ASU holds its second annual Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

The event celebrates women and art through editing Wikipedia pages

ASU held its second annual Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon last Friday at Hayden Library to help improve pages about women artists and encourage female editorship. 

According to the organization, Art + Feminism, only 10 percent of Wikipedia editors identify as female. 

Mimmo Bonanni, a social sciences librarian at the University, helped plan the event.

Bonanni said he likes the idea of teaching editing and information skills to students. He said that with these skills, they can practice future research and continue editing Wikipedia content.

“Because the edit-a-thon is so hands-on, you learn how to evaluate information and sources critically, cite sources, and actually do these things in Wikipedia, and contribute back to Wikipedia,” Bonanni said.

Bonanni also said he enjoyed that this event took place during Open Education Week at ASU because Wikipedia is an open educational resource.

Meredith Drum, an assistant professor in ASU's School of Art, said this event is important to her because she is a feminist and an artist.

Drum first heard about the edit-a-thon in the New York Times and agreed to bring the program to ASU after Michael Mandiberg, one of the founders of Art + Feminism, reached out to her and the University's School of Art.

“Knowing how the encyclopedia works and learning how to contribute to it is important,” Drum said. “Even more important is teaching university students about Wikipedia's gender gap, and showing them how they can close this gap by contributing to pages about women's accomplishments.”

Anali Perry, an ASU librarian specializing in scholarly communication, said that Wikipedia is probably one of the best know examples of a freely available and modifiable educational resource.

Perry also helped organize the edit-a-thon event and ended up editing the page on Chinese artist, Ying Miao.

“I don’t know a lot about art, but I find it really interesting to read about artist’s inspirations, and the message they hope to convey through their preferred medium,” she said. “Miao was a fascinating topic.”

Perry said she thinks this event is important to increase the number of women editors on Wikipedia and improve the information provided on women artists.

“Articles about women, in any field, on Wikipedia are extremely scarce.” she said.

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