Wikipedia’s gender trouble is well documented. In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10 percent of its contributors identify as female. While the reasons for the gender gap are up for debate, the practical effect of this disparity is not: content is skewed by the lack of female participation. The absence of shared knowledge in this important repository has caused concern within the international arts and information communities.
That’s why the University of Michigan Library will host an an all-day communal updating of Wikipedia entries on subjects related to art and feminism at the Shapiro Design Lab in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library on Sat., March 11 from noon-5 p.m.
The library will join a larger international effort that has taken place since the first “Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon” in March 2014. Since then, nearly 5,000 people have participated in more than 280 events across six continents every March to create and improve thousands of Wikipedia pages for artists like Tina Charlie, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ana Mendieta, Augusta Savage and Frances Stark.
Meghan Sitar, director of connected scholarship at the U-M Library, organized the event, which will be the first of its kind hosted in Ann Arbor as part of the annual international effort that coincides with Women’s History Month.
“One of our goals at the library is to introduce people to new forms of information technology and to get them interested and involved as creators, not just as consumers,” Sitar said. “This is an opportunity to bring our community together, teach new skills and empower learners at all intersections.”
Those participating will need to bring their own laptops, power cords and ideas for entries that need updating or creation. The library will provide tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian, reference materials and refreshments. For the editing-averse, the library welcomes those who would like to stop by to show support.
The “Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon” will take place at the Shapiro Design Lab at the U-M Shapiro Undergraduate Library, located at 919 South University Ave., Ann Arbor. The event is free and open to the public. No previous experience is necessary, but an RSVP is required online: myumi.ch/6QXpG. For more information on the international event, visit artandfeminism.org.
The event is sponsored by the U-M Library, U-M Museum of Art, and the Ann Arbor District Library.