For the past year, LCC has been working with Wikimedia UK to help support the research and writing skills of students and staff and to expand the narrow base of Wikipedia editors. In November 2020, this led to the establishment of the Decolonising Wikipedia Network by LCC Changemakers and their manager, Lucy Panesar.
DWN supports students and staff to become Wikipedia editors and creators in order to increase the visibility and credibility of under-represented and marginalised figures and topics connected to teaching and research in our subject disciplines. It has held extra-curricula editathons and workshops for students and staff, and has also been embedded into units on MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography and BA Media Communications. DWN members have shared examples of their own decolonial edits in Wikipedia, some of which can be found on the DWN Examples page.
This year, with the support of Knowledge Exchange Impact Funding, Lucy collaborated with LCC student and fellow DWN member, Lydia Wilks, to make editorial interventions to the Wikipedia page of the 1911 Festival of Empire. This was an elaborate British Empire marketing event that took place in London’s Crystal Palace Park, yet it left no physical trace and is not very well documented or analysed. Lucy and Lydia’s Wikipedia edit has made a start at expanding the documentation and decolonial critique of this event online.
On the strength of her work with DWN, Lucy has just had a proposal accepted to be seconded to Wikimedia UK on Fridays through the 2021-22 academic year, with the explicit aims of expanding DWN across UAL in order to address the representation of London’s colonial histories and legacies on Wikipedia. This will create the opportunity for historical events like the 1911 Festival of Empire to be further examined and more widely disseminated via Wikipedia.
As part of this, Lucy will be looking to embed DWN into curricula where possible across UAL courses, and to enable staff and students to work in collaboration with each other and with local community organisations, to deepen and expand our understanding of British imperial history and its lasting legacies. To find out more, contact Lucy on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lucy Panesar, June 2021