The Heritage Lab, in collaboration with WeWork India, was proud to organise India Art Fair’s first ever Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon. This was a preview to a larger campaign in March, called Art+Feminism. It is an international movement which seeks to improve content on ‘women in the arts’ on Wikipedia and encourage female editorship of the platform.
The guiding belief of this campaign is that for the world to wake up to women’s contribution to art and history, they must themselves get involved in the preservation of their own stories. Globally, it has been running for 6 years, and in India, it is in its third year.
At the India Art Fair edit-a-thon, we focused on developing and adding content about 8 leading female modernists from India. These included artists Nalini Malani, B. Prabha, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Amrita Sher-Gil, Madhvi Parekh, Arpita Singh, Nasreen Mohamedi and Nilima Sheikh. Many of their works were also on display at the fair. However, despite making a name for themselves in India and abroad, information about them is not readily available in the public domain.
The problem is especially rampant on Wikipedia. This is unfortunate because the platform is read by millions daily. However, with small, gradual steps, the situation can be changed, as those who participated in our workshop came to learn.
And we learn to edit ! One female artist at a time. Artist Arpita Singh’s Wiki Page now stands expanded! #nowediting #8femalemodernists at the .@India_ArtFair !! Come, visit us at the awesome .@WeWorkIndia space ! pic.twitter.com/8h08FK4iXu— HeritageLab 🏛🤺 (@MedhaviGandhi) February 2, 2019
Held on 1st, 2nd and 3rd February for only an hour and a half daily, the workshop gave them the necessary training and tools to increase the representation of these artists on Wikipedia. Even within this short duration (and limited WiFI connectivity), we were able to make much progress. Here’s a closer look at what we accomplished-India Art Fair Delhi
What was most notable that almost all who participated had no experience of editing Wikipedia earlier. The participants were excited to add to the corpus of knowledge on the internet and learn new things in the process.
Wikipedia has always been the first point of reference for me and I thought might get to know if there’s more to it than what we read. [the campaign] spoke of editing and adding more information, I wanted to know how Wikipedia comes about and I think I learnt something new today.Pooja, Arts Administrator and Participant
Thus, the edit-a-thon at India Art Fair was an important initiative. Since 2014, over 7,000 people have participated in similar events all over the world as part of the Art+Feminism movement. This has resulted in the creation and improvement of more than 11,000 articles on Wikipedia.
If you would like to contribute to this international campaign, look out for an edit-a-thon in a city near you. Come fight for equality one article at a time.
Srishti is an abundantly curious individual who counts history, poetry and chocolate as her many first loves. As the Editor of The Heritage Lab she does her bit to breathe fresh life into how museums are perceived in India. She’s currently studying Cultural Anthropology at the University College, London.