Membership of Hunter Writers Centre is at the discretion of the Board or, by delegation, the staff.
Membership requires you to endorse Hunter Writers Centre’s purpose: to educate, engage and employ writers of Australia.
Your Membership is personal to you. You are responsible for ensuring that no one uses your Membership or associated passwords. Access to and use of the Members’ section of Hunter Writers Centre website is through a combination of username and password and is reserved exclusively for Members.
Membership fees are payable 12 months from the date you join and are renewed automatically unless the Member opts out. Members can opt out at any time from renewal.
Being a member of HWC requires you to comply with the following Terms and Conditions
- Demonstrate respect and courtesy to other members of the organisation, staff, Board members, and contractors of the organisation, such as tutors, judges, mentors.
- Comply with any reasonable instructions given by staff, Board members, or contracted service providers.
- Ensure your actions do not cause disruption to the organisation’s programs or other users of any facilities or services.
- Ensure your actions do not put at risk the safety of staff, contracted service providers or other users of any facilities and services.
- Ensure your actions do not cause damage to the organisation’s premises or contents.
- Ensure your actions do not harm the reputation of the organisation.
- Only participating in activities for which you register (via a booking system or at-the-door) and which any applicable fees have been paid.
- Pay your membership fees and any other amounts owing to the organisation by the designated due date.
- Observe the provisions of the NSW Fair Trading Model Constitution, policies, and rules of the association;
Refund Policy – workshops and other programs
When booking our activities, please choose carefully. Refunds on workshop/course fees are only possible 14 or more days before an event. If Hunter Writers Centre cancels a workshop/course for which any applicable fees have been paid, you may choose to receive a credit or refund.
Advertised Dates and Times
Advertised dates and times, tutors/speakers may change or be cancelled without warning. All reasonable attempts will be made to contact you via email and telephone. We advise that you check your email inbox the day before any event.
Code of Ethics / Behavioural Standards
HWC reserves the right to refuse entry to our programs to anyone who is:
- violent, intoxicated, threatening, quarrelsome or disruptive
- not holding a valid entry
- carrying items which have the potential to cause injury or nuisance
- possess or appear to be affected by a prohibited drug
Freedom of Creative Expression
HWC recognises, respects, promotes and celebrates the value of cultural diversity and will adopt and implement strategies which advance cultural diversity as a positive force in the community. The Australian Constitution does not expressly protect the freedom of expression and there are limitations that can inhibit creative freedom in some situations including defamation, anti-vilification, classification and censorship laws and the treason and urging violence offences. HWC recognises this and expects its members to be aware of and consider the limitations when opting to include or exclude certain expression in their artistic work. We take the Arts Law Centre of Australia’s Freedom of Expression Fact Sheet as our guide. Read more
HWC Writing Groups
The following are not conditions of membership but are tips and advice for members who wish to attend our writing groups.
All our group facilitators support this guide and we ask that members adopt this approach or discuss within your group any changes you prefer. The facilitator holds the final say on how the group will operate.
Always remember that your facilitator is a volunteer. They are taking that brave step to welcome, co-ordinate and support writers, enabling them to meet and share work. Support your facilitator at all times.
Facilitators are not teachers, they are good hearted people who help build our literary community.
Being a member of a writing group: A helpful guide from writer Walter Mason for group gatherings is: ‘after you speak and contribute to the discussion, let two others speak before you speak again’. This is a lovely self-moderating guide to ensure everyone shares the time equally. Some people can be so nervous that they don’t speak and others can be so nervous they speak too much! The “two before you” guide is a good one for everyone to adopt and we highly encourage this at HWC. As you get to the know each other, look around your group and if someone hasn’t spoken for a while, perhaps gently ask for their input.
Giving feedback to others on their writing: Many people come to HWC writing groups having had bad experiences in the past with critique. This is because people are very keen to tell others what is ‘wrong’ with a writer’s work and people feel over-corrected and criticised. At HWC, we request that you find what is working in the writers’ work first. Even the first draft or the most over-worked manuscript has something in it that works – it might be the dialogue, the setting, the opening, the verbs! Find that pearl. Identify it and tell the author. Try to get into the habit of starting your feedback with “What I liked most …” or “I was very drawn to …” This is also excellent for others in the group to hear too as they may learn something new to apply to their own writing.
When it comes time to telling a writer what is not working in their piece, use this phrase: “I didn’t understand this part” or “I couldn’t follow this section” or “This part did not speak to me as clearly as the other part that I felt was stronger.”
And that’s all.
Never suggest how to fix something that is not working for you. It is not your piece. Only the writer knows all the parts of the story and what they want to impart and how they came to write that sentence.
Only if the author asks for suggestions from you should you then give advice. But, please, wait to be asked.
Receiving feedback: The key here is to be a good listener. People have taken the time to listen/read your work. When they turn to you to give feedback this is the time to listen. It is not a conversation. Let them provide their entire feedback and don’t defend your work. Simply listen. Taking notes while they talk helps you focus on their points and helps you listen. Feedback sessions are not opportunities to defend or explain your writing. Once people have given their feedback (a simple guide could be: 60 seconds feedback per person which in a group of 10 = 10 minutes of feedback for the author), only then open it up for discussion.
The above are processes that we have found work well. Having been director of HWC for ten years, conducted many workshops, groups and sessions; having sat in university writing workshops as a writer myself for ten years prior to becoming director, I have found the above methods result in successful, inclusive, and fair writing groups.
Hunter Writers Centre