Tag: International Women’s Day

Reflections on International Women’s Day 2018 and Wikipedia – A Gude Cause

I have been working as Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh for just over two years now (one year part-time and one year full-time) so now seems a good time to start the deep delving of reflecting back. (I’m also, it has to be said, contractually obliged to reflect back now I am undertaking my CMALT).

The importance of reflection in my role, or any role for that matter, is not lost on me… and not a new experience either. My background is in English and Media teaching at secondary school level and the yearly soul-searching and evidencing of continuous professional development is something other teachers will recognise. Teaching, it has to be said, can be a very solitary profession at times. Aside from tea and lunch breaks you often spend the lion’s share of your day working autonomously in your own classroom; reflecting on your work and intuitively planning to better meet the needs of your students. Like most teachers, I tried to lead by example, offering support, guidance, humour when needed, cajoling when needed, and generally trying to remove any barriers to learning. Like most teachers, I needed to train myself to remember all the good things achieved during each day rather than dwelling on the work still outstanding or the things that hadn’t worked out.

The volunteering I did in various archives too (University of Glasgow Archives, Glasgow School of Art Archives and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Archives) was solitary in nature a great deal of the time. I didn’t mind that. There was something immensely gratifying about the process of quietly sorting* through the archives, looking for buried treasures and helping to catalogue & write about them so others could learn about them. A world away from the noise of the classroom. Though I’ll confess that those moments when I felt I made a difference in the classroom and helped inspire a love of learning in others (not to mention the daily barrage of humour that was released on me) is something one can’t help but miss.

Teaching and volunteering in libraries/archives were two aspects of my life for a while; and I felt they complemented one another perfectly. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was that these aspects could be combined in one role working as the Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh.

The difference now is that I am no longer just a teacher. I learn just as much as I teach… which I love. Such is the fast-developing nature of the Wikimedia projects, there is always something new to learn and to share with others once mastered. Beyond this, after completing four courses of study in higher education, I was well versed in being a student but found I had a lot to learn about the inner workings of a university; especially one like the University of Edinburgh with some 35,000 students and 13,000 staff. Working to support the whole university across all the teaching colleges and support groups to see how the university could benefit from, and contribute to, the Wikimedia projects is a very new role; the first in the United Kingdom so I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to break new ground. I have never wavered in my belief that there are huge areas of crossover between universities and the Wikimedia projects and therefore huge opportunities to explore the untapped potential of collaborating with one another. This has been hugely exciting, hugely rewarding…. and, at times, more than a little daunting because there is so much that could and should be done. And in those few quiet moments when I have had my head too far buried in my laptop to see the wood for the trees and my inner Eeyore has taken over this can feel like another solitary role.

Only it hasn’t been. Not really.

And this, more than anything else, is why I believe that the residency is working.

Because I work in an incredibly supportive environment and learn everyday from the example of brilliant, inspiring women. Reflecting back, my two years at the University of Edinburgh has been characterised by, and shaped by, the fantastic female colleagues I work with. Even today at our International Women’s Day Wikipedia event to celebrate the lives and contributions of the suffragettes, I was struck by the absolute enthusiasm for editing Wikipedia by our all-female group of attendees. “This is soooo addictive.” was proclaimed multiple times this afternoon. Which is unfailingly awesome to hear as Wikipedia has (historically) been seen as the preserve of white techy males.

Not anymore. Not on the evidence of the last two years. Things are definitely changing for the better. Though there is still a way to go. #PressForProgress

So, I would like to pay tribute on International Women’s Day to the inspiring women that I feel honoured to work with and learn from. You’ve helped champion the work of the residency, of Wikimedia UK and the sharing of open knowledge. You’ve pointed me in the right direction (sometimes literally), provided advice, ideas, support, carved turnips, Periodic table cupcakes, guided me, forced me to take pictures of strip clubs for Wiki Loves Monuments, made me laugh, made me see things differently, challenged me to grow as a practitioner; and demonstrated just what it means to be dedicated & brilliant professional.

I am not normally one to pay compliments or give enough credit where credit is due as a general rule. A fault I know.

But in the dying moments of International Women’s Day I thought I could sneak this out.

