Midlands Network

The Midlands Network is in its inaugural year, following an Open Meeting held on Saturday 16 April 2016.

Report on the inaugural meeting of the Midlands Network, by Sebastian Powers, CIOL Liaison

On a rather chilly Saturday afternoon the members of the newly formed Midlands Network found refuge in the Han Dynasty restaurant, not far from the new Grand Central station in Birmingham. Huddled in a rather humble downstairs room, the 20 or so attendees slightly exceeded capacity, leading to some creative seating arrangements - the perfect ice breaker.

The meeting was chaired by Michelle Doherty, one of the Network’s founding members. She explained that the group had originally started life as the West Midlands Network, but, through conversations with other members during last year’s Members' Day, it was agreed that there was sufficient interest to expand the group to cover the whole Midlands area. Interestingly a lively Midlands Network existed several decades ago, but sadly wound down over the years. This group had been very much centered on CPD whereas its new incarnation is more fluid, reacting and shaping itself to the interests and suggestions of its members. It is hoped that this new approach will prove popular and that the Midlands Network will provide a friendly and welcoming forum for the regions' linguists for years to come.

The group was very pleased to have the support of Jane Galbraith, the CIOL’s Head of Membership. Jane expressed her enthusiasm and excitement for the creation of a new regional group under the CIOL banner. As part of her talk, Jane ran through CIOL's recent membership review, noting that membership had climbed over the past 12 months, as well as explaining changes to the membership grades from September 2016.

After her talk the group turned its attention to electing a steering committee to guide the Network through its first 12 months. Nicola Dean was elected Chair in absentia, with the other positions being filled as follows: Treasurer - Graeme Hunter; Secretary - Hélène Walters-Steinberg; Events Coordinator - Jane Martin; CIOL Liaison - Sebastian Powers. Two committee members without portfolio were also elected - Peter Baron and Eleanor Bridgwood.

With all the formal business concluded the group had the chance to socialise over a delicious Chinese lunch, the star of which was a very orange sweet and sour fish dish which resembled some kind of fish-porcupine hybrid, but tasty all the same! All in all the group thoroughly enjoyed its first meeting, which can definitely be notched up as a success. It’s clear that the Midlands Network has a bright future ahead of it.

Michelle Doherty's enthusiasm and dedication have played a huge role in getting this new network off the ground. Sadly she leaves us to return home to Australia very soon. We thank her for her hard work and wish her well for the future.

Member Role Bio


CIOL Liaison None provided
Mr Peter BARON

BA CertEd DipTrans IoLET MCIL

Committee member

Peter worked as a language teacher for 29 years before early retirement, then over 20 years in a new career, combining coaching with translation. Despite his background, it took the passing the IoL DipFrench and the DipTrans to get translation work, mainly from French, specialising in technical fields, with some basic Spanish, German and Italian, having 6th form Spanish but only "A" in GCSE German as paper qualifications. Now semi-retired, he’s still pottering in both fields. Sport always has been part of his life. The last 50 years has been mainly linked to fencing, in which he bloomed as a competitor in later years and has spent a much time organising.



Events Coordinator

I worked in Spain for three years as an English teacher and fell in love with all things Spanish. When I returned to the UK, I spent ten years working in children’s book publishing companies where my Spanish was useful in selling children’s book rights in Spain and South America. When my children were small, I set up Sunflower Spanish which provided Spanish lessons throughout Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, teaching all ages and levels of students: my two highlights from this time were teaching my local rugby team, the Northampton Saints, and helping a class of 60-year-olds to pass their Spanish GCSE. I became interested in translation and started studying for the Diploma in Translation which I eventually passed in 2011. Since then I have combined working as a translator and as a teacher, a combination which works well. I have really enjoyed helping to set up the Midlands network and meeting other people who work in this sector. I am looking forward to our exciting programme of events and meet-ups in 2016.




I am a Spanish-to-English translator based in Birmingham, specialising in business and education. I have been a member of the CIOL since I passed the Diploma in Translation in 2012. Last year I returned from living in Uruguay, where I had spent seven years, and helping to set up and run the new CIOL Midlands Network was a good way for me to meet local linguists with whom to share relevant information and experiences.

Mr Graeme HUNTER


Treasurer None provided

This is a guided walking tour of central Birmingham.

Tours are organised by Positively Birmingham. The tour lasts approx 1hr45m starting at the Birmingham Library. It will end at a nearby pub for suitable refreshment. Each participant gets a free copy of the book Positively Birmingham on which the tour is loosely based.

Friends and family are welcome. 

The tours are organised by Positively Birmingham.


We look forward to meeting up with many of you for this interesting and social outing.

The event organisers will put on more than one guide if numbers are large but no maximum is stated. No cut off date for bookings given.

Date: Saturday 18 March 2017
Venue: Birmingham

The Midlands Network has run a variety of professional development events, benefitting CIOL members and non-members alike. Click an event to see its original listing and, if applicable, event reports and downloadable materials:

Birmingham, Saturday 19 November 2016

Nottingham, Saturday 22 October 2016

Birmingham, Thursday 21 July 2016

Ludlow, Saturday 18 June 2016