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Grants:Simple/Applications/Wikimedia Espana/2019/Women artists of Málaga Editathon

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Women artists of Málaga Editathon
(Learning story)


At the beginning of March 2019, two people contacted Wikimedia España with the aim of organizing an event to create Wikipedia articles about women artists from Malaga; one was from the university and the other was an artist belonging to the group Colectiva. Observatorio Cultural Feminista. Their proposal was an event in which there would only be women; in Málaga there are only WMEs male members, so this meant that we had to go there for a whole day to take advantage of the trip, including training and the publication of articles.


A moment during the event

The proposal was to organise it in a cultural centre in Málaga, La Térmica, so there were three agents involved in the organisation: the group that proposed the activity, the venue, and WMES. Each agent had three or four interlocutors, so when it came to making decisions, there were easily nine people talking, but without a firm voice; the discussion was too friendly, lax, permissive, and without specifying anything.

The fact that it was only for women meant that not only was the number of people who were going to facilitate the event reduced, but also the number of attendees. When it was time to call for the event, always using feminine language, some men signed up but we were not prepared to tell them that they could not attend. The group that organized the activity did not find any problems to prevent their attendance but they did not want to be responsible for communicating it and they did not want to do it. This was somewhat uncomfortable for WMES; there were internal discussions about whether to organize closed events or not. After several weeks of preparation, WMES wrote them an apology, indicating that they could not attend but offering to continue informing and inviting them to our activities. None of them answered the message or went to the event.

On the other hand, the attendees were artists and they expected an article to be edited about them, despite having made it clear that no articles can be edited about oneself or with conflict of interest. So the artists were a bit frustrated, there was a debate about what is relevant in Wikipedia, it was a tough moment with them there. There had been a call for a photocall, to take pictures of them but never to write articles. The local interlocutor did not know nor had any predisposition to learn and get to know the work of Wikimedia, they only wanted the articles of the artists, without appreciating the difficulty of editing an article and without knowing what Wikipedia entails, what content is in it, etc.

Despite all this, the event went well, not at the level of editing and article creation metrics, but as a group of women learned about free licenses, about verifiability in Wikipedia, they learned to value and respect it, about encyclopedic relevance, about the work to be done in the media to make visible the work of the artists.

From the first moment we were asked to cover the costs of transport and accommodation for those travelling to Málaga, we had no experience in negotiating this kind of things, but we maintained a firm stance and it worked out well and we were paid all expenses.


Group photo at the end of the event

From all this we learned several things in view of future events of this kind. We are not in favour of organising closed events, but if for some reason such an event is necessary, we have to be able to measure the consequences of it in advance.

Likewise, the number of interlocutors for the organization and communication of an event must be reduced, each agent must provide a single interlocutor, and communication must be done through short and synthetic emails, confirming their reading and understanding.

If men had been able to attend, due to the fact that there are several WMES members in Málaga, two sessions could have been organized, one for training and the other for editing, and it's time enough to reflect and incorporate knowledge. As only women attended, everything was concentrated in one day to save time and resources.

At least we were able to come back a month later and finally 6 articles were edited. Related to this, we also learned not to prioritize article metrics in this type of event because they usually serve, as in this case, to disseminate, train and raise awareness about the values and possibilities of Wikipedia, free licenses, verifiability and sources.