Before I begin, I need to give a HUGE thank you to Marie-Claire Isaaman and David Smith for selecting me as a student competition winner - this meant that my ticket, travel & accomodation were all paid for and because of this I was able to attend an event that I will hold close to me for a long, long time. So thank you so much once again. <3
Throughout the day I attended various inspiring talks ranging from how to expand the number of women within the games industry, to talks on animation and how to kickstart your career in games, alongside various other inspiring keynotes. There was mention of the event being recorded via Twitch, so hopefully videos will be appearing soon that I can provide links to!
Between talks we had small coffee breaks (one in particular was accompanied by cookies and to say I was happy is an understatement ;) ), where we were able to mingle with fellow guests and talk to others within the industry.
I think a noteable part of the day for me was during lunch time while we were queueing for food - I turned around and right behind me was Jessica Curry (of Dear Esther & Everybody's Gone to the Rapture fame). I was starstruck! But the amazing thing about this industry is that she was so kind and welcoming - so much so that even after I had babbled on to her about how I saw her on TV and how she's an inspiration etc etc, we were then laughing and joking about things and having a regular, natural conversation. It didn't feel like I was intruding, if anything she made me feel warm and very welcome.
And this was an experience I felt with every single person I spoke to both during the event and at the pub afterwards. Nobody made me feel small or like I was 'just a student'. Every conversation was greeted with visible enthusiasm about what I am doing in my studies, about what it is I'd like to do once I'm finished. Everybody was so kind and welcoming and for someone who is not too great at initiating conversation with strangers, I must thank you all so much for that. <3
And finally, I want to give a shout out to an amazing group of girls that I had the pleasure of staying with during the event. There were 6 competition winners in total, and every single one of the other girls are insanely talented, passionate and wonderful. I'm going to link to their websites below and would highly recommend that you take a look. :)
Here are some photos from the event to finish up with, just to add some colour to this long, wordy blog post! I would have cut it down shorter but I feel that something that meant so much deserves the long wall of text. ;)
More images from the conference can be found here!
As promised above, here are links to the websites of the other competition winners (in order of the picture above):