Editing the sustainable fashion Wikipedia page brought together nine signatories of the Union of Concerned Researchers’ manifesto on Tuesday 26th February. Four from Europe were able to communicate through a chat room, and the five New Yorkers saw each other in the flesh. There was laughter as well as many conversations about how to go about editing. Barely anyone had any experience of editing a Wiki and the page was in need of a good clear out, restructure and edit. Walking the line between being respectful of the work of previous contributors and creating a page that is up to date, coherent and accurate is a tricky one to balance. The task felt overwhelming initially, so starting with small baby steps seemed to be the way to begin.
Once we got used to the system, it became easier to see where we might contribute and we got stuck in. There is still a lot of work to do. The cultural concerns section remains empty and there are some sections that need to be re-ordered for the page make sense. There are other sections that will probably need adding, and others need updating. For example, the separate page on “Sustainable clothing” adds to the general confusion and needs to be merged somehow with the “Sustainable fashion” one. And not least, not only does the English page need more global perspectives and voices on sustainable fashion, but as we worked we also noticed that the pages in non-English languages could be improved. We would encourage and support initiatives on editing these pages too.
Nevertheless, it was an exhilarating experience at times, adding knowledge-led analysis and citations into what for many is the primary source of information about the field. Not only that, but doing it as a collective effort, connecting with other Union signatories along the way, felt very rewarding. Having a task to complete together helped strengthened our bonds and commitment to bringing the UCRF manifesto alive. We are in the process of planning the next Wiki editathon…
Liz Parker & Otto von Busch