ACTipedia is a collaborative action research project that aims to counterbalance the relative invisibility and lack of content on Wikipedia about current critical ageing studies in both French and English. As a generator of public discourses and a key reference for a variety of individuals seeking information on any topic, Wikipedia has a major role to play in the dissemination of knowledge. As a free collaborative Internet encyclopaedia, it allows for anyone to make changes to any article, following a specific set of rules. Our project involves producing an inventory of existing articles, revisions to be made, and new articles to create in the field of ageing studies. Our initial inventory quickly revealed the hegemony of a particular purview on age and ageing from a health-related point of view. Missing was a more robust critical ageing studies point of view on the intersections between age, culture and communications. Building from the gaps identified, we create new articles and revise existing ones in order to shift the discourse. We document the editing process and the problems we encounter, such as the confrontation to specific guidelines and policies. Through this action research project, we use our own experience to study how we can change the organization of knowledge and contest hegemonic discourses on ageing through digital media.

Le projet ACTipedia mobilise des chercheuses spécialistes du vieillissement afin de contrebalancer l’invisibilité, sur l’encyclopédie numérique Wikipédia, de plusieurs travaux actuels sur les enjeux touchant les personnes âgées. Cette encyclopédie collective, que chacun peut modifier en suivant certaines règles d’admissibilité, est un important générateur de discours et agit comme référence incontournable auprès de publics variés. Ce projet de recherche-action implique de dresser l’inventaire des articles existants à propos du vieillissement, possédant leur propre page sur ce site, d’y apporter des révisions et de créer de nouveaux articles, à la fois en français et en anglais. Notre inventaire a mis en lumière les principaux discours répandus sur Wikipédia à propos du vieillissement : les processus biologiques et les enjeux de santé priment, alors qu’il n’y a(vait) pratiquement pas de contenu sur les aspects culturels et communicationnels. Depuis le début du projet, nous documentons nos interventions et les problèmes rencontrés. Notre expérience nous permet de comprendre comment il est possible de changer, dans une certaine mesure, l’organisation du savoir en contestant les discours hégémoniques sur le vieillissement à travers les médias numériques.

This video focusses on strategies for editing Wikipedia for scholars working in cultural and critical studies. Its purpose is to help others benefit from ACT’s experience in editing content related to ageing in Wikipedia. We encountered a number of problems along the way and the video explains our approach to work around these problems.

Ageing & Intervention in Wikipedia

The Montreal ACTipedia team hosted two workshops with the aim of: (1) widening the scope of the discourses circulating in Wikipedia about ageing, in many languages, and (2) discussing how this media enables practices of representation and forms of exclusion. The workshops were a success. People from Canada, Austria, and Finland combined their knowledge of both ageing studies and Wikipedia editing. They led to vivid discussions about the politics of Wikipedia, the differences between languages, and to many additions to the list of entries created and modified by ACT. New additions include entries in English, German, Portuguese, and Russian. Examples of the newly created pages include ‘Kathleen Woodward’, ‘Estudo de Envelhecimento’ (‘Ageing studies’ in Portuguese) and ‘Leisure’.

Workshop 1: February 8


  • From the Center for Inter-American Studies (Austria): Roberta Maierhofer, Ulla Kriebernegg, Barbara
  • Ratzenböck and two other guests of the center.
  • From ACT-Montreal (Canada): Kelly Leonard, Mary-Jane Kwok-Choon, Shannon Hebbletwaithe, Kim Sawchuk, Maude Gauthier.

Workshop 2: February 26


  • From the University of Toronto (Canada): Andrea Charise and height of her fouth-year students.
  • From ACT-Montreal (Canada): Kim Sawchuk, Maude Gauthier.
  • From the University of Eastern Finland (Finland): Helmi Järviluoma-Mäkelä.

ACT Researchers:
Maude Gauthier, Concordia University
Kim Sawchuk, Concordia University

ACT Collaborators:
Line Grenier, Université de Montréal
Fannie Valois-Nadeau, Concordia University
Ros Jennings, University of Gloucestershire

Research Assistant:
Myriam Durocher

Shannon Hebblethwaite (Professor, Concordia University), Kelly Leonard, Mary-Jane Kwok-Choon (étudiantes de Montréal ACT Montreal-based students), Andrea Charise (Professor, University of Toronto), Jacikka Premakumar, Carolina Mainardi, Gladys Marfo, Marcela Costa & Laura Ye (students, University of Toronto), Barbara Ratzenböck, Roberta Maierhofer, Ulla Kriebernegg and Maureen Goggin (from the C.IAS in Graz), Barbara Marshall (Professor, Trent University), students who participanted in the WAM Summer School 2015 (Hannah Grist, Kate Latham, Linda Hess, Elena Fronk, Eva Krainitzki, Ieva Stončikaitè, Caroline Coyle, Ioana Schiau & Maricel Oro Piqueras), Antonia Hernández (design), Véro Leduc (dessins), and ACFAS (for the initial information session).

ACT Partners:
Concordia University
Université de Montréal
University of Gloucestershire
Centre for Women Ageing Media (WAM)

ACT Area:
Critical Mediations


Project updates

‘Not notable enough’: Kim Sawchuk’s lecture at GUSEGG

Kim Sawchuk on digital ageism, discursive action research, and the case of Wikipedia. Watch the video of her lecture held at the Graz International Summer School Seggau 2015

Perpetuating exclusion in Wikipedia

Wikipedia has become an indispensable source of online information for students and researchers because of its ease of use as well as its reputation as a user-generated encyclopaedia of shared knowledge. But is it? Our research suggests a much more complicated and twisted tale. Wikipedia is a space of negotiation, contestation and struggles over inclusion and exclusion into “encyclopedic” knowledge.

Article on ACTipedia by Concordia University News

Concordia University News has published an article asking "Does…

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