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A page of her own

March 11th, 2019

Image by the AGO

We’ve all been there. While chatting with friends or researching a project, we instinctively open Wikipedia to start our search – after all, it’s the world’s largest and most popular online reference tool with editors contributing new content every day. But did you know that only 10% of those editors are women?

This gender imbalance has left large gaps in the content available on Wikipedia, with notable women often being left out. But little by little, article by article, that’s changing thanks to events like Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, taking place at the AGO on March 23.

Now in its fifth year, the Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon provides a free space for people of all genders to learn how to become a Wikipedia editor. With support from AGO staff and with the help of resources from the AGO Library & Archives, participants are empowered to spend the afternoon (and beyond) researching and creating articles about the amazing women artists not represented on Wikipedia.

Leading the charge is Amy Furness, the AGO’s Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist and Head of Library & Archives. According to Furness, there is a “positive energy that comes from people gaining the skills and resources they need to contribute to this project and help to shape written histories.”

In total, participants at past AGO edit-a-thons have created and updated pages for nearly 100 Canadian women artists and curators alike! This includes beloved Nova Scotian folk artist Maud Lewis, whose new page has already been viewed over 72,000 times. Other notable additions include Indigenous artist and performer Rebecca Belmore, whose powerful solo exhibition took place at the AGO in 2018 and the 2017 Gershon Iskowitz Prize winner, sculptor Valérie Blass.

“This work is gradual, but it really adds up. I think over the years that the events have changed the profile of art-related content on Wikipedia, so that it starts to reflect the diversity of the art world, which is how it should be,” says Furness.

Join the AGO’s Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon on Saturday, March 23, from 12–5 pm with editing tutorials from 12:30–1:30 pm. Bring your laptop, and don’t forget to create a Wikipedia account in advance! Children are also welcome and can attend a free workshop while their parents are editing – but pre-registration is required.

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