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Staff Profile: Unleash Space Technician Sean Kelly

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Unleash Space is home to the University of Auckland’s state-of-the-art create and maker space. Managed by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, it’s a place where all students and staff can create what they can imagine, design for today and prototype for tomorrow. Ensuring that the space is running smoothly and to its full capabilities is Unleash Space Technician Sean Kelly. Sean is passionate about cultivating a new technological culture at the University and is enabling and bringing together the future entrepreneurs and makers of New Zealand.

 What made you decide to take a job managing the University of Auckland’s Create and Maker Space?
Prior to this job I spent a year working at Do Space – a highly successful community technology library in the U.S. – as a Community Technologist. I found the experience of working in technology empowerment such a good fit. It enabled me to make use of my blended background in trade, technology and the Arts so I immediately began looking for opportunities on my way home to Australia. It was in my hotel room in Los Angeles a day or two before I was due to fly home when I stumbled upon this job online. The application was due the day I would have got off the plane so I had to write and submit an application on the spot. A month later I was out in the bush in central Queensland helping Dad to mine sapphires when I got a call. It was quite serendipitous, really, how it all played out.

What does being the Unleash Space Technician involve?
Firstly, it involved the initial setting up of the Create and Maker Space and all of its technology, suite of trainings and workshops, systems and processes, health and safety compliance and of course the student team of Creative Technologists. I continue to manage all of these aspects as well as support the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship programmes, curricular integration of the Maker Space and personally helping people with their projects, all of which are growing in demand. I often give tours of the Unleash Space for a variety of stakeholders and act as an ambassador whenever I can.

Tell us a bit about the support, opportunities and experiences that the Unleash Space offers students and staff?
Myself and our awesome team of Creative Technologists are your support. Ask us about any project or resource query you may have. We are here to nourish our community of makers, learners and innovators. Thanks to our diverse suite of technologies there are so many great opportunities to empower yourself to use them through our training sessions and workshops. The experiences you will have in our space will help you accelerate your ideas, solve problems, be creative and unleash your potential.

What do you think people would be most surprised to learn about the Unleash Space?
I think most people would be surprised to learn what others have made in the Create and Maker Space and the inspirational effect it will have on their own projects. We are an open-source community of makers. We want to share what we have done and how we did it so it may inspire you to imitate, modify and invent your own. Want to make your own board game or laser cut jewellery? A personalised present or perhaps your own t-shirts and cosplay costumes? Come have a chat with us and we’ll show you some great examples made in the space or shared online. Maker communities come to life through this kind of contagious collision of people and projects. And then people can transition from playing to experimenting to prototyping inventions.

What has been your favourite experience in the Unleash Space so far?
We officially launched at the start of 2018, so suffice to say it was an intense year. Towards the end of Semester 2 we invited our donors for an update on what we had achieved so far, for which I organised a showcase of some innovative projects that our Unleashers had made in the space. It featured all sorts of things such as 3D printed instruments, interactive LED grids, production automation prototypes and light-up clothing. It ended up being a great display of the prototyping and playful curiosity we have ignited and I got some great feedback from the donors.

What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs and creatives?
Just get in, get your hands dirty and become a maker. Even if you have no idea where to start come in and ask for help from our friendly Creative Technologists or collide with the students you will find making fascinating things. We have deliberately designed the Create and Maker Space to have as little barriers to entry as possible. And it’s completely free! So come in and commercialise your creative talents using the technology and resources we have on hand.

When you’re not working what would we find you doing?
You’ll either find me in the Create and Maker Space putting my brother’s illustrations on t-shirts or doing some other typical millennial activity like drinking kombucha or practising guitar over a smashed avocado brunch while I talk to my old man about chasing sapphires back in Australia.

Sign up for equipment training or a workshop at Unleash Space. