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Help us write history (down)

January 9th, 2017

Collaborators wanted! A Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon focusing on Black Canadian art history takes over the AGO

2016 Art + Feminism Wikipedia-a-thon at the AGO. Photo: AGO

Jan Wade. Wayne Solomon. Charles Campbell. These are a just a few of the many Black Canadian artists currently missing from Wikipedia. But you can help us change that!

Following last year’s hugely successful Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, the AGO’s Library & Archives is partnering with Toronto’s Black Arts/History Reading Group to host a Wikipedia editing session focusing on Black Canadian Art & Art History. Co-organized by the AGO’s Amy Furness, Rosamond Ivey Special Archivist & Head, Library & Archives, and Toronto artist and Black Arts/History Reading Group moderator Deanna Bowen, this Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon takes over the E.P. Taylor Library & Archives on Wednesday, Jan. 11 from 6 to 9 pm. Editors of all skill and experience levels are welcome; a special one-hour tutorial will be offered beginning at 5:30 pm for anyone new to the platform.

We asked organizers why wiki events like these are important.

The Black Arts/History Reading Group are co-hosting the Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

According to Deanna Bowen, “One of the goals of The Black Arts/History Reading Group is to remedy our isolation by creating virtual connections across the nation. There are so many fabulous artists who have made works that speak to the specificities of Black experiences in Canada, so researching and acknowledging those contributions is a key concern. This is important not only to promote and give credit to the efforts and legacy of artists in previous generations, but also to inspire up-and-coming Black artists by providing them with an art history that reflects their experiences in this country.”

“Wikipedia is currently the world’s seventh most-visited website, and more and more Internet searches lead directly there,” adds Amy Furness. “It’s an amazing site because it’s the product of vast amounts of collaborative volunteer labour, and anyone can edit it – but the content of Wikipedia naturally skews towards the interests of those editing it. I believe that the more people who feel empowered to edit, and to write about the names and the histories that matter to them, the richer Wikipedia will be.”

What do you need to participate? “Basic writing and research skills are the main thing,” says Amy. To assist participants, the collections of the E.P. Taylor Library & Archives—one of Canada’s largest art libraries—will be available. “When editing Wikipedia it’s essential to support everything with citations, so research is important. Most art historical sources in Canada are not online, so our print records are really vital for contributing reliable Wikipedia content.”

So grab your laptop and join us. And stay tuned! This year’s Art + Feminism Edit-A-Thon is scheduled for Saturday, March 4 and is expected to be even bigger than last year’s.

For more information about the E.P. Taylor Library & Archives at the AGO or to search its online catalogue, click here.

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