ObeliskArt History Projects

Representation on Wikipedia

— a high-stakes, real-world project

Representation on Wikipedia, , Art History Projects

Objectives

NL-ENG.K-12.11: Participate in society
NL-ENG.K-12.7: Evaluate data
NL-ENG.K-12.8: Develop research skills
NA-VA.9-12.4: Understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

1. Choose and research an artist

Despite often valid criticism, Wikipedia is one of the most commonly used platforms for research and learning in the world. And since Wikipedia’s pages are crowdsourced, the power to share accurate, comprehensive information with the world is in your hands. For this project you will choose an under-documented artist and contribute one accurate piece of information to their Wikipedia page.

First, find an artist from history with a Wikipedia entry that is lacking in detail. Entries for non-western artists, and female artists in particular are often lacking detail. Look for Wikipedia entries that are very short, contain very little biographical information, lack links to the artist’s most influential artworks, or has a “this article needs to be expanded” message across the top of the page.

Research the artist. Any information you plan to add to their entry must come from a reputable source, meaning a website or publication by a museum or academic institution, a well-researched book, or, ideally, material by the artist themselves—for older artists this is often letters or manifestos, and more recent artists may have been interviewed.

2. Edit the artist’s Wikipedia page

  • First, create a Wikipedia editor account. There’s an easy-to-use guide here.
  • Go into Wikipedia’s edit mode, and insert your information in the most relevant location within their entry. For example, if you discover information about where the artist when to school, add it to the section about their early life.
  • Cite your source. Wikipedia is heavily moderated, and if you don't properly cite your information, your addition may be flagged for removal by the administrators.

Congratulations! You've added to the world’s most accessible library of knowledge about art history!

Reed Enger, "Representation on Wikipedia, a high-stakes, real-world project," in Obelisk Art History, Published February 01, 2020; last modified February 03, 2020, http://arthistoryproject.com/projects/representation-on-wikipedia/.

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