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He pātai mo Dr Reece Bush-Evans

Updated: Feb 29

A Q&A with Keynote Speaker Dr Reece Bush-Evans.

#1. Tell us about how you grew up and what you loved about that time of your life?

 I grew up in the charming seaside town of Bournemouth, located on the South coast of England, United Kingdom. I have very fond memories of pretending to be a teacher in a small makeshift school (which was actually a shed in our back garden!) and ‘teaching’ my older brother and younger sister science and drama. As a middle child, I often caused problems trying to be the center of attention, especially when it came to showing off my piano skills (I’m honestly not that good!). I grew up in the warm embrace of my mum and grandparents, and am forever grateful for their inspiration and love.


#2. Has your research affected your view of gambling harm?

Initially, no. However, the more I engage with research in this area, the more I discover information that warrants pause. There is remarkable work being conducted in the field by some amazing researchers, and some of the new developments are quite staggering. Research has opened my eyes to how gambling harms might affect a range of individuals in various ways.

#3. How did the decision to specialize in Psychology come about?

The decision to specialize in Psychology came about while I was on an international placement during my first degree (Television Production) in Canada. I was fortunate to work on a small documentary with a few peers on the lived experiences of individuals who had fled their country. It was through hearing their stories and being exposed to PTSD and mental health issues that I knew I wanted to explore Psychology.


#4. What do you enjoy about your career thus far?

I enjoy meeting new people and listening to their stories and experiences. I am very fortunate to work in a great team at Bournemouth University and to engage in research that is both meaningful for society and personally fulfilling for me.


#5. What are some of the challenges you have faced throughout your career?

A challenge that I have faced and continue to experience is finding enough time to conduct all the research I am passionate about. There is so much to explore, and it can be a little overwhelming at times.


#6. What do you think were some of the personal challenges you faced as you started your academic career?

This is a very hard question to answer! I am incredibly grateful for the position I am currently in. However, there were many moments of uncertainty along the way. I faced quite a few rejected applications and unsuccessful interviews, which were rather daunting.  


#7. If you could have the audience take one thing away from your presentation at the IGC, what would it be? 

To be open and compassionate about the lived experiences and struggles that some people face with gambling harms.


#8. What are you looking forward to most at the conference?

I’m really excited about the jam-packed and engaging schedule of talks and activities! I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with all the lovely people I’ve met during previous conferences! 


#9. If there was a story that showed “why” you do what you do today, what would that story be?

I grew up as an affected individual due to the gambling harm experienced by my stepfather. There were many weeks and months when my mum struggled to find enough money for rent or grocery shopping because my stepfather would borrow and often steal money for gambling. Experiencing firsthand the difficulties and burdens that gambling harms can impose on a family, along with the challenges in seeking support and guidance, heightened my awareness. It was during this time that I developed an interest in understanding and addressing the issues related to gambling. Where I can help, I will always try.

Read Dr Bush Evans' full keynote bio here.

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