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

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In this issue of Gatherings, IPEd introduces a new section in which we will profile an IPEd office bearer. Launching the section, we start with IPEd’s new chair Ruth Davies.

Photo: Ruth Davies AE
Photo credit: Ruth Davies

Q. When and why did you join IPEd? 

A. I first joined the Society of Editors NT back in 2005, when I was living in Alice Springs. I remember being on an email list with Christine Atkinson, now President of Editors Queensland. Once I moved to Brisbane, I joined the Society of Editors Queensland in 2008 and, apart from a lapse around 2010, I’ve been a member ever since. 

Q. What is your current and past involvement with IPEd?

A. I only became an active member in 2012 when I started freelancing, and then I started attending a few meetings. I first joined the committee in 2015 as the (then) Society of Editors Queensland web admin and at the end of the year took on being the convenor of the conference committee. In 2016 I took over from Kerry Davies as President of (now) Editors Queensland and had a fairly busy period with IPEd right up to the 8th IPEd Editors Conference in September and then went to live in the Netherlands (again) for two years. By then, though, I had a conference report to write and a proceedings to organise and had stayed on as vice-president of EdQld, and IPEd itself was much more online, so I was active from the other side of the world. Now we’re back again and hoping to stay put for a while. 

 Q. What does IPEd mean to you? 

A. IPEd is a way for me to connect with other editors and feel part of a profession in a broader industry. 

Q. Why are you prepared to volunteer your own time to IPEd?

A. I first joined my branch committee because I’m collaborative by nature and this gives me a vehicle for that in an otherwise fairly solitary professional life. But it’s more than the collegiate atmosphere – it’s the informal professional development I get from being able to see other editors in action. After a while I realised that being involved puts me in the group of people who have positive attitudes and see opportunities, which is what has kept me volunteering. 
Q. What is your current job? 
A. I do freelance editing, mostly on research reports for universities and other research bodies. These are often about climate change or agricultural projects in Africa or evaluations of government programs in remote Australia.

Q. Some background on your career path – what led you to editing?

A. Like many of us, I was the person people came to with their questions about commas and grammar. When I needed to leave my linguistics job for a while, due to family reasons, I decided to start getting editing work and get qualified. I already had grad. dips. in education and linguistics, and I decided to do UQ’s Writing, Editing and Publishing grad. dip., which I finished in 2008. 

Q. If you were not an editor, what would you do?

A. I’d be back in linguistics, probably trying to use corpora to improve communication between people on different sides of political fences. We have just got to beat the bots and come back towards the middle. 

Q. Do you have any pets?

A. We have a cat called Murphy. He’s crazy. He tried to jump up on a high window the other day, one that doesn’t have a sill. I told him it wasn’t a good idea, but he ignored me and leapt anyway. He was hanging on to this thin ledge by his front paws, dangling against the wall, and I lurched forwards to save him, when he turned his little head to me and his expression said, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this completely under control.” I caught him as he fell and he sauntered off like … well, like a cat. 

Q. What else would you like to share with your fellow members?

A. I’ve learned a lot about my profession by volunteering with IPEd, and there are many areas where members can contribute and learn something new. It’s been a privilege for me to do what I’ve done so far, and I look forward to continuing to serve IPEd’s members as the Chair of the Board. 

Ruth can be contacted at chair@iped-editors.org.

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