In 1965, which just makes me a member of "Generation X".
After finishing high school in Newcastle (Australia), I moved to Sydney
to do a B.A. (Hons) in English Literature. It was a rather varied degree:
in addition to English, it included one year of Computer Science, two
years of Mathematics, and four different Law subjects.
After a few years away from uni, I returned to part-time study, completing
a Diploma in Arts (Philosophy), followed by three work related courses:
Graduate Diploma in Computer Based Learning, Master of Education (Computers
in Education) and Master of Multimedia Design.
I ended up coming full circle, and completing
a Master of Letters (M.Litt.) in English Literature.
I am an Instructional Designer, specialising in elearning.
This was a job I didn't even know existed when I finished my undergraduate
degree. My first post-uni job was with the Commonwealth Bank as part
of their graduate program. After I had been with them for a few years,
I saw a position for "Computer Based Training Courseware Development
Officers" on the jobs circular. It sounded interesting, so I applied
- and nobody was more surprised than I when I won the position.
I stayed in this area for nearly eight years, weathering a number of
minor and major restructures, and picking up a couple of promotions
along the way, as well as doing some work-related part-time study. Ultimately,
however, I took a voluntary redundancy package, and then obtained a
contract position with Optus as eLearning Instructional Designer.
This contract position was initially for three months, but I ended up staying there for nearly nine years. After my contract was terminated, I did a couple of months casual work as an Instructional Designer for an elearning development company called Savv-e.
Early this year (2009) I obtained a permanent role with Cambridge University Press as Education Instructional Designer. This role draws on my e-learning and instructional design background, but puts it in a whole different area. I am now involved in managing the development of online and other digital materials for Primary and Secondary school. For the first time in years, I am not part of an internal support centre (i.e. Human Resources) but instead the work I do has a direct impact on the company's bottom line. I am also finding working in the publishing industry a fascinating experience.
In addition to my day job, I do a little bit of outside
work under my business name of White
Gauntlet Design (though not too much at the moment, as I am still settling into my new role with Cambridge University Press).
I have always been a reader. For me, saying "I don't have time
to read" would be like saying "I don't have time to eat".
I generally read fiction, rather than non-fiction. My main interests
are 19th century women writers (e.g. Jane Austen, the Brontes, Elizabeth
Gaskell), detective stories (e.g. Dorothy L. Sayers, Dick Francis),
fantasy/science fiction (e.g. Lois McMaster Bujold, George R.R. Martin)
and children's/young adult books (e.g. Antonia Forest, John Marsden).
My favourite book in the world is Persuasion, by Jane Austen.
I go to films fairly regularly - mostly mainstream, with the occasional
art-house. I also have a Sydney Theatre Company subscription, and go
to the occasional other production. My favourite film is Casablanca,
followed by The Princess Bride and Monty Python and the
Holy Grail. My favourite play is Twelfth Night (Shakespeare),
and I also love Much Ado About Nothing (also Shakespeare) and
The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde).
In 1985, when I was in my second year of university, I discovered that
the Women's Sports Association offered a Fencing for Beginners class.
Although I considered myself hopelessly unathletic, I though it looked
like fun, so I enrolled. And I have been doing it ever since. There
are three fencing weapons - foil, epee and sabre. At the time I started,
women were not allowed to fence sabre, and women's epee had only just
been introduced. I started out with foil, and wasn't attracted by epee.
Then a friend of mine wanted to fence sabre, and convinced the NSW Fencing
Association to run Women's Sabre competitions. I entered the competitions
to ensure there were sufficient competitors for them to take place,
and about a year later I gave up foil in favour of sabre. A few years
after this, Women's Sabre was added to the Australian National Competition
circuit, and in the late 1990s it was recognised by the international
fencing federation. By being in it from the beginning, I therefore had
the good luck to be able to represent both my state and my country in
national and international competitions. Having turned 40 a few years ago, I am now eligible to compete in Veteran competitions, which has opened up a whole new area to me: most recently, I was at the Commonwealth Veteran Fencing Championships in Jersey (July 2009).
Since 2008, my partner (Michael) and I have been competing in Classic Rally events. This is not the kind of rallying that involves driving very fast along dirt roads - they are navigational rallies, normally done in classic cars, along public roads. Michael does the driving, and I do the navigating (much the more challenging role!) In spite of occasionally getting very lost, we are enjoying it, and have seen parts of country NSW that we didn't previously know existed.
I live in a block of
flats, and had never intended to own a cat, as I believe cats
should not be kept indoors all the time. However, one day a tiny
kitten wandered into the back yard. She did not appear to have
an owner, and the RSPCA said that they would probably have to
put her down. I decided that an indoor life would be better for
her than no life at all, and so I named her Artemis and kept her.