A view from Debbie Rawlings, founder of Bristol Games Hub
Debbie Rawlings is the Director of Operations for Auroch Digital, an indie development studio and games consultancy. She is also Director and Co-founder of Bristol Games Hub, set up to support and grow Bristol and the South West's games dev community. She is Creative Producer of games events and recently produced the Green Capital Digital Challenge, a competition for the best game/app around 5 environmental challenge areas, as part of Bristol's European Green Capital year of events.
What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a dancer. I did tap, ballet and modern from the age of 4 and trained as a teacher in my teens but gave it up when I left Glasgow to go to Jersey in ’87 to live. It’s a regret that I didn’t continue with it though I did go back to tap classes many years later in Bristol and I try to go when I can these days. I love to watch others dance too, whether that’s in a club or at a show. I absolutely love to see someone getting lost in music.
If you weren’t doing this job now, what would you be doing? A few years ago I completed a diploma in Professional Interior Design and signed up for the degree course, then our business took off and has grown quicker than any of us expected so while we ride this wave, that one’s on the back-burner…
Who do you most admire in business and why? I really admire my business partner (and husband) Tom, even though I struggle to keep up with him at times! I’ve never known anyone achieve so much in a day as he does, on a personal aswell as professional basis. He’s a truly inspirational entrepreneur and I’m in awe of him every day (when I’m not telling him off!).
What do you do when you’re not at work? As we work for ourselves, our professional and personal lives are hard to separate at times. When we’re able to take a few days off, we love to go away so our last wee trip was down to Cornwall (my first visit) and to the Eden Project, which is stunning. I love trying new food and eating out in lovely surroundings so that’s something we try to do regularly. Spending time with friends and family and the usual, film/TV/games. With my love of interiors, I enjoy visiting stately homes and manor houses and beautiful gardens when the weather permits. And I LOVE dancing so though I don’t go clubbing any more, I do love a good house party!
What’s your favourite ad campaign/TV programme of the year so far and why? It’s got to be GoT!! Every season I’m blown away with the unpredictability and freshness of the storylines and their twists and turns. It conjures up so many emotions and there’s never a dull moment. That’s the best kind of escapism imho.
What music are you listening to (on your phone/ipod)? I recently discovered Hot Chip so I’ve been playing them ‘over and over’ (that’s an in-joke) but watching Glastonbury and being introduced to Jungle, I went straight to iTunes and bought their album, which is brilliant! Proper summer vibes. I’ve been into house music since its beginnings in my teens in the 80s so I’m loving all the new house stuff that’s around. There’s some truly stonking remixes of some of my favourite old rave tunes at the moment too so I’m reliving a part of my youth through that.
What’s your tipple? Prosecco and some very lovely cocktails you can make with it! For example one of our staff, Pete, who is into his vodka, bought us a bottle of Toffee Vodka recently. On its own its fab but add a little splash of that with Prosecco and it’s delicious! Not on a school night though!!
Tell us one highlight of your career so far. Cheesy I know, but though we never planned it, working with my husband has been a really exciting journey for us both. Turns out we’re a pretty dynamic duo in business.
And one highlight of your life so far: I have to say being a mum because it’s the truth. I’m proud of the work I’ve done setting up Bristol Games Hub and supporting the games development community in the South West and a highlight was Bristol Media presenting me with an Outstanding Contribution to the Games Industry Award last year. I was also named as one of MCV’s Top 100 Women in Games. 2014 was a great year for my career.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest and why? William Morris (when he was alive) as I’d love to hear first hand all about the arts and crafts movement and the industrial revolution. My ideal (living) dinner guest would have to be a woman at the top of her game such as Siobhan Reddy, Studio Head at Media Molecule (creators of Little Big Planet), Tracey Emin, Michelle Obama, J K Rowling - women who’ve achieved huge success and could share some of their tips and stories with me. And maybe try some of my Prosecco/Toffee Vodka mix!
What programme on TV do you try not to miss? We don’t watch much live TV anymore but we record a lot! Embarrassingly, but being brutally honest, my guilty TV pleasure is Kardashians. I’m just fascinated how a family can live their lives with so much media attention and survive that, or not!
What’s the gadget you can’t live without? My iPhone 6 Plus, I’d be so badly organised without it.