IPEd Editors Conference

The 10th IPEd Editors Conference will be hosted online on Monday 28 June 2021 to Wednesday 30 June 2021.

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The idea was sparked by Robin Appleton, then visiting editor-in-residence at a WA university – Western Australia needs a society of editors! The call was eagerly taken up by a small group of like-minded people, and in 1992 the Society of Editors (WA) was born.

Five people made up the inaugural committee of the Society of Editors (WA) (SoEWA) in January 1993 and set the course for the future. They were Edwina Davies Ward (Chairperson), Glynis Traill-Nash (Secretary), Ray Forma (Treasurer and Membership Secretary), and Nicola Rycroft and Terry Richards (Newsletter and Information). The first general meeting of the society was held in April 1993, and the inaugural issue of our newsletter, Book Worm – as Bookworm was styled back then – appeared in May. Tellingly, it featured an article that argued persuasively for a national body of editors, glimpsing a future that lay ahead.

In those early days, regular meetings were held in the rooms of the Secondary School Science Teachers Association in Osborne park. Among the members who joined in that first year were Christine Nagel, Amanda Nolan, Helen Bradbury, Greg Brotherson, Kaye Caporn, Betty Durston, Amanda Curtin, Susan Green, Irene Ham-Sauman, James Hansen, Kate Hooper, Nicholai Knuppe, Suzanna Norton, Leo van den Plas, Elizabeth Tuettemann, Allan Watson, Richard Hartzell, Rosanne Dingli, John Smith, Alex Forbes, Beth Leslie, Dennis Haskell and Rob Finlayson. By the end of 1993, SoEWA ranks had already swelled to 40, and these founder members all worked towards shaping the early years of the society.

Our organisation grew and thrived through the years, promoting the interests and professional development of editors in our state and beyond. In 1997, SoEWA was the first body of editors in Australia to establish its own website. Bryce Moore, who had also set up the group’s email service the year before, was responsible for its development. In 1998, Alex George was instrumental in arranging a meeting in Melbourne to form the Council of Australian Societies of Editors (CASE), which resulted in the landmark, groundbreaking publication The Australian Standards for Editing Practice. The formation of CASE helped move us one step closer to the vision of a national body that had been espoused in our very first issue of Bookworm in 1993. The year 2000 came and saw the incorporation of the SoEWA. In March 2002, Betty Durston had the honour of being appointed the society’s first-ever Honorary Life Member, and in August that same year, the society celebrated its 10th anniversary.

In 2008, the dream held aloft in the first issue of Bookworm came to fruition: CASE was transformed into the Institute of Professional Editors, thus making the aspired-for national body a reality. Yet, it didn’t stop there. On 1 July 2016, SoEWA members took the majority decision to transition to direct membership of IPEd as a restructured national organisation, and we became Editors WA, Western Australian branch of IPEd, as we are known today. The new IPEd is governed by an updated constitution and guided by policy documents, while Editors WA itself is run by its own committee elected by its state members according to the constitution of IPEd.

Our journey thus far has seen the spark that was ignited in 1992 become far more than we could have foreseen at the time. Today, in 2021, we boast around 100 WA members, including professional, associate and student members, as well as a renewed boost of activities and drive. Editors WA carries on in the spirit of SoEWA, advancing our mission to represent, support and provide development opportunities for editors, proofreaders and others in the publishing and communications industries. The spark has taken us from being a small local society here in Western Australia to being part of an organisation that now spans all of Australia and New Zealand, and our love of all things language continues to inspire us for the future.


Acknowledgements: Many thanks to members and affiliates who provided the material from which this information is sourced: Rob Finlayson, Anne Surma, Robin Appleton and Glynis Traill-Nash, speeches given at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Society of Editors (WA) in December 2002, reproduced in the February 2003 issue of Bookworm; James Hanson, Anne Surma and Amanda Curtin, speeches held at the 21st anniversary of SoEWA in 2013, provided by the authors themselves. Catherine Schwerin, 2021.

Bookworm archives

The former Society of Editors WA regularly published the newsletter Bookworm and continued this in its early days as Editors WA, a branch of IPEd. This newsletter has since been replaced by Gatherings, which is jointly produced by all IPEd branches. You can still view the content of Bookworm archived here.

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