Thursday, 17 December 2020 12:00

Professional development and networking at the CIEP conference

Written by Claire Bacon and Kate Sotejeff-Wilson

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In November of this year, the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), formerly the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, held their annual conference online. SENSE members Claire Bacon and Kate Sotejeff-Wilson gave us their take on the conference.

Claire Bacon:

I’ve been a CIEP member for a few years and really enjoyed the 2019 conference. Like SENSE, the CIEP is filled with friendly and talented editors who are happy to share their wisdom, so I was thrilled to hear that this year’s conference was going ahead despite the pandemic and that I would have the opportunity to learn from my peers.

A highlight for me were the networking sessions; it was nice to have the chance to mingle and talk to people and add a few more academic editors to my network. I also enjoyed CIEP chair Hugh Jackson’s opening address. It has been a tough year for many of us, and Hugh’s heartening talk of the spirit and resilience of the editing community was a virtual hug.

The talks were not disappointing. In the first session, experienced editors Laura Poole, Erin Brenner, Amy Schneider, Sarah Grey and Lori Paximadis talked about the various ways their professional support group (called ‘The Quad’) supports them in their editing careers. Advice, accountability, emotional support, and knowledge sharing (or ‘brain back up’, as Sarah put it!) were among the many advantages of being part of such a group. They recommend setting up a group with people who have similar experience; that way, everyone benefits equally, and one person doesn’t get stuck being the mentor.

CIEP marketing officer Denise Cowle revealed brilliant interviewing skills in a conversation with lexicographer Susie Dent. We learned some interesting new words (like ‘Quarantini’, which is a cocktail made from whatever alcohol you have in the cupboard and ‘hufflebuffs’, which are comfy clothes you wear at home – something we editors are very familiar with!) and Susie told us about her horror when the wrong version of latest book Word Perfect was sent to the printer.

Our very own Marieke Krijnen gave a version of her SENSE2020 talk, sharing her tips on taking care of your mental health and physical wellbeing, something which is more important now than ever! Finding motivation online to do exercise (Marieke and I are both members of the CIEP Run On Editors group) and apps to help you avoid distractions while working were some of the many helpful tips that Marieke shared.

Although the CIEP did a wonderful job of bringing their conference online, I very much hope that we are able to meet in person again next year. Here’s hoping!

Kate Sotejeff-Wilson:

This was not only the CIEP’s first online conference, but my first CIEP conference ever. The best bit, as ever, was talking to colleagues and there were lots of opportunities to do this in the mornings, networking in small breakout rooms. I even got a request to edit an article for publication in an Australian journal!

The technical training on offer was varied in breadth and depth. Paul Beverley gave a session on macros for book editing and Karen Cox gave a useful session on macros for beginners. Daniel Heuman explained how to use house styles in PerfectIt in a more advanced way, including adding logos to your styles so your organisation or client can see that you created the style for them (see for more ideas).

My favourite session was given by Fraser Dallachy, who explained the Historical Thesaurus of English. It was originally published on paper in 2009, after decades of work, and its online edition was launched just a few weeks ago. You can access it via the Oxford English Dictionary. Designed for the study of semantics – the history of ideas in words – the thesaurus is used by history writers to check for anachronisms (did you know that the word ‘cauliflower’ was first recorded in 1597?) and speculative fiction writers to choose unusual words (eg, a steampunk writer might use some early terms for electricity). The data is organised into tiers, starting with the world, mind and society (apparently Aristotle’s categories) and you can visualise it in all sorts of wonderful ways.

Of course, an online event is never the same as an in-person one, but the CIEP made this work by creating plenty of opportunities to meet and learn at different levels and with different people. I’m already looking forward to the next conference!

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