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In the Loop
General News : Apr 6, 2016

SA+AH Hosts Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

By Bailey Benningfield

The School of Art + Art History, in partnership with the Harn Museum of Art, hosted their third annual Art + Feminism Edit-a-Thon in March as part of a campaign to improve coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia. The Edit-a-Thon encourages people of all genders, but particularly women, to create and edit Wikipedia pages focusing on art and women.

Organizers from Art + Feminism contacted art history professor Dr. Melissa Hyde about hosting an Art + Feminism Edit-a-Thon node, a local event within their larger, rhizomatic Wikipedia editing campaign. Dr. Hyde then contacted Dr. Segal, the Director of Education and Curator of Academic Programs at the Harn, about partnering with the museum. In addition, UF’s Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research and the Wikipedia foundation also provided support for the event.

At the Edit-a-thon, participants created articles on Evon Streetman, a Florida photographer and faculty member at UF, and Jacqueline Hayden, an American feminist artist whose work focuses on women’s bodies as a site for larger cultural discourse. The team edited articles about a number of other women who are artists and art historians including Marilyn Stokstad, Lu Xiaoman, Karen Glaser, and Maria Izquierdo.

Encouraging the participation of women in online spaces such as Wikipedia is critical; the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors identify as women.

“By introducing women to editing Wikipedia, we hope to address the underrepresentation of women as content producers of this widely consumed resource,” says Dr. Segal.

Wikipedia is just one space in which women face underrepresentation in the art world. Expanding and improving online content focusing on women artists helps to increase representation by boosting the visibility of these artists and by putting a spotlight on the significant contributions they have made to the art world.

The Edit-a-Thon is important for its ability to bring together people who are passionate about art and to strengthen a shared commitment to the arts at UF. The Edit-a-Thon drew a diverse pool of participants, including undergraduates in art history and museum studies as well as computer engineering majors, community members, and walk in visitors with no prior knowledge of the event.

“The Edit-a-Thon makes Wikipedia a better place to learn about art,” says Segal. “We’re fixing the internet one small edit at a time.”