With GDC finally here, we’ve dedicated this week to all representation from Scotland attending the conference thanks to IGDA Foundation programs. Alice Bowman is today’s featured scholar! Alice has been selected as one of 2018s IGDA Scholars.
Hi Alice! First off – What do you do?
I’m a PhD student at Abertay University, the project I’m working on is researching ways that games and interactive storytelling can help cancer patients. I’m passionate about telling stories, and I’m so lucky to have this very unique opportunity to develop new ways that storytelling will be able to help people. Aside from my research I’m a writer and a designer; I’m fascinated by branching and interactive narratives and most of my projects incorporate this.
Where are you from and what is your connection to Scotland?
I moved from London to Scotland in September 2016 to take a Designer role at Outplay Entertainment. Working at Outplay for a year gave me my introduction to the Scottish games industry, and helped me settle in Dundee. I loved working at Outplay, but when Abertay began recruiting designers for a PhD project to develop interactive narratives to support cancer patients I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!
Why did you choose to apply to IGDA Scholarships specifically?
During my undergraduate degree at the University of East London my lecturers encouraged me to become involved in IGDA’s community, so I’ve had my IGDA membership for some time. The opportunity to go to GDC is huge for me, so I was keen to apply when I found out about the IGDA Scholars programme. Aside from it being an amazing opportunity in general, the focus on mentorship, and helping the scholars to develop really appeals to me, it’s great to feel so supported at this early stage in my career.
What are you most looking forward to at GDC?
There’s so much I’m looking forward to, its hard to narrow it down! There are so many talks that I’m really excited for, all of the ones that focus on narrative and storytelling in particular. But to choose one thing, I think I’m most looking forward to meeting people. There’s so much talent and enthusiasm somewhere like GDC, and I’ve only ever been able to participate in UK industry events before, so it’s really great to have this opportunity to meet experts from further afield.
Is there a specific goal you’re hoping to achieve at GDC?
I want to learn as much as possible while I’m there, and get as much from the experience as I can. My PhD research is at quite a formative stage, so I think I’ll hugely benefit from talks and discussion around serious games, interactive narrative and similar topics, and I’ll be trying to make sure I go to as many talks as I can on those subjects.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I have a confession to make – I almost didn’t apply for the scholarship as I thought there was no chance of me being chosen. Then I decided that applying would at least give me a very small chance, whereas not applying was a definite no. So, to anyone else in a similar position, make sure you take every opportunity that comes by as you never know which one is going to work out amazingly well!