STOP PRESS. We have been successful in our funding bid with Architexx (New York) and Eleanor Chapman and Anna Schmalen with n-ails (Berlin) to develop an education and advocacy program to encourage more Wikipedia entries on women in architecture. More details soon.

Wikipedia writing party in Melbourne, hosted by Sibling. Photograph Alysia Bennett.

Wikipedia writing party in Melbourne, hosted by Sibling. Photograph Alysia Bennett.

The Australian Wikipedia writing parties on March 8 were a great success, with twenty new entries from Australia. We provide an overview of work to date and plans for the future.

The wikiD: Women. Wikipedia. Design initiative on International Women’s Day 2015 saw groups convene internationally to write Wikipedia entries for women involved in architecture and the built environment. Australia was an active participant, with writing parties in Sydney and Melbourne.

The day was a great success (despite coinciding with a holiday long weekend in parts of Australia). Many people participated, most of whom were first-time Wikipedia contributors. The international effort is summarised through storify by Sarah Rafson (including good coverage of Australian activity) and in the article “Why Women Architects Need Wikipedia” by Lori Brown and Sarah Rafson on Oculus.

The writing parties meant that we could learn how to navigate the system together (using the great resources provided by Architexx). In Melbourne, Alysia Bennett was a particular powerhouse of knowledge and technical assistance. In the weeks that followed she played an important role in troubleshooting, responding to queries about notability or relevance. We quickly learnt that writing an entry is just the beginning – the next phase involves responding to flagged items and adding further citations and clarification to ensure that entries remain live. The Parlour spreadsheet now includes an update of work required on some entries.

Activity from the day
  • Twenty new entries on women in Australian architecture to date.
  • Corrections and additions made to existing entries (including removing Nonda Katsalidis from the list of women architects!)
  • Ten existing entries found that were not linked to the Women in Architecture list. These have now been listed, bringing the current total to forty.
  • Two further entries were added but later deleted by other Wikipedia editors. These are noted in the spreadsheet to be redone with further detail and citations.
  • A number of other entries have been flagged by Wikipedia editors as requiring further citations or other work.
Next steps

Parlour has teamed up with Architexx and n-ails in Berlin (at the instigation of Berlin-based, Australian architect Eleanor Chapman) to submit funding proposal to develop an international education and advocacy program that will enable more women and men to write Wikipedia articles on women in architecture and the built environment.

We plan to keep the momentum going with further events and resources – stay tuned!

RMIT has also picked up the baton, with students using the Parlour spreadsheets to identify subjects for new entries.


Tile photograph credit: Tania Davidge.