In the spring of 2016, I worked with the Art+Feminism founders to uncover perceptions, needs, and aspirations of their community across a spectrum of engagement — from new participant to seasoned Wikipedia editor — in order to:
Because lowering barriers to entry was a key goal for this project, we wanted to know what it was like for someone attending an Art+Feminism event for the first time. We also knew we had a lot to learn from people who had been a part of the community for a long time.
Rather than jumping right in to design, my co-conspirator Nic Walter and I spent about three days doing field research. We attended the 2016 Edit-a-thon at the Museum of Modern Art to observe the event, and we conducted six onsite in-depth interviews, and later five phone interviews to talk with people engaged with the project at various levels.
We also did some observational research at Train The Trainer — an event where they train anyone interested in hosting an edit-a-thon. And I attended the 2016 edit-a-thon at the Interference Archive in Brooklyn as a participant.
Participating in the event gave me a first-hand appreciation for how difficult and intimidating editing Wikipedia can be and how events like this that offered child care and friendly technical support were so important to shifting the gender ratio of editors on Wikipedia. This was sentiment I heard while interviewing but by participating, I could feel and experience it on a visceral level.
We reorganized the existing site and rewrote the site content to answer key questions about the project at a high level, help people more easily locate relevant events, and better tell the story of Art+Feminism.
Our findings, recommendations, and initial project sketches have been published here.
You can check out Art+Feminism’s updated site here.
The Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors identify as female or non-binary. This disparity has resulted in gender bias throughout wikipedia that manifests itself both as missing articles and bias within the content that’s there.
Art+Feminism has been working to increase the number of articles written by and about women and underrepresented groups on Wikipedia. They have been doing this through organizing allies and local partners around the world to host edit-a-thons where they teach people how to become editors on Wikipedia.
They’ve organized hundreds of international events at universities, museums, and local community spaces where volunteer have authored and/or contributed to thousands of pages about women, feminism, and the arts on wikipedia.