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Art Feminism edit-a-thon comes to ASU to promote gender inclusivity on Wikipedia

Hayden Library on ASU's Tempe campus is pictured on Thursday, March 17, 2016. The feminism edit-a-thon will take place at Hayden on Friday, March 18, 2016.
Hayden Library on ASU's Tempe campus is pictured on Thursday, March 17, 2016. The feminism edit-a-thon will take place at Hayden on Friday, March 18, 2016.

Feminism, art and Wikipedia will converge in a seven-hour straight Edit-a-Thon that will make articles on the website more inclusive for women. 

The organization Art+Feminism hosts the Edit-A-Thon as a worldwide event to advocate for fair coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia. The goal is to increase female editors on the website.

The organizers contacted Meredith Drum, a Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts assistant professor, to host the event. She immediately thought the opportunity would be something good for both the art program and for ASU.

“I’ve had long interest of women artists and the history of women artists,” Drum said. “The Herberger supports gender inclusivity in the arts — supporting women in the arts, sexuality, people of color, transgender people. I think this is a place that really supports this (event).”

ASU Edit-a-Thon organizers spent the last several weeks collecting names and information of women whose Wikipedia pages lacked substance, or women who don’t have one at all.

On Friday, they will take the names and give them to participants who will edit Wikipedia pages for the women. Drum said the participants will be given a crash course on how to become a Wikipedia editor and how to edit articles.

“It may seem a little intimidating, but (Wikipedia) is very accessible,” Drum said.

Professor and director of the School of Art Adriene Jenik said while researching the names of the women for the event, she was shocked to see some women in art had little-to-no information on Wikipedia. She said she even saw women on the list whom she knew personally.

“I actually have a former student of mine who has a page that’s on the ‘to improve list,’” Jenik said. “That was fun to see the student of mine entering into the cannon of art history.”

Jenik said it was important to understand why an event like this was happening and explained why feminism in the arts is necessary.

“Feminism is important because, to me, in the most basic sense, it means men and women have equal stature and value in the world,” Jenik said. “Much that exists in our world is unfortunately devalued — the work, the labor, the contributions of women. To be able to value those equally — that's what I believe what feminism is.”

Jenik said when she was in college, the mention of women in art history was very little or absent in her classes.

“In terms of art making, many of us in a certain generation, when we went to our art history classes, we were taught books with no women,” Jenik said. “It’s been within very few generations women have entered the artist circle cannon at all.”

Intermedia graduate student Kara Roschi said she will be participating, and she is looking forward to giving a voice to women in the arts.

“I’ve never been a Wikipedia editor before but I was really interested in being an editor,” Roschi said. “This event gives us a chance to be the documentarians in attempt to create representation.” 

Related links:

How do You Define Feminism?

Feminism is for everybody

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