I am endlessly grateful so I doff my hat to you all!

 

  • Melissa Highton – Twas bold to be first to host a university-wide Wiki residency. And Melissa has been never less than brilliantly supportive throughout.
  • Anne-Marie Scott* – “quietly sorting” maybe Anne-Marie’s superpower/kryptonite.
  • Lorna Campbell – Tumshie carving maybe Lorna’s superpower… among many others.
  • Charlie Farley – My brilliant (and award-winning!) Open Education team colleague.
  • Marshall Dozier
  • Nahad Gilbert
  • Jo Newman
  • Nicola Osborne
  • Jo Spiller
  • Donna Watson
  • Ruth Jenkins
  • Kirsty Lingstadt
  • Allison Littlejohn
  • Gill Hamilton
  • Clare Button
  • Leah McCabe
  • Susan Greig
  • Maren Deepwell
  • Viv Rolfe
  • Sheila MacNeill
  • Catherine Cronin
  • Maha Bali
  • Karoline Nanfeldt – Inspiring student!
  • Ally Crockford – the first Wikimedian in Residence in Scotland. Never forgotten.
  • Alice White – our wondrous Wellcome Library Wikimedian.
  • Jess Wade
  • Sara Thomas – the one and only.
  • Gillian Daly
  • Amy Burge
  • Susan Ross
  • Siobhan O’Connor
  • Sophie Nicholl
  • Rebecca O’Neill
  • Lesley Orr
  • Daria Cybulska
  • Lucy Crompton-Reid
  • Katherine Maher
  • Agnes Bruszik
  • Josie Fraser
  • Kara Johnston
  • Lorraine Spalding
  • Steph Hay
  • Jackie Aim
  • Karen Gregory
  • Melissa Terras
  • Jen Ross
  • Dorothy Miel
  • Marissa Wu
  • Charlotte Bosseaux
  • Hephzibah Israel
  • Polly Arnold
  • Jane Norman
  • Lydia Crow
  • Zoe Tupling
  • Penny Andrews
  • Karen Bowman
  • Lea Auregann.
  • Lydia Pintscher
  • Agomoni GanguliMitra
  • Celeste McLaughlin
  • Lauren Nixon
  • Mary Going.
  • Alice Doyle
  • Catherine Koppe
  • Laura Arnautovic
  • Lauren Johnston-Smith
  • Jemima John
  • Jenni Houston
  • Christina Hussell
  • Caroline Wallace
  • Cathy Abbott
  • Jenny Lauder
  • Rowena Stewart
  • Sara Mörtsell
  • Fiona Brown
  • Jessie Paterson
  • Victoria Dishon
  • Siobhan Leachman
  • Athina Frantzana
  • Caroline Kuhn
  • Mihaela Bodlovic
  • Naomi Appleton
  • Cinzia Pusceddu
  • Christine Sinclair
  • Sebnem Susam–Saraeva.

And many more besides that I have no doubt shamefully forgotten.

Consider my hat doffed.

She Persisted – Outcomes of ‘Bragging Writes’ Wikipedia event for International Women’s Day 2017

by Lafayette (Lafayette Ltd), half-plate film negative, 3 February 1928
Suffragist and journalist Helen Alexander Archdale. Pic by Lafayette (Lafayette Ltd), half-plate film negative, 3 February 1928

As part of Gather Festival 2017 and to mark International Women’s Day, on Wednesday 8th March 2017, the University’s Information Services team ran a Wikipedia edit-a-thon at the School of Informatics. Full Wikipedia editing training was given to attendees before the afternoon’s editathon focused on creating new articles about the many inspiring women missing from Wikipedia.

In November 2014, just over 15% of the English Wikipedia’s biographies were about women. Founded in July 2015, WikiProject Women in Red has brought the figure up to 16.83%, as of 29 January 2017. But that means, according to WHGI, only 242,601 of our 1,441,879 biographies are about women. Not impressed? “Content gender gap” is a form of systemic bias, and Women in Red events take place across the globe in order to address it in a positive way.

Screengrab of latest WHGI stats.
Screengrab of latest WHGI stats.

