I am very excited to share the fact that I was recently elected to be one of three Events Coordinators for the IATEFL Materials Writing Special Interest Group (MaWSIG for short.) This is a volunteer position alongside my day job but one which I’m incredibly excited to get stuck into.
As stated on the website, MaWSIG ‘shares and promotes best practice among authors and materials writers, encourages new authors and disseminates information regarding professional writing opportunities among members’. It’s a professional organisation for teachers, ELT authors and editors alike, and therefore one with links very nicely with my current job in digital ELT publishing.
I first became aware of MaWSIG last year when I was teaching English in Berlin. Through some lucky accidental contacts, I got involved with ELTABB, the Berlin associate of IATEFL. I then became ELTABB’s Social Media Coordinator which led to me getting involved with the Association’s events for the year.
Coming from a publishing background and ‘doing the ELT thing a bit backwards,’ to quote a Berlin friend, I had the idea for a networking/’Meetup’ event entitled ‘What’s hot and what’s not in ELT publishing?’ to offer ELTABB members a chance to network with a mixture of people from the ELT publishing world: publishers and both experienced and new materials writers. Due to its focus on publishing and materials writing, this became a collaboration with MaWSIG and therefore an official ‘MaWSIG Meetup,’ for which we liaised closely with the MaWSIG events team. I’ve been following the SIG closely ever since, attending the conference day in February and the Pre-Conference Event at IATEFL and enjoying both greatly. (For my write-up of our Berlin MeetUp, you can read this post on my old blog Berlingo and for my write up of the conference day earlier this year, there is a post on this blog. Finally, for a brilliant write-up of the IATEFL Pre-Conference Event, you can read this post and all consecutive posts from the same day on Lizzie Pinard’s blog.)
Mentioning Lizzie leads me nicely onto mentioning who else I’ll be working with on the new MaWSIG mini Events team. There was previously an Events Coordinator, the unstoppable Sophie O’Rourke, and two Deputies – Karen Richardson and Kirsten Holt. Kirsten has stepped down from the committee, so myself and Lizzie Pinard are the two new Events Coordinators to join the committee, to help Karen organise the SIG’s upcoming events. Sophie will sadly also be stepping down later this month, but I’m so glad we have a short handover period so she can pass on some of her wisdom from her three year term! You can see the rest of the lovely Committee, as well as a photo of my ugly mug here.
I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into the events planned for this year, which you can see on the MaWSIG blog here. I have to admit, the one I am most excited about is the fact that there will be a MaWSIG strand at the Business English Special Interest Group (BESIG) conference in November this year. This is partly because I used to teach a lot of Business English, and now work on some of the Business English titles I used to use in my day job at OUP, but admittedly, mainly because the conference is due to take place in Munich, which is of course in my favourite country for anyone who has ever met me!
I’d just like to finish my post by saying thanks to Dale Coulter for helping me out with my application, to Karen White for planting the seed in my head, and of course to Sophie O’Rourke for her invaluable information as I debated whether to apply or not! I hope I can do a good job to follow in your footsteps 🙂
I participated in my first MaWSIG Committee Skype meeting a few weeks ago, but then I missed a few due to my holiday, so I’m looking forward to getting back into it today. I also l look forward to seeing you at a MaWSIG event soon! Perhaps this one in London on June 30th, in fact?
Finally, if you’re interested in materials development, ELT publishing, ELT editing, or any mixture of these, then please do go and take a look at the MaWSIG Facebook page, as well as the @mawsig handle on Twitter. If you need any further convincing, there are some great testimonies about the SIG under the #WhyMaWSIG hashtag on Twitter.
Happy materials writing!