Big Deal Media

K-12 Technology

Oct 15, 2020 2020-10-15

Digital Learning • Learning Support

Edit-a-thons to Bring More Black Artists to Wikipedia

A group of artists has spent the past six years inviting other artists, teachers, and students to help add Wikipedia pages for Black artists and adjusting other pages as needed. Started by Jina Valentine and Heather Hart, the Wiki edit-a-thons have resulted in the addition of 1,200 artists and institutions to the Wikipedia website, as well as changes made to countless other pages. For years, almost monthly, Valentine and Hart have hosted Wiki edit-a-thons in schools and libraries and cafeterias; at the Chicago Athletic Club and Studio Museum of Harlem; in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Sheboygan, Wisconsin; in South Africa and Alberta, Canada. Each event tends to focus on artists associated with the place where the edit-a-thon is being held. A 2018 edit-a-thon at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago, for instance, was a chance to write entries for Black artists whose work was shown at the MCA yet somehow still didn’t have much online presence. Wiki pages for Jacob Lawrence, Betye Saar, Mickalene Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems, for example, are among the entries that have been spruced up or added. As the number of solo exhibitions and group shows featuring Black artists steadily rises around the country, audiences, collectors, and curators turn online for more information. Consider Dindga McCannon, whose work as a quilter and muralist had been marginalized for decades until she was included in a recent traveling exhibition of Black women artists. Her Wikipedia entry, created at an edit-a-thon, is now the first page anyone curious about her work finds online.

Underserved Populations Civic Literacy Educational Technology

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