IPEd Editors Conference

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

IPEd Strategic Plan

IPEd Strategic Plan July 2020 to June 2023.

Branch Events

The branches of IPEd host workshops, seminars, member meetings and other events that are open to all IPEd members and non-members. Information and booking details are listed on the Events page of this website.

Profile: NSW Branch President Robert Rowe

In this issue of Gatherings, we profile NSW Branch President Robert Rowe.

When and why did you join IPEd?
In late 2014, having just moved to Sydney, with years of experience writing and editing scientific, health, and technical articles and reports throughout my career, I decided it would be good to work as a freelance academic editor and writer.

In the distant historical past when no-hesitation, in-person meeting was the norm, an online search turned up the NSW Society of Editors, so I attended a member meeting as a guest. The people I met were friendly and welcoming, and clearly knew a lot about editing. I realised membership would be valuable and joined as a professional member in the first half of 2015, which also gave me an instant social group.

What is your current and past involvement with IPEd?
When members of the NSW Society of Editors were asked to vote on joining IPEd, I thought it was an excellent idea to be part of the wider body. Having got to know some NSW branch committee members quite well through social events, such as branch lunches and dinners, when they suggested I join the committee as Professional Development Coordinator last year, I was happy to work with such a good group. Through this role, I found myself becoming a member of the IPEd Standing Committee for Professional Development and gained a better appreciation of how much IPEd does to support and further the editing profession.

What does IPEd mean to you?
Every profession needs a representative body. IPEd is an important professional organisation providing support to editors, including professional development opportunities and, of particular importance for freelancers, connection to a community. 

Why are you prepared to volunteer your own time to IPEd?
I’ve benefited from membership of the NSW Society of Editors, and more recently Editors NSW (a branch of IPEd) and am happy to give some time to help support IPEd’s continued work for the profession.

What is your current job?
Freelance academic editor.

What does your role entail? 
Mainly editing academic articles and higher-degree theses, and some scientific/health writing. 
Robert Rowe at the Grand Canyon.
[Photo credit: Robert Rowe]
Some background on your career path – what led you to editing?
Across two different millennia, I’ve worked in research centres and laboratories, both in universities and industry. I started in the UK as an analytical chemist and in that role, along with writing my honours thesis, began my journey in scientific writing and editing. I then completed a DPhil (PhD) in organometallic chemistry, during which I helped a Spanish-speaking friend with writing his thesis in English and had my first taste of editing a journal article, under the guidance of an excellent supervisor. Furnished with that DPhil, I came to Australia as a research fellow in chemistry at Monash University, with further writing and editing of journal articles and reporting to the funding body.

Following that, I worked in chemistry/materials research and later with interactive media research, with the continued need to write and edit different document types, including research articles, confidential reports and research proposals. Branching out again, I completed a Bachelor of Health Science degree and worked for nutritional supplement/herbal medicine companies researching and writing on the evidence for their products and writing and editing product technical sheets, web copy and other documents. Before moving from Melbourne to Sydney, I spent a few years in Tasmania, where I worked in augmented/virtual reality research in the Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Tasmania, again writing and editing academic articles, reports and research proposals, and a range of business and government-related documents.

If you were not an editor, what would you do?
I haven’t given it any thought.

What do you do in your spare time?
Spend time with my wife and our dogs, read fiction and non-fiction, watch movies, and cycle (although not much recently, but I intend to get back to cycling).

What sports do you enjoy watching and/or playing?
I played football (sometimes referred to as soccer) for many years and still enjoy watching it. I also enjoy watching tennis and the Tour de France. I’ve never cycled competitively but have particularly enjoyed multi-day cycle touring, which I’ve experienced in Gippsland in Victoria, the Margaret River region and Tasmania.

What's your favourite holiday destination? Why?
Venice, for the Biennale of Art — and because it’s Venice. Also India.

Describe your family members:
My wife is an artist, my son is not.

Do you have any pets?
Two dogs: a whippet and a whippet cross.

Who do you admire most and why?
The Dalai Lama, who is an incredible inspiration, and Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein, who both see through our society’s predominant narratives to what is actually happening and write about critically important issues.

What would you never give up?
Tea! Especially those from Assam and Darjeeling.

What are your favourite books/movies?
I always struggle to find a single favourite thing such as a single book. I love science fiction that explores issues, although not exclusively sci-fi. When I was young, I enjoyed Dune by Frank Herbert. I also like the complex sci-fi novels of Iain M Banks and Peter F Hamilton. A more recent author whose sci-fi I particularly enjoyed is Ann Leckie; her Imperial Radch series is an outstanding exploration of unusual ideas. Another book that strongly impressed me is C J Cherryh’s Foreigner, which delves deeply into the experience of alienness. 

Examples of some other fiction I’ve enjoyed are The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and a non-fiction work that I think is very important is This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein.

As for movies, so many. Perhaps my favourite sci-fi movie is Bladerunner. I also enjoy comedy, and Monty Python’s Life of Brian is a standout for me. A rather random list of other movies I enjoyed is, in no particular order: The Usual Suspects, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Long Good Friday, Chocolat, The Madness of King George, Pan's Labyrinth, Volver and Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse (available with a library membership through kanopy.com).

What’s something very few people know about you?
My first motorbike was a Francis Barnett Plover 150 cc.

Your scariest moment?
In 1983, while travelling in India, I was in the front passenger seat of a bus to Kashmir. The heavily moustachioed driver misjudged our speed entering one of the many hairpin bends on the climb to the pass, which would ultimately allow us down into the Kashmir Valley. As he frantically hauled on the steering wheel, I was looking down at the seemingly tiny river and many rocks at the bottom of the very deep ravine to our left below, and thought, ‘I’m about to die’.

What else would you like to share with your fellow IPEd members?
I follow Chelsea FC in the English Premier League.

Find an editor

IPEd has established the Editors Directory. Clients can search the directory for freelance editors using specific criteria. These will identify editors that have specific interests, skills or experience in certain areas.