05 October 2012

A meeting of minds

This week saw Clearly Stated attend TCUK in Newcastle. Alison was presenting whilst I was there to soak in my first conference in the profession. I've been looking forward to it for a while (see “Here come old flat top”) and was not disappointed. It was a good conference, so good in fact that it is quite a challenge to write a good review without using the slang of my youth – it was ‘wicked’.

Highlights of the conference for me included meeting David Farbey, who is one of the tutors on the Sheffield Hallam MATC and – as I discovered this last week – an ace conference chair with a good sense of humour. The trepidation I felt at stepping back into post-graduate study quickly evaporated, and I’m getting really excited at continuing to push myself as a technical author. There were also a variety of thought-provoking presentations including one on the no-man’s land between intuitive devices and technical documentation.

Even more important than the presentations (in my humble opinion) was the presence of so many other technical communicators with differing and complementary backgrounds that spurred discussions about DITA, explanations of XML, and wrangling about Word - not to mention banter about body text. I’ve come away from the conference with the feeling that even though technical communicators may sometimes work in solitude, we are part of a fun supportive community that really cares about the profession.

What this all boils down to is the heart-felt recommendation that if you’re a technical communicator and you’re serious about your profession, you should be booking in to TCUK 2013 as soon as it’s announced (or even better, participating and becoming one of the wonderful speakers the rest of us get to enjoy).


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