Autumn Rose Taylor is a virtual reality evangelist and creative communicator. She is currently a KnOWLedge Purveyor and Media Master for Owlchemy Labs, where she helps manage community, social media, and events. In addition to her work with Owlchemy, she is also an organizer for VR Austin and contributes to local VR community-building efforts, advocating for women and diversity in the video game and virtual reality industries. Autumn is one of the co-chairs of the Design Chica VR Workshop committee.
How does your work with Owlchemy Labs and VR Austin tie in with Design Chica?
At Owlchemy Labs, we’re huge proponents of knowledge-sharing and elevating the virtual reality (VR) industry as a whole with our support of other developers and creativity in the space. Through VR Austin, we are actively doing that by creating a community where like-minded individuals can explore this new industry together in a collaborative environment. What you might not realize at first is that VR is an intersection of so many different disciplines and schools of thought — we need programmers, artists, designers, architects, dancers, you name it! We’re hoping to show through our VR presence at Design Chica that design can be an innovative and creative career to pursue in VR, and an essential one!
What is your favorite thing your work with VR Austin?
My favorite thing is getting to see so many developers and projects come to life over time. Someone might come to their first VR Austin and be like, “This technology is amazing, I want to get involved!” Fast-forward a few months later, and this person has developed an entire VR experience that they want to demo at the meet up. We’re in such early days with the technology, and we get to see it come to life right in front of our eyes. The passion of the people in this field is inspiring and motivating — we’re a community that wants everyone to succeed.
Why is advocating for women and other minorities in tech important to you?
I believe that sharing diverse stories and advocating for women and minorities is essential to creating technology and VR that serves and represents the world we live in. Content doesn’t exist in a void, and more often than not we learn from experiences that are unlike our own. Without elevating diverse creators and advocating for these people to get involved in the space, we don’t get diverse content! These stories deserve to be heard and shared.
How did your interest in working in video games and VR start?
I was I was always drawn to stories, whether it be games, films, or books. I had never actually considered a career in the game industry until I started experimenting with game-making as a hobby, making cute 2D games, and even developing for the early VR hardware. I largely focused on other media — film production, writing, et cetera — but when I got my degree in public relations and advertising I found myself combining all the things I’d ever been involved with into VR. It really is a conglomeration of so many different skills and backgrounds! Truthfully, I went to a VR Austin event on a whim and I was hooked — I haven’t looked back since.
What has been the biggest challenge for you in your profession and how did you overcome it?
Imposter syndrome is a huge topic in creative fields like game development, and the world of virtual reality is no different! It’s really hard to be surrounded by so many insanely creative and talented individuals and still feel like you measure up, even if you know you’re skilled and competent. Overcoming the feeling of being an “imposter” is something I struggle with every day, but I’ve found solace in sharing this feeling with others and doing my best to both grow my own skill sets and celebrate the accomplishments of others. You don’t have to do the same thing as someone else to be happy and successful — you define your own success! We’re all working together to be the best we can be.
Latinitas’ Design Chica Conference is Saturday, April 15, 2017, at ACC Eastview Campus. Throughout the day, girls ages 9–18 of all backgrounds will learn design thinking and work with user experience designers to create their very own website. The day will also include some demonstrations of virtual reality technology. During lunch, girls will meet professionals in various roles in the tech sector.
For more information, or to sign up to volunteer, visit DesignChica.com.
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