The Decolonising Wikipedia Network was first established at LCC in November 2020 and between then and July 2021 over 65 LCC students and staff signed up as members and made 115 edits to Wikipedia pages. The Decolonising Wikipedia Network supports students and staff to edit Wikipedia through the lenses of anti-racism and decolonisation. This includes (but is not limited to) increasing the visibility and credibility of under-represented and marginalised figures and topics connected to our subject disciplines on Wikipedia. From October 2021 the network will open to all students and staff of University of the Arts London. Read more below…
Decolonisation is not a metaphor or synonym for diversity and inclusion work (read Tuck and Yang, 2012); it is about equity, justice and reparation for people whose lives and life chances have been and continue to be negatively affected by colonisation. Under British colonial rule, entire communities and nations suffered the loss or oppression of traditional knowledge and ways of knowing (aka epistemicide).
To this day, the white western elite dominates global understanding of what and how to know, whilst the ways of knowing of those colonised, their ancestors and diaspora, continues to be oppressed, marginalised, othered and exoticized. And even knowledge production systems that are intended to be democratic and inclusive still maintain practices which can exclude and marginalise, for example through the credibility criteria of academic writing and notability criteria of Wikipedia.
Work to decolonise university curricula and collections has highlighted that it’s not just a matter of including more diverse authors on reading lists, but a matter of diversifying knowledge production itself, to allow for different knowledge and different ways of knowing to be visible and valued. Through 2020-2021 LCC Changemakers and academic Lucy Panesar worked with Richard Nevell from Wikimedia Education and Alex Duncan from Art+Feminism to develop skills and confidence in LCC students and staff to play an active role in decolonising knowledge production and increasing the visibility and credibility of under-represented figures connected to our subject disciplines.
Building on a LCC Wikipedia Editathon in May-June 2020, the network supports students and staff to edit and create Wikipedia entries through a decolonial lens at a scale and pace that suits them, supporting them to make anything from a small intervention to an existing Wikipedia page in a day, to a writing one new Wikipedia page over a month.
Sign up now!
From October 2021, UAL staff and students can sign up to the Decolonising Wikipedia Network by completing this short online form. If you would like more information, contact Lucy Panesar on email@example.com