5 Sue Bennett remembers her first conference
I saw it as an opportunity to go and find out and debate the contention. I mean, it was a brilliant title ‘A Gentleman’s Profession’ question mark. And I went along to find out, what did people feel about that? Did they think it was? And if they thought it was, what could we do about it?
So there was a sense of a sort of collective challenge to ourselves. As well as to the world of publishing. We were challenging the status quo. And we were challenging something that was very long established. Think of Gutenberg in 1450s, you know it had been around as something that men did for a tremendously long time. And so there was a sense that we were wanting to break the mould and break into being professionals and not just the servants.
And how did the Conference help with that?
Well, like a lot of these things, it’s a sort of sense of we’re all in this together. I’m not alone. Wow, I’m not alone. I hadn’t thought about that. You know, and actually because there were these different sessions it felt more and more exciting as the day went on. And the noise level went up ‘cos people were talking to each other and, and, you know, sharing experiences so the format of putting people into small groups and talking and sharing experiences was really powerful.
There’d be somebody who was leading the discussion – this has been my experience – or maybe two people – this has been our experiences, blah, blah blah blah, blah, what do you think, what have your experiences been? So, well, you know, it was for me, for a lot of women, it was a turning point.