“We change knowledge, we change the world.”
This mantra is a guiding principle of Dr. Alexis Boylan in co-organizing UConn’s Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon.
Founded on the weekend of International Women’s Day in 2014, this annual event called upon participants at dozens of locations worldwide to edit and create Wikipedia articles on women and the arts. The event aims to address inequalities that have existed in women’s representation on the site.
To help fix this problem, UConn will host their own Edit-a-thon on March 6, and students, faculty and other members of the UConn community will work tirelessly for eight hours to give women artists more visibility on the web. Boylan, who is an assistant professor of Art & Art History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) believes it is a great opportunity for members of the UConn community to make a difference.
Since Wikipedia is crowdsourced, said Boylan, it has been representative of society for a long period of time.
“And historically,” she said, “it has been important to prioritize white male creativity, knowledge and ownership.”
The Edit-a-thon is looking to have members of the UConn community do something about it.
Boylan thinks that UConn is a perfect place for the Edit-a-thon because it is “an incredibly smart campus that cares about knowledge, and people here are willing to give their time to something they care about.”
Boylan added that, especially in the past two years, members of the UConn community have been a presence in the conversation about education and diversity, and this event will be another way to demonstrate leadership in this area.
Faculty, students and anyone who is interested are invited to attend the Edit-a-thon on Sunday, March 6, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Electronic Classroom 2 at Homer Babbidge Library. In case you weren’t already tempted enough, the event is free and pizza will be provided. Participants are not required to stay for the entire Edit-a-thon, and they may bring a laptop to use if they wish, but it is not required.
No technical experience is needed, according to Kathy Labadorf, WGSS Librarian and co-organizer of the event with Boylan. A wide variety of skills are needed including research and editing, and staff will be on-hand for assistance.
Boylan and Labadorf hope that the impact of the event will reach far beyond the day itself.
“Wikipedia is a living entity, and you can still participate long after the event by editing and adding articles,” said Boylan.
“In today’s world, education is about being a contributor as well as a receiver of information, and this event promotes that,” Labadorf said.
To RSVP for the event, please visit the Storrs Edit-a-thon Wikipedia page. There, you can register for the event as well as add suggestions to the list of articles that need improvement or expansion.