Submissions:2019/GLAM/Black Face: Strategies for missing images from art biographies and the ethics of WikiCommons

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2019.


Black Face: Strategies for missing images from art biographies and the ethics of WikiCommons


Inclusion and Diversity

Type of session:



We estimate less than 15% of articles about Black visual artists have images. As a project, Black Lunch Table (BLT) project creates a space to encourage people of color and women to join the Wikimedia movement while also creating spaces for all editors to focus on gaps in coverage on Wikimedia. We mobilize the creation and improvement of a specific set of Wikimedia documents that pertain to the lives and works of Black artists. Outside of Wikipedia, the project creates an online searchable oral history archive focused on filling gaps in art historical records.

Over the past year, Black Lunch Table has hosted pop-up portrait studios in an effort to make WikiCommons more equitable. Through this initiative, we invite professional photographers to take portraits of artists for WikiCommons.

How do we fill the gap in WikiCommons and visualize all human knowledge without repeating systematic bias and turning it into the racist coverage of an old National Geographic magazine?

For this presentation/workshop, we would like to share the work that we are doing for WikiCommons as a user group focused on the visibility of black artists as well as the politics of images, especially as it relates to open access licenses, copyright and authorship issues, and global post-colonial issues. The discussion will also relate to the ethics of archives/museum holdings, audio recording, documentary photography, photo contests, social media, and crowdsourcing.

The second half of this presentation will include an open problem-solving charrette-style workshop where the audience is invited to strategize together for a more equitable WikiCommons.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Heather Hart, Jina Valentine, eliza myrie

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

Black Lunch Table Wikimedians

Estimated time:

60 minutes would be ideal, but 45 minutes would suffice

Preferred room size:

Room: Any type of room with projector and wall space,

Special requests:

Audience: 15-50, no prior knowledge necessary

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:


If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)