MoMA’s annual Art+Feminism Edit-a-Thon ‘more important than ever’

10th February 2017

Next month, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will play host to its fourth annual Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, as it celebrates Women’s History Month. 

With the recent controversy and sensationalist headlines surrounding the US election and the recent appointment of Donald Trump as America’s 45th President, organisers of the event believe that it holds more importance than ever before. 

Art+Feminism is an all-day event designed to improve content on feminism and the arts on Wikipedia, encouraging female editorship. It invites people of all gender identities and expressions to participate and has so far improved the pages of female artists such as Tina Charlie, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ana Mendieta, Augusta Savage, and Frances Stark.
 
Currently, less than ten per cent of contributors to Wikipedia identify as female, according to artandfeminism.org. Events like this take place across the globe throughout March, and since 2014, the group has gathered at over 280 events and have improved thousands of Wikipedia pages. 

The day will kick off at 10am, with the gallery’s social media manager Kimberly Drew moderating a panel along with Joanne McNeil and Data & Society Research Institute fellow Zara Rahman. Here the trio will discuss how to accurately find and disseminate reliable sources on difficult-to-access news items. 

As well as providing tutorials for inexperienced Wikipedia users and reference materials about female artists, organisers will also host programming throughout the day. 

In a statement, Art+Feminism organisers Siân Evans, Jacqueline Mabey, McKensie Mack, and Michael Mandiberg said: “We’ve been deeply disturbed by the sheer amount of fake news on social media, and its possible influence on the recent US election.

“Wikipedia is something that belongs to all of us. It’s not a privately held resource, its content isn’t motivated by the whims of any owners. When you have a government actively pushing ‘alternative facts,’ improving the reliability and completeness of Wikipedia is an important act of everyday resistance.” 

Other edit-a-thons across the world include those at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Aspen Art Museum in Colorado, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, DC.

The NMWA - the world’s only major museum honouring women’s contributions to the arts - is also launching a social media initiative to help promote Women’s History Month. It will start at the beginning of the month and will promote the hashtag #5WomenArtists, challenging users to name five female artists.

In the past, 20 countries, 400 institutions and 11,000 individuals have participated in the hashtag campaign and it is hoped that 2017 will be even more successful.

So far, five continents have announced their participation, along with 41 states and 150 institutions who want to be involved in gender parity. 

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