Plenary Speakers and Panels
Dr. Neil James
Dr. Neil James
What's in a name? The future for plain language in a converging communications profession.
Dr Neil James is the Executive Director of the Plain English Foundation in Australia, which combines plain English training, editing and auditing with a campaign for more ethical public language, and PLAIN Vice-President.
What’s in a name? Plenty if you go by the many titles that communication practitioners use.Our disciplines range from plain English, clear language and technical communication to usability, business communication and information design. Yet like Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, are the differences really as significant as our names suggest? This plenary will start by exploring how communication became so fragmented.
Neil completed a doctorate in English and worked as a freelance writer and editor before establishing the Foundation with Dr Peta Spear in 2003. It has since trained more than 12,500 professionals in plain language.
IC Clear - International Consortium for Clear Communication - Update
IC Clear, a clear communication course in an online networked learning environment
Karine Nicolay is the project coordinator of the IC Clear project (www.icclear.net). In this EU-funded project the consortium of partners work on an international postgraduate course in clear communication in an online networked learning environment. Karine is a member of the International plain language working group (IPLWG). She’s has been in the plain language and clear communication field since the early nineties.
By far, the one skill most sought after by employers is the ability to write and speak clearly and effectively. To respond to the lack of well-trained clear communication professionals, from October 2011 onwards, the partners of the EU-funded IC Clear project (www.icclear.net) worked on the pilot modules of an international postgraduate course in clear communication
Karine Nicolay gives an update on the project so far and invites all participants to discuss the proposed learning outcomes and course concept. The official launch of the complete course is planned on the joint IC Clear / Clarity conference in Belgium.
Karen Schriver, PhD
Plain by design - evidence-based plain language
Many plain language advocates are curious about the research that may support (or refute) their writing and design choices.
This talk offers a snapshot of the empirical research on professional writing and visual design from 1980-2010. It will make the case that if the field is to continue gaining traction in the public and private sectors, we will need to develop a research base for plain language activity and encourage evidence-based plain language.
Karen has a PhD in Rhetoric and Document Design (Carnegie Mellon University). As a researcher and consultant, she helps organizations around the globe realize the social and economic benefits of excellence in communication design. Karen challenges organizations to re-imagine their writing and design strategies on the basis of empirical evidence. She is author of Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers (Wiley, 1997) and recipient of ten national awards for her research.
Mark Hochhauser, PhD
Mark Hochhauser, PhD
How Do Our Readers Really Think, Understand, and Decide--
Despite What They Know?
Plain language writers assume that readers think, understand and make better decisions with clearly written materials. But brain studies link cognitive abilities to brain anatomy and two thinking systems, while judgment and decision making involves intuition, heuristics, framing, and information overload. This presentation will discuss writing for the reader’s brain.
Dr. Hochhauser has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. As a consultant, he applies basic psychological and cognitive principles in his analysis of consent documents, privacy notices, consumer health information, patient rights documents and consumer contracts.Mark has over 100 conference presentations and about 180 publications.
Plain Language Is a Service to Members
Ms. Boucher will tell us about the extensive work that CUPE has done. A plain language rewrite of the CUPE constitution has helped to engage its members in union activities. Other plain language work by CUPE has helped to ease the understanding of contracts through increasing awareness of literacy challenges and using plain language.
Ms Boucher is Education Officer, of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Katherine McManus - panel moderator
Plain Language Ethics - Understanding Situations for Plain Language Use
A Case Study and Discussion
Moderator: Katherine McManus, Writing and Communications Program Director , Lifelong Learning , Simon Fraser University.
Russell Willerton is an associate professor of English at Boise State University, where he teaches technical communication courses for BA and MA students. Russell earned his Ph.D. from Texas Tech University in 2005. He worked previously as a feature reporter in public radio and as a technical writer. Russell is a 2013 Fellow of the Boise State University Arts and Humanities Institute, which has supported his work on a book about plain language and ethics. His publications appear in Business Communication Quarterly, Technical Communication, Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, and Technical Communication Quarterly.
Renée Sarojini Saklikar writes thecanadaproject, a life-long poem chronicle. Work from thecanadaproject appears in literary journals, newspapers, and anthologies. Renée is at work on a sequence of elegies, about Canada and the bombing of Air India Flight 182.
Elizabeth Rains has worked more than 25 years as an editor, specializing in the use of plain language in magazines, books, and corporate documents. As an editor for the Public Legal Education Society, she converted legalese into plain language suitable for immigrant groups. Her company, Ocean Cove Media, specializes in developing simplified marketing materials.