 

Mary Susan McIntosh (1936–2013) sociologist, feminist, political activist and campaigner for lesbian and gay rights in the UK.
Mary Susan McIntosh (1936–2013) sociologist, feminist, political activist and campaigner for lesbian and gay rights in the UK.

Outcomes – New pages created

  • Helen Alexander Archdale – (1876–1949) was a feminist, activist, and journalist. Helen took part in a WSPU demonstration in Edinburgh on the 9th of October 1909. Later that month she was arrested with Adela Pankhurst and Maud Joachim in Dundee and convicted of a breach of the peace after interrupting a meeting being held by the local MP, Winston Churchill. Following this on 20th October all three women went on hunger strike. All three were released after four days of imprisonment. In December 1911 Helen received a sentence of two months’ imprisonment for window-breaking at Whitehall.  Her daughter, Betty Archdale (1907-2000) remembered collecting stones for her mother to use, and visiting her in Holloway Prison. Helen was the secretary, and later international secretary, for the Six Point Group founded by Margaret Rhondda. The group’s specific aims were: (1) Satisfactory legislation on child assault; (2) Satisfactory legislation for the widowed mother; (3) Satisfactory legislation for the unmarried mother and her child; (4) Equal rights of guardianship for married parents; (5) Equal pay for teachers; (6) Equal opportunities for men and women in the civil service. In 1926 Helen and Margaret founded the Open Door Council with Chrystal Macmillan and Elizabeth Abbott in order to focus on economic emancipation. In 1927 Helen became active in international feminist activism, and began working in Geneva lobbying for an Equal Rights Treaty at the League of Nations in the early 1930s. She became secretary of the Liaison Committee of Women’s International Organisations, a coalition to promote equal rights, disarmament and women’s representation at the League. From 1929 to 1934 she chaired Equal Rights International, founded at The Hague ,an organisation dedicated to promoting campaigning for equality of women with men in law and in the workplace. Helen was also active in Open Door International, also founded in 1929, and a leading advocate of the equalitarian feminism.
  • Agnes Syme Macdonald (1882 – 1996) was a Scottish suffragette who served as the secretary of the Edinburgh branch of the WSPU before setting up the Edinburgh Women Citizens Association (WCA) in 1918[1]. She was WCA’s fist and longest-serving secretary. She campaigned on various social issues and was active in the Quaker relief work for European refugees (Society of Friends); the Barns School for delinquent city boys and the Edinburgh Old People’s Welfare Council.
  • Catherine Isabella Barmby – (1816/17 – 26 December 1853) was an utopian socialist and writer on women’s emancipation. She was the daughter of Bridstock Watkins and belonged to the lower-middle class. Little is known of her early life or education, however, her instruction allowed her to become a writer and lecturer. She wrote several articles for the Owenite socialist newspaper New Moral World on feminist demands and her Millennialist beliefs.
  • Ketaki Kushari Dyson – (nee Ketaki Kushari) is a Bengali-born poet, novelist, playwright, translator and critic, diaspora writer and scholar. Born (26 June 1940) and educated in Calcutta (Kolkata), she has lived most of her adult life near Oxford, U.K. She writes in Bengali and English, on topics as wide-ranging as Bengal, England, the various Diaspora, feminism and women’s issues, cultural assimilation, multiculturalism, gastronomy, social and political topics.
  • Mary Susan McIntosh (1936–2013) sociologist, feminist, political activist and campaigner for lesbian and gay rights in the UK. In 1960 Mary was deported from the USA for speaking out against the House Un-American Activities Committee. On her return to the UK Mary worked as a researcher for the Home Office from 1961 to 1963 before taking up the post of lecturer in Sociology at the University of Leicester from 1963 to 1968. Mary joined the University of Essex in 1975 as a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, she later became the first female head of the department and remained at the University until she retired in 1996. Throughout her career Mary taught a wide range of courses covering criminology, theory, sociology, social policy, the family, gender studies, feminism and Marxism.
