Wikipedia and History was the theme of the Making Public Histories seminar held at the Old Treasury Building, Melbourne on Tuesday 12 June 2018. Pru Mitchell chaired a panel of researchers whose work on making public histories includes Wikipedia.
Dr Mary Tomsic, The University of Melbourne spoke to the topic that Who writes public history matters, and why they write, matters. Dr Tomsic discussed the motivation and goals of the university’s ResearcHERs Wikipedia edit-a-thon and ongoing editing community of practice focussed on social and cultural diversity. Her message was that: "As people who care about history we have an obligation to be active in the well-used popular public space of Wikipedia."
Justine Clarke is a co-founder of Parlour; women, equity, architecture. She spoke about how the Parlour team took on Wikipedia in their advocacy work on women, equity and architecture in Australia. Their WikiD project has made major contributions including their set of Wikipedia editing guides and the 70 (and growing) articles on Australian women architects categorised at Category:Women_architects_by_nationality.
Associate Professor Murray Phillips from The University Queensland reported on the digital research project, Creating Histories of the Australian Paralympic Movement which uses Wikipedia as a platform.
The presentation celebrated the 987 Wikipedia articles have been created as part of this project, and outlined how Wikipedia is employed as a part of a larger, integrated history making venture. While the project demonstrates our capacity to bring together individuals, institutions and promote an understanding of diversity through disability, he acknowledged that the cultural practices of Wikipedia raise some challenges for historians.
Following the presentations there was a sustained discussion between panellists and the audience, which was made up of both experienced local Wikipedian community members and public historians.
GLAM Peak workshops wrap up
The final two GLAM Peak regional Digital Access to Collections workshops were held in June.