Tag: Scottish suffragettes

Women and Wikipedia….Open Learning and a hobby for life!

This post is the seventh in a series of blog posts for Open Education Week.

By Karen Bowman, University of Edinburgh

Public Domain Image, Wikimedia Commons

I am Karen, a member of the University of Edinburgh administrative staff. I spotted a new open learning experience for staff and students in Creative Learning Week 2018 with ‘no experience needed’ – Wikipedia edit-a-thon for Vote100 centenary anniversary of (some) women’s right to vote [1].

To my amazement, I found that I could quickly:

  • create Wikipedia articles in a fun, educational and empowering afternoon,
  • learn from great teachers, with cakes and coffee on hand,
  • be part of a community of (mainly) women making a difference [2],
  • access a range of research, references, materials to hand, discussions and sharing.

Wikimedians Ewan McAndrew from the University and Alice White from Wellcome Library made it all so easy!

Now with a bit of an ‘addiction’ to editing Wikipedia (for women, especially for the amazingly brave suffragettes), I have been known to

  • wear ‘We can edit’ T-shirt, sport a ‘Deeds not Words’ sticker on the laptop,
  • meet, share ideas with Wikimedian Roger, co-founder of ‘Women In Red‘,
  • repeat the ‘refresher’ training, but never feel inadequate in my skills,
  • find constant support as a volunteer and aware of joining a global effort,
  • listen to a University archivist sharing the history of our University,
  • see an original letter to Christabel Pankhurst in prison, from one of University of Edinburgh’s few female students,
  • read the handwritten register of the University Womens’ Education Group from an era when ‘we’ could study but couldn’t graduate [3].

A joyful open learning community is truly collegial and uplifting, and even has cute messages of support.

== A cupcake for you! ==Many thanks for coming to our International Women’s Day editathon today, Karen.

 

Vote 100 Editathon, CC BY, Karen Bowman

A hobby for life

Processions Karen & Suzanne, CC BY SA, Kaybeesquared, Wikimedia Commons

Now I am proud to tell family and friends of my new (though limited) editing skills, made so easy in VisualEdit and with great Wikimedians there to help!

So I re-joined the University Library and local City Library to track down secondary sources to cite on our suffragists and suffragettes[4][5], joined events on the topic and was part of the Processions 2018 artwork with thousands of women acknowledging the success and the suffering and sheer persistence of notable (and less known) women who led the way and as a result now have my own picture in Wikimedia Commons, and a hobby for life!

Open Learning from history

Open Learning[6] has helped me enjoy learning from the past and creating materials again to acknowledge the women who made it possible for me to march, to have a political voice, complete graduate education, and have a long, varied and satisfying professional life.

Thanks to Open Learning and Ewan McAndrew, University of Edinburgh Wikimedian in Residence – Inspiring Women!

Wikimedia Partnership of the Year, CC BY SA, Stinglehammer, Wikimedia Commons

References

^ “Vote 100 home”. University of Edinburgh Vote 100 homepage.

^ Leonard, Victoria (12 December 2018). “Female scholars are marginalised on Wikipedia because it’s written by men”. The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2019.

^ “Bodleian Oxford University re First Woman Graduate”.

^ Rosen, Andrew (1974). Rise Up, Women!. Routledge & Kegan Paul.

^ Atkinson, Diane (2018). Rise Up Women: the fascinating lives of the suffragettes. ISBN 9781408844045.

6 ^ “Centre for Open Learning at The University of Edinburgh”.

About the author

Karen Bowman is Joint Director of Procurement at the University of Edinburgh, FCIPS, now part-retired. A former NHS Scotland procurement leader and hospice pain research nurse, she started and led the University staff/student Fair Trade steering group and was awarded the Principal’s Medal for outstanding service in 2011. She has continued to learn throughout her life including with Dame Cecily Saunders, OM, DBE; with Harriet Lamb CBE and since joining in Open Learning events and with ‘Women in Red’ is now starting to wiki-edit (a little).

Celebrating 100 years of Votes for Women

A photograph of the Great Procession and Women’s Demonstration in Edinburgh in 1909. The image shows crowds of people congregated together to watch the procession. Many of those marching are carrying large banners. There is a brass band marching in front of the banner procession. There are also horses and carts that are carrying men and women. The photograph also shows a long view of Princes Street, which emphasises the amount of people who turned out for the demonstration. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons – kindly shared by Edinburgh Central Library’s Capital Collections.

To celebrate 100 years since the Representation of the People Act (1918) gave some women the vote, we held three #Vote100 Wikipedia editing events.

34 brand new biography articles have now surfaced on Wikipedia about Scotland’s suffragettes and the Eagle House suffragettes, along with 220 improved pages and items of data so people can discover all about their lives and contributions.

Wikipedia editathon for Processions 2018 at the University of Edinburgh Library. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons
Students and staff creating new Wikipedia pages about Scottish suffragettes at Processions 2018. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons.

 

“Annie’s Arboretum” at Eagle House

Eagle House (suffragette’s rest) became an important refuge for suffragettes who had been released from Holloway prison after hunger strikes. Many major people from the suffragette movement were invited to stay at Eagle house and to plant a tree to celebrate a prison sentence — at least 47 trees were planted between April 1909 and July 1911, including by Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst, Annie Kenney, Charlotte Despard, Millicent Fawcett and Lady Lytton.

Read more in the Histropedia timeline (external website).

Suffragettes Annie Kenney, Mary Blathwayt and Emmeline Pankhurst, Eagle House, Batheaston 1910. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Scottish suffragettes

New Wikipedia pages have been created about: Maude Edwards slashing the portrait of King George V at the Royal Scottish Academy and her defiance at trial; the force-feeding of Frances Gordon and Arabella Scott at Perth Prison by the doctor who was “emotionally hooked” to Arabella Scott and offered to escort her to Canada; the attempted arson conducted by pioneer doctor Dorothea Chalmers Smith; the Aberdonian suffragette & organiser, Caroline Phillips, being sacked by telegram by Christabel Pankhurst; and the “energetic little woman from Stranraer” Jane Taylour who was a firebrand lecturer on Women’s Suffrage touring up and down Scotland and England.

Read more in the Histropedia timeline (external website).

Bessie Watson – suffragette aged 9 years old.
In 1909, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) staged a march through Edinburgh to demonstrate “what women have done and can and will do”. Bessie Watson had played the bagpipes from an early age and at the age of nine she was asked to join the WSPU march and play the pipes. The march had a big impact on Bessie and she became involved in the suffragette movement. This involved playing the pipes outside the Calton Gaol to raise the spirits of incarcerated suffragettes. Playing the pipes led Bessie to do remarkable things and she became one of the first Girl Guides in Edinburgh and was seen by the King. The Capital Collections exhibition includes images of Bessie and the 1909 march as well as pictures of Calton Gaol. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons. Kindly shared by Edinburgh Central Library’s Capital Collections.