Yesterday I attended the Boston satellite Art + Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon held at the Morton R. Godine library at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. This event was an “international initiative to bring women’s voices to the encyclopedia, as editors and as subjects.” I’m sure you have all used Wikipedia, but we don’t always take the time to read entries critically or question why certain entries seem to be glaringly missing. As stated on Wikipedia’s pages about contributing entries, “Our goal here at Wikipedia is to create a web-based, free content encyclopedia on all branches of knowledge, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation.”
The purpose of the Art + Feminism event was to help correct a bias in Wikipedia which is disproportionately written by and about men. In just a short time, the group gathered at Mass Art created Wikipedia accounts and then learned how to create external links, when a person is considered “notable” and therefore eligible for a Wikipedia entry, and what types of sources are acceptable. And then we got to work adding entries for women artists who were not currently represented….but should be! I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were two Hampshire alums at the event, one a fairly recent grad who is now enrolled in a Phd program at Boston University, and the other an alum who is now an Associate Professor at Mass Art. It’s always nice to know that Hampshire alums care about correcting the biases and injustices in the world!