  • Mira Hamermesh (15 July 1923 – 19 February 2012) was an independent Polish filmmaker and artist who made documentaries for British television. She was a student of painting at the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem and later moved to London to study at the Slade School of Art. Mira returned to Poland in 1960 to study at the polish film school where she began documenting her personal experience of fleeing Nazi occupied Germany as a Jewish teenager.
  • Mary Elizabeth Phillips (suffragette) (15 July 1880 – 21 June 1969) was a suffragette, feminist and socialist. Mary was the longest serving suffragette prisoner.
  • Mona Wilson (author) (29 May 1872 – 26 October 1954) was a British civil servant and author. After being appointed to the National Insurance Commission in 1911, she received a yearly salary of £1000, making her the highest-paid woman civil servant of the time and one of the first women to receive equal pay. She wrote several scholarly works after her retirement from the civil service in 1919, including The Life of William Blake (1927), which went through several reprintings and remained popular for several decades.
  • Maggie Keswick Jencks (10 October 1941- 8 July 1995[1]) was a writer, artist, garden designer and co-founder of Maggie’s Centres.
  • Kathleen Molyneux Mander (29th September 1915 − 2013) was a documentary film-maker. During the 1930s she joined the Communist Party and attended Left Book Club meetings. Her political leanings would later influence her filmmaking. In 1937 she was the first woman to join the film industry’s union, the Association of Cinematographic Technicians (ACT) (now BECTU). She had a column in the ACT journal, The Cine-Technician, until the 1950s, where she wrote union issues such as the need for equal pay and post-war job security. After the end of WW2 her membership of the Communist party made it more difficult for her to find work.
  • Emilia Vosnesenskaya – Vosnesenskaya taught Russian at the Joint Services School for Linguists. She became a naturalised British citizen on January 1st 1957 at which point she was an Assistant University Lecturer. She moved to the University of Edinburgh in 1956 and taught there until her retirement. She contributed to the BBC series Keep Up Your Russian, and associated grammar booklet, in 1960.
  • Kay Carmichael (née Rankin) born Shettleston, Glasgow on 22 November 1925. She was an influential character in Scottish politics and activist against nuclear submarines in Scotland. Studying at Edinburgh University she went on to hold the post of Senior Lecturer at Glasgow University. At the age of 20 she joined the Independent Labour Party in Scotland. Her activism included ‘guerrilla raids’ into Faslane Naval Base to plants flowers for which she was sentenced to two weeks in prison.
  • Şükûfe Nihal Başar – (1896 – 24 September 1973) was a Turkish educator, poet and activist who took part in the earliest women’s liberation movements during Turkey’s nation building process. Having graduated from the Geography department of the Literature Faculty of İstanbul Darülfünün in 1919, she holds the title of “the first woman graduate of Darülfünun”. Whilst she worked as a literature tutor for many years in Istanbul High School for girls, she took active role in various women’s associations and wrote columns in journals and newspapers about women’s rights. In her short stories and novels, she highligts the female female characters, trying to be the voice for “the new woman” of the early republican era.
  • Elizabeth Burns (poet) – (1957-2015) was a poet and creative writing teacher. She was born on 17 December 1957, in Wisbech, Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire. Her mother Muriel (Hayward) was from Bristol and her father, David Grieve Burns from Kirkcaldy.
  • Lucrezia Buti (Florence, 1435 – sixteenth century) was an Italian nun, and later the lover of the painter Fra Filippo Lippi. She is believed to be the model for several of Lippi’s madonnas.
Women in Red - articles that are red-linked on Wikipedia are ones awaiting creation. Only 16.85% of biographies on Wikipedia are about notable women.
Women in Red – articles that are red-linked on Wikipedia are ones awaiting creation. Only 16.85% of biographies on Wikipedia are about notable women.
We Can Edit
We Can Edit

