Dear Ed …

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dearedDear Ed …

What was the take-home message from the Perth IPEd Conference? If you could let all of us stay-at-home eastern-staters know, that would be great (and keep us safe from Jetstar).


Hi Loretta

Well, thanks. I haven't even had time to unpack my head yet. Ultimately, I had me a real good time. Apologies for the slight shift in vernacular, but I've got an ancient Faces song stuck in my lughole and it won't go away. There were so many highlights, I don't know where to start. So, given this is being done on company time (I'm stealing it from myself, but don't tell the ATO or they'll whack GST on it), I'll restrict myself to two highlights.

Highlight #1 The conversations

Keynote speakers might inspire (and they do) and they might stimulate thought (and they certainly did), but the real value for me came out of the sessions run by editors, and through talking to other editors. Actually, I think 90 per cent of the benefit of the conference was talking to other editors. I had conversations about everything: hourly rates, outsourcing, over-prescriptive styling of documents, work-life balance, how the need for exercise increases the less time you have for it, work hours, whether editors will become redundant (consensus: the definition might, but the skills won't), Ed's theory of why Broome has such great craft artists, what to include as billable time, and more.

Highlight #2 The program

Did I mention there was a program? It wasn't just me buttonholing people in a large empty conference space until they ran away to wipe the spittle off their faces. The program was up and running quickly, and I think that's what brought so many editors to Perth. The sessions were sometimes tangential to what was promised. However, this is a conference perennial; you go in expecting a rectangle, but get given a rhombus and three triangles. Sometimes the triangles are more interesting and get you considering issues you never thought of (or about) before.

There was a lot I'd never thought of or about before. (You're probably surprised by that admission, given the perspicacity and deep thought in clear evidence to the contrary in these columns.) Chief among these issues was why I keep ignoring that rope ladder that goes up through the hole in the ceiling to tomorrow, aka THE FUTURE.

Some of the sessions were delivered by people who were actually in THE FUTURE, but still deigned to talk to us lesser mortals stuck in the present, albeit via codes and sigils. When I've deciphered the notes I carved onto a rock, I might even share them with you. Or not, depending on how guarded I am about what I find when I stick my head through the hole in the ceiling. As keynote speaker Nury Vittachi put it: Today is under construction.

Happy trails,