars. They learned what constitutes a proper reference, how to create external links, and when and where to put footnotes. They learned that people can’t write about themselves, and what kind of sources are acceptable.
By the end of the day, around 100 new entries were up (around 80 more were enhanced). The new pages, devoted to figures ranging from Australian modernists Ethel Spowers and Dorrit Black to Catalan painter Josefa Texidor i Torres to contemporary artists including Mary Miss, Xaviera Simmons, Audrey Flack, and Monika Bravo, vary widely in scope, grammar, and quality of content. But the Wikipedia team expects that blips will vanish as the hive mind has its work on the entries.
“You have someone you know a lot about? It takes ten minutes,” says Ximena Gallardo C., a gender and film scholar at LaGuardia Community College. “This is the world brain. It’s just starting.”
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Photo 1: Editors at the resource table during the Wikipedia Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon at Eyebeam in Chelsea (CC BY-SA MICHAEL MANDIBERG)
Photo 2: Cosima von Bonin, The Bonin / Oswald Empire’s Nothing #04 (The New York Version With Blue Feet), 2011, wool, fabric, MDF, lacquer, CD player, electrical wiring, sound speaker dome, speaker cable. (COURTESY THE ARTIST AND PETZEL, NEW YORK)
Photo 3: Learning to post (CC BY-SA MICHAEL MANDIBERG)