Students brought ideas, laptops and the hashtag “#ArtandFeminism” to Yale’s Wikipedia edit-a thon Friday evening.
Organized by the Yale University Library, the School of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Digital Media Center, the event invited the entire Yale community to participate in a collective editing effort aimed at mitigating Wikipedia’s lacking representation of female artists. For the occasion, 10 Yale students and administrators gathered in Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library to research and contribute to Wikipedia pages highlighting the work of women in the arts. Kress Fellow in Art Librarianship Alexandra Provo, who spearheaded the event, said the edit-a-thon marked an important collaboration between various schools and departments within the Yale community. More broadly, Friday’s edit-a-thon was associated with the “Art + Feminism” project, a campaign that aims to generate coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia while encouraging female editorship. Currently, the project is in its third year, and has organized similar collective editing events worldwide.
“One amazing thing is how the word about the event spread, and a bunch of serendipitous collaborations happened,” Provo noted. “It’s really cool how many people are excited about the event.”
The edit-a-thon, which was inspired by an event Provo had encountered at the Pratt Institute, featured training sessions on Wikipedia, and organizers compiled lists of Wikipedia entries that needed work or citations for the benefit of attendees. Carts of books from off-site and the Yale Center for British Art were brought in to aid attendees with their research.
Provo emphasized that the event did not merely seek to achieve a specific number of edits, but also to introduce people to editing as a discipline.
“It’s really aimed at anyone at Yale who wants to participate,” Provo explained. “We want to encourage people to edit when they want.”
Haas Family Arts Library Director Heather Gendron, who attended the edit-a-thon, chose to create a Wikipedia page for Jocelyn Lee, a fine-art photographer. Gendron selected Lee from the Art + Feminism’s list of underrepresented female artists, she said, highlighting her interest in women’s photography. She added that the process of putting together a Wikipedia page, which involves compiling facts from a number of different resources, was a valuable experience.
A number of students, including Kimberly Mejia-Cuellar ’16, also participated in the project, working to put together the lists of female artists for whom pages needed to be created or edited. While Mejia-Cuellar does not have an art background, she said the project allowed her to explore the library’s holdings and learn about different forms of art in the process. Mejia-Cuellar added that she hoped the edit-a-thon — as well as the larger Art + Feminism initiative — would allow other students to have a similar experience.
“I hope our efforts will help students get excited about art by female artists and dive into the artwork the University owns,” she said.