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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Editors with disabilities: equality, empathy, excellence and resilience, with Jeni Lewington
by Lee Ellwood

Jeni Lewington’s presentation to the Editors Queensland May Zoom meeting was like Jeni herself: inspirational, honest, practical, funny and skilful.

Jeni is a skilled and experienced freelance editor and was an active member of the organising committee for the 2017 IPEd national conference in Brisbane. She also lives with disabilities that leave her largely unable to speak or to move quickly. 

Jeni had been accepted to deliver her paper to the (now-cancelled) Editors Canada conference in Montreal this year and had offered to present at a Queensland member meeting as well. About 35 people joined the Zoom to hear Jeni, using PowerPoint and her @Voice Aloud Reader speaking app, share her journey from working in anthropology via information management to running a successful editing business. 

First, Jeni outlined her medical and personal background and her early career paths before describing how and why she switched to editing and how she operates her editing business. Jeni then presented her findings from her survey of editors with disabilities, which had drawn responses from around the world.

To illustrate just how much she has had to adjust over the years, Jeni showed us photos and videos of her on active university outings and anthropology field trips in Western Australia, abseiling, climbing the 60-metre high Gloucester Tree and travelling in Europe. Changing direction, she studied and worked in library and information studies, but over time her medical circumstances increasingly limited her ability to continue in that capacity. Ever adaptable, Jeni decided to retrain as an editor and completed a Graduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing.

Jeni has successfully run her generalist editing business, The Editing Edge, since 2014. She has been a mentee, a mentor, a conference organiser and the Training Officer for Editors Queensland. She still travels and drives, and in 2016 she wrote and published a book about filming locations used in the TV show A Place to Call Home.

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