Sue Thomas: The Digital Life (27 Jun 2005)
This introduction could start in many ways. Many places. But I will start it on a hill overlooking fields and fields of enclosures. Sue and I are sitting on the edge of an Iron Age hill fort talking about her plans for trAce. Incubation 2002 is only two days past and already she is thinking about 2004. It was there we first discussed changing the trAce front page to include articles about digital writing and the internet. There was as yet no money in the budget for such a venture, but one month later a new website was launched and we published our first four articles. By December, Sue announced that we had the resources for an editorial budget, and the front page joined many other trAce projects that supported and paid writers and artists. As author Kate Pullinger says: "Sue makes things happen."
This article is not about trAce, but about Sue Thomas, the person who Mark Amerika has called " ... a savvy researcher with a vision of e-litís future." Scholar and writer Dene Grigar explains: "Recognizing the talent of others is one thing but drawing together talented people for the purpose of collaborating and cooperating through courses, workshops, and conferences and, then, linking these writers to an educated public may be Thomasís greatest gift."
People who have worked with trAce know all of this, but many people don't know Sue, the person. The tireless soul who laboured mostly in the background to arrange contests with generous prizes, writing a seemingly endless number of major grant applications for innovative digital writing projects. Some people came to view her as an authoritarian, because she often had to make difficult decisions. But this was the only way that she could protect and advance trAce as a community and an organization. In all of this, Sue was not self-promotional. She put her own aspirations as a writer to the side. The following interview reveals Sue Thomas, not as the past Artistic Director of trAce, but as a scholar and a creative being.
Article URL: http://www.trace.ntu.ac.uk/opinion/index.cfm?article=133
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