I travelled to Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes for the 2022 annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP).
As a hybrid event (also available to on-line delegates on Zoom) not only could delegates meet in person, but those with access issues as well as our international membership (over 20%) could ‘conference’ too. This brought extra meaning to our theme this year Editing in a diverse world which focused on the diversity aspect of editorial work.
The conference page of the CIEP website says:
The CIEP conference is held in September every year. The conference provides a range of interesting, relevant and stimulating workshops and seminars, as well as plenty of opportunities for networking with other delegates.
My sixth conference was certainly this. It provided great company with fellow editorial colleagues, learning in the form of continuous professional development (CPD), and laughing … so much laughing!
I arrived on the Saturday afternoon to join the pre-conference tour to The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) next to Bletchley Park. According to its website, it is home to the world’s largest collection of working historic computers. A mind-blowing selection from the very first to the very modern … and everything in between. To see Colossus in action was truly impressive.
Katherine May – author
The conference began with an impressive first speaker. Katherine May wrote The Electricity of Every Living thing about her experience of finding out she was autistic at the age of 39. She explained how she decides whether to tell people she meets … It depends. It can cause unnecessary angst and stress, which was sad to hear. An inspiring talk about someone adapting their life to cope with being neurodiverse.
My conference session choices
I chose which sessions to attend based on my career needs at this present time.
The sessions I chose
- Live Proofreading
- Creating accessible PDFs: Discoveries, pain points and practical steps
- Websites that win clients: How to create or update your online home
- Using referencing tools
- What to expect when working with educational materials.
It was interesting to be in the Live Proofreading session to proofread real manuscripts and discuss what should be corrected or queried. We discussed using ‘pre-flight’ tools, or tools we use to clean up text in Microsoft Word (the industry standard) before the real scrutiny of the text begins. Tools such as PerfectIt and macros. One shortcut I’d not come across before – Shift F3 – is a quick fix for capitalising and uncapping letters.
Creating accessible PDFs: Discoveries, pain points and practical steps
We learnt of features to let all have equal access to PDFs. Factors to bear in mind were structure and navigation of PDFs, including alt text on images, recording using voice recognition, colour contrast on images and websites, reading order and correct linking of website hyperlinks. The majority of my work is in PDF format. It helps if styles are formatted correctly before the document is converted to a PDF.
Websites that win clients: How to create or update your online home
My website (proofnow.co.uk) has been searchable since I built it over five years. I rebranded three years ago to update my branding image. Clients do find me so I know my website works and is seen. I’ve even written a couple of blog posts about how to make sure your website works for you.
However, I felt it was time to modernise it as I direct publishers towards Proofnow, my shop window, to show my availability for proofreading projects.
The session reminded me of the impact my website must make and how I can influence that impact. For example, declutter by reducing word count, use quality images, design call to action (CTA) buttons with branding colours instead of using hyperlinks, and … make best use of space. Tweaking my website will be my first business priority after conference.
Using referencing tools
Having carried out proofreading for students in the past, being reminded about referencing tools and software to increase speed in finding errors and inconsistencies was very useful. I was reminded of Word formatting tools and software for reference completeness and correctness.
What to expect when working with educational materials
As a former teacher, I was aware of all the elements that make up the material for educational packages for schools and colleges. From student books to pedagogy CPD, not forgetting the cultural considerations of … PARSNIPS. Two of my specialisms are Education and ELT so my second business priority is to investigate opportunities for freelance proofreading in these areas.
Gala dinner and guest speaker
The food at the conference was delicious and in plenty. The gala dinner 3-course meal was exceptional and was rounded off by a speech by Rev Richard Coles of BBC fame. He was entertaining, as you’d expect, and he giggled with glee after telling each anecdote. He preferred not to talk about his first novel Murder Before Evensong with editors in the room.
Spare time after conference will be spent catching up with recordings of the sessions running concurrently.
That’s the huge benefit of a hybrid conference: all sessions are available after conference has ended! My thanks to all the conference team, the speakers, and especially to Ben Dare and his assistants for handling the visual and audio technology, including relaying the comments and questions from the online delegates to the in-person room. Watching them in action was awesome.
My main takeaways
My background for context: my proofreading clients are educational publishers, English Language Teaching (ELT) publishers, children’s book publishers, and self-publishing authors of children’s books. I also proofread non-fiction for adults, such as business books.
This conference has added to my learning and awareness that we should be sensitive in our use of language in areas of diversity.
I chose sessions that will benefit me and my clients at this point in my freelance business. Working with me will give my clients publishing confidence. Being a CIEP member means that I am a safe pair of hands.
Attending the annual conference reminds me that I’m proud to be part of a collaborative community who learns and laughs together. Conversations with edibuddies, both established and new (especially recent career-changers), are always valuable.
Next year we meet in Glasgow – the home of my birth. Tall Tartan hopes to see you there. And, yes, someone did greet me this year with, “It’s Tall Tartan!” So my branding is working.
For my previous conference blog posts, follow these links: 2021 (online), no 2020 blog post, 2019 (Birmingham), and my first blog post about the second conference I attended in 2018 in Lancaster: Why SfEP conference is cool
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