Art+Feminism is an international project on improving content on women and the arts on Wikipedia, and encouraging women’s participation on the encyclopedia. We invite people of all gender identities and expressions, particularly transgender and cisgender women, to address the gender imbalance on Wikipedia by participating in communal updating of Wikipedia’s entries on art and feminism. You can read our statement of values here.
Art+Feminism arose out of two separate conversations between the four founding co-organizers. Siân Evans and Jacqueline Mabey had discussed arranging an event around art and feminism similar to the edit-a-thons geared towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) that take place every year on Ada Lovelace Day. Evans’ goal was to engage The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLiS NA)’s Women and Art Special Interest group to build public knowledge and address gender disparities in art research. Mabey mentioned this to Michael Mandiberg, artist and Professor of Media Culture at College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York because of his use of Wikipedia in teaching. Mandiberg had actually had a similar conversation earlier that day with curator Laurel Ptak. At the time, Ptak was a fellow at Eyebeam, a center for art and technology, where she was doing work around cyberfeminism, and he had encouraged her to hold an edit-a-thon focused on art, technology, and feminism.
This project also came on the heels of a very public debate about the potential for structural sexism on Wikipedia. Writer Amanda Filipacchi wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times on a problematic editorial practice being implemented by a Wikipedia editor: women were being removed from the “American Novelists” category and moved into a subcategory for “American Women Novelists.” Filipacchi’s piece generated a maelstrom of discussion about gender issues on Facebook and other social media platforms. However, at the same time, Wikipedians were having a conversation about the subcategorization on Wikipedia’s talk pages. While the topic was the same, the tenor and content of these conversations were worlds apart. We wanted to give folks the tools to engage in these discussions directly on wiki.
“The intent is not to disproportionately overstate the roles of women or downplay the achievements of men through a malicious rewriting of history… Rather, this project seeks to revisit gaps in scholarship and canonical history — places in which the accounts of women’s contributions to society may, for one reason or another, simply not exist.”*
Art+Feminism is envisioned as an intervention both as feminists and as librarians/professors/artists/art workers/art lovers – a contribution of our specific knowledge to the Commons.
- Rachel Simone Weil quoted in Megan Kallus, “UT School of Information to host feminist Wikipedia Edit-a-thon,” The Daily Texan, March 4th, 2015.
Interested in participating
People gather under the banner of Art+Feminism year-round, however, every year during the month of March we hold simultaneous international solidarity events. Bottom line, you should organize an event where and when it makes sense for your community. You never need our permission to host an edit-a-thon – we take a do-it-yourself approach – but we are here to help if you need it. Please visit our website to access training and organizing materials, and to list your event.