View from Across the Border

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Society member Diane Brown returned to South Australia in early December 2011 after living and working in Melbourne for 15 years. She faces new challenges there, and has been busy setting up face-to-face meetings to expand her client base, while retaining my Victorian clients and existing services.

Here, she provides us with her account of attending her first meeting of the SA society and a brief report on the South Australian workshop to review the Standards (ASEP).

Many Victorian members will be aware that I returned to South Australia in early December 2011 after living and working in Melbourne for 15 years. I face new challenges here, and I've been busy setting up face-to-face meetings to expand my client base, while retaining my Victorian clients and existing services.

One of the first steps was to make contact with the Society of Editors (SA). I was warmly welcomed by Pamela Ball HLM and Loene Doube AE and initially invited to take part in the SA Standards Revision workshop. Kerry Davies AE, who facilitated these workshops nationwide, reported to IPEd. But what I want to do here is share my thoughts with Victorian members about attending my first SA society meeting and my impressions on returning to South Australia.

On Sunday 12 February I travelled to the workshop venue with Loene Doube. It was nice to discover she too lived in the Adelaide Hills. The instant recognition was mutual, and we realised we had met a few years earlier at the National Editors Conference in Adelaide in 2009.

The workshop took place at the South Australian Writers' Centre (SAWC), where the SA society meets every two months. I was the first salaried publicist to the SAWC in 1992 and was subsequently involved in the move to the new premises in the historic Malcolm Reid building in Rundle Street East in the Adelaide CBD. So I felt 'at home' at the society's workshop in February.

Twelve members attended the SA Standards Revision workshop. As we settled in for what would be a long but productive day, Rosemary Luke AE remarked how times had changed. What had prompted her remark was the sight of no less than 10 laptops set up on the meeting table, so notes could be taken and proceedings accurately recorded.

The workshop opened with a frank and fearless introduction from Kathie Stove DE about how the Standards were originally formulated and what had happened since, which in my view set the tone for the open discussion that followed.

I met some interesting, diverse and energetic editors, all committed to the task at hand. Probably the hardest part of the day was to keep the group energy moving and focused. Particular qualities were brought to the table. I'd like to mention four. First, the ability to listen carefully, with respect, and offer accurate feedback. Second, to think outside the square, take risks and offer new ways of working. Third, to have the courage and confidence to lead in ways that I believe are inclusive, productive and time-saving, and ultimately shape direction and outcomes. And finally, having a member of the original CASE Standards Working Group (1998-2001) present to provide valuable background.

Re-establishing my working life here right now feels a bit like climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. Adelaide, however, beckons. In February/March the city was buzzing as WOMAdelaide kicked off in Botanic Park, the Festival Fringe staged its opening parade through the city streets and the Adelaide Festival, including Adelaide Writers' Week in the Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden, followed.

As I reflect on my time in Victoria and my commitment to the Victorian society, I look forward, with much anticipation, to my professional working life evolving and growing in South Australia and contributing to the SA society, alongside some extraordinary editing colleagues.

Diane Brown