A Storify of the day can be found here.

Reflections on March’s editathons: Art & Feminism & International Women’s Day

Stall in main Library for promoting Art+Feminism editathon
Stall in main Library for promoting Art+Feminism editathon

I went on holiday to Skye at the end of March so forgive my tardiness in relating how March’s Art & Feminism Wikipedia editathons went.

March saw Wikipedia editathon events for Women’s History Month which coincided with a number of other International Women’s Day events in Edinburgh & around the world as part of Wikipedia’s Women in Red project on Saturday 5th March and International Women’s Day on the 8th of March.

WikiProject Women in Red’s objective is to turn “redlinks” into blue ones within the project scope. The project scope includes women -real and fictional- their biographies and their works, broadly construed. From their webpage:

Did you know that only 16.08% of the English Wikipedia’s biographies are about women? Not impressed? “Content gender gap” is a form of systemic bias, and Women in Red addresses it in a positive way. We do this by hosting edit-a-thons on various topics, and socializing the scope and objective via social media. We invite you to participate whenever you wish. There is no requirement to participate in everything we do, or to even sign up. If the objective and scope of our project interest you, please join in the discussion on our talkpage or jump in and create articles. You might like to start by participating in this April’s editathon on Women Writers. We warmly welcome you.

However, the focus of Wikiproject Women in Red for March was Women in Art as part of a worldwide series of events themed on Art & Feminism. Happily, out of the 45 female artists featured in the National Galleries of Scotland’s Modern Scottish Women exhibition (which is on until June and well worth a visit) almost all are now recognised with a Wikipedia article (which certainly wasn’t the case when the exhibition opened in January) through the efforts of Sara Thomas and the Wiki editors who attended the three editathons we staged on this theme. The final six articles were worked on by our editors in the library and remotely on International Women’s Day itself with just one still awaiting completion.*

As mentioned earlier, if you would like to learn more about working with Wikipedia and find out how easy it is to edit using the new Visual Editor interface (which makes it more akin to utilising Microsoft Word or WordPress blogs these days) then I am running training sessions at the Main Library and the Edinburgh College of Art on 26th and 28th April (bookable through Event Booking).

You can also keep up with the residency at the Wikipedia Project Page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:University_of_Edinburgh

Or via Twitter: @emcandre

Sara Thomas - Wikimedian at Museums & Galleries Scotland leading the Art & Feminism event at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Sara Thomas – Wikimedian at Museums & Galleries Scotland leading the Art & Feminism event at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

 

Art & Feminism Editathon at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery – 5th March 2016

Editors hard at work for the Art & Feminism editathon at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on 5th March 2016

Content created

6 new articles created:

  1. Stansmore Dean Stevenson
  2. Anne Finlay
  3. Helen Biggar
  4. Gwynneth Holt
  5. Bet Low
  6. Josephine Haswell Miller

8 articles improved:

  1. Isabel Brodie Babianska
  2. Mary Nicol Neill Armour
  3. Pat Douthwaite
  4. Cecile Walton
  5. Helen Paxton Brown
  6. Philip Connard
  7. Glasgow School
  8. Académie Colarossi

International Women’s Day Editathon at the University Library – 8th March 2016

IMG_20160308_142522373_HDR
Wiki editors hard at work for the International Women’s Day editathon on 8th March 2016.

Outcomes

Articles created

Articles improved

Other outcomes

Two new users trained in how to edit Wikipedia. Only one red-linked women artist remains from the 45 artists identified in the ongoing collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland for the exhibition ‘Modern Scottish Women’: Ivy Gardner Proudfoot.  Increased links with other Art+Feminism editathon organisers including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Wikimedian in Residence for Gender Equity at West Virginia University, Kelly Doyle.

The report on the successful editathon at the University of Pittsburgh, 4 months in the planning resulting in collaborations with Google Women and a full house of 80 participants, is included here: Report on Art & Feminism editathon at Pitt.

Art+Feminism Wikipedia editathon – Saturday 5th March

In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors identify as female while only 15% of the English Wikipedia’s biographies are about women. As a result, content is skewed by the lack of female participation.

About our next event

Following the successful editathon held at Modern One to mark the opening of the exhibition Modern Scottish Women, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is holding a follow-up Wikipedia Edit-a-thon during Women’s History Month as part of the Art+Feminism series. This event will coincide with other International Women’s Day events happening elsewhere in Edinburgh that day and will carry on where the last Modern Scottish Women editathon left off; creating and improving articles relating to those women featured in the exhibition.

Modern Scottish Women is an exhibition of work by Scottish women artists and concentrates on painters and sculptors. It covers the period from 1885, when Fra Newbery became Director of Glasgow School of Art, until 1965, the year of Anne Redpath’s death.

All you need to bring is a laptop as wifi will be provided. But you can also have a look at the notable artists listed below to see if there is someone there you may wish to work on:

Hit list of articles to be created or improved

Articles to be created

Articles to be improved

** The work of those artists marked with a double asterisk has now passed into the public domain.

Come along if you can make it, the more the merrier. New editors are very welcome and full training will be given. With Visual Editor, it really is now as easy as using MS Word or WordPress.

The event signup is here: Art&Feminism Wikipedia editathon

Hopefully see you there!

We Can Edit
We Can Edit

Reflecting on the History of Medicine editathon – The Outcome

After 5 Wikipedia editing sessions over 3 days with some terrific guest speakers, our Wiki editors helped to upload over 500 images, created 12 brand new Wiki pages and improved 63 articles with 249 edits.

Anatomical gingerbread
Anatomical gingerbread

I would encourage everyone to have a look over the work that was created last week (Creating an Open Body of Knowledge editathon) as there are now some astonishingly interesting additions to Wikipedia which just simply weren’t there before….

Including:

  • A new article on Norman Dott – the first holder of the Chair of Neurological Surgery at the University of Edinburgh.
  • Our digital curator’s one man ‘Citation Hunt’ crusade to plug those pesky ‘citation needed’ labels in articles.
  • Improved article on Robert Battey – an American physician who is known for pioneering a surgical procedure then called Battey’s Operation and now termed radical oophorectomy (or removal of a woman’s ovaries)
  • Noteworthy work (because she’s on a banknote) doubling (if not trebling) the article on Mary Fairfax Somerville – a Scottish science writer and polymath, at a time when women’s participation in science was discouraged. As well as editing articles on Isabel Thorne, Matilda Chaplin Ayrton and the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service.
  • A new ‘Controversy’ section added on the intriguing case of James Miranda Barry.
  • A really helpful mapping tool of the buildings to be photographed: https://mapalist.com/map/573668
  • Our historian of medicine worked on The Brunonian system of medicine article – a theory of medicine which regards and treats disorders as caused by defective or excessive excitation.
  • A brand new article on Leith Hospital – illustrated with pictures the new editor took themselves and uploaded to Wikicommons.
  • Articles on Frances Helen Simson (a Scottish suffragist) and The Edinburgh Royal Maternity and Simpson Maternity Hospital Pavilion. Ably added to by work on Lady Tweedale.
  • Work on Emily Bovell’s article and a brand new article on the New Zealand Army Nursing Service page which came into being in early 1915, when the Army Council in London accepted the New Zealand government’s offer of nurses to help in the war effort during the First World War.
  • Improved articles on ‘Fabry disease’ – a rare genetic lysosomal storage disease – and on ‘Alport Syndrome’ – a genetic disorder affecting around 1 in 5,000 children, characterized by glomerulonephritis, end-stage kidney disease, and hearing loss
  • Improvement work on Frances Hoggan – the first British woman to receive a doctorate in medicine from a university in Europe, and the first female doctor to be registered in Wales.
  • And much much more besides…. including work expanding on The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh’s page on Chinese Wikipedia!
Burke and Hare myths debunked
Burke and Hare myths debunked at the History of Medicine editathon.

The fully illustrated (pics & tweets) story of the History of Medicine editathon can be found on our Storify page so please feel free to take a look: The History of Medicine editathon for ILW 2016

Happily, our editors’ efforts have now been rewarded with a nomination at the Innovative Learning Week 2016 awards. Out of nearly 300 ILW events, the award category we are shortlisted in states:

Best Impact – Innovation doesn’t just happen in a week and these event organisers know it.  They used the festival to support an idea which will have a great deal of impact outside of the classroom and for months – maybe even years! – to come.”

Our next Wikipedia editathon event will be for Women’s History Month and will coincide with a number of other International Women’s Day events in Edinburgh on Saturday 5th March. Feel free to sign up as new editors are very welcome and full training will be given. The event details are here: Art+Feminism Wikipedia Editathon for Women’s History Month

Thanks so much to everyone involved our last one for the History of Medicine for being a part of it.  If you’ve still got something lurking in your sandbox, go on & be bold and publish it!