15 Jan 2024
by Marjolein Thickett

Unlocking knowledge: The power of shared learning

Workshops and courses aren't the only ways to expand your subject knowledge. Marjolein Thickett took a different approach that harnesses the power of shared learning.

Subject knowledge is a vital part of CPD for translators and interpreters – so vital in fact, that it’s one of the eight key skills areas listed by the ITI when completing a CPD entry. If I look at the time I allocated to CPD last year, I’ve dedicated almost 50% of it to increasing my subject knowledge. I usually do this by attending webinars, reading articles, listening to podcasts and completing online courses.

But when I consider how I most enjoy learning – in the company of others – there seems to be a missing link. Learning alongside colleagues I find I learn more, retain more detail and have an entirely different (and often more enjoyable) experience to when I’m alone. So how can we translators and interpreters, who are so often lone workers, expand our subject knowledge in the company of others in a way that is not too cost intensive?

People planet pint.jpg
© Marjolein Thickett

This was the issue that faced me when I decided it was time to grow my local community of sustainability professionals and increase my knowledge of this subject area. The benefit of working in this industry is that it is focused on accessibility – after all, for the change required in this sphere, everyone needs to be onboard. Last year, I attended a People Planet Pint (PPP) meet-up after a conference I attended. The premise of the event was simple – get to know people interested or working in sustainability better by sharing a drink.

I was eager to find a PPP event in my vicinity, so went online to see what the options were: Manchester was the closest, almost 100 miles from where I live! Disappointing, but not surprising. Having had a good look at the website though, setting up a PPP event seemed relatively simple. PPP events are run by Small99, a company focused on helping small businesses reduce their carbon footprints. They provide all the marketing materials, support networks and Eventbrite link information for the event; all I had to do was find a co-host (for my own sanity!), choose a location and pick a date.

A close colleague working in the adventure film industry immediately came to mind as a potential co-host. Her company has been making significant strides in how they tackle sustainability, plus she lives nearby. To my relief, she said yes as soon as I asked her. We approached a new café/event space in Kendal for the location. They had only recently opened but had shown a conscious and ethical approach to sustainability and marketing.

On the 15th of December, we held the inaugural People Planet Pint event in Kendal. 38 people had registered to attend and 26 turned up on the night. We had people from a wide range of  backgrounds – with experience in low-carbon built environments, nutrition experts, public sector workers, sports event providers, writers and translators, and film production companies. The most common reason for attending was to learn from others and network.

Following brief introductions we continued with conversations that had been inspired by what they had learned about each other. The progression was natural, and conversation seemed to flow easily. Attendees quickly forged new relationships, exchanged details, recommended local companies and services, and best of all, learned a great deal about everyone’s individual experience of tackling the climate crisis – whether through renewable energy usage, dietary changes, reducing plastic usage, introducing and supporting young people in their sustainability journeys or growing their own fruit and vegetables. It really showed that we all have a truly unique way to wrestle with this problem, but that everyone's contribution is as valuable and worthwhile as the next. When you combine all this expertise, you can really see how much can be learnt from events like these.

People planet pint 2.jpg
© Marjolein Thickett

Going forward into 2024, I now know that I have a group of local experts with a wide variety of experience I can look to for experience and in-depth knowledge. This is invaluable when you're increasing your knowledge of a subject area and finding resources to draw on. Over the coming year, we plan to meet at least once every quarter and to try to support and build this new group of individuals. It was very clear from the first meeting that this was something that was lacking in the local area, and we are all keen for it to flourish over the coming months. Let’s all raise a glass to shared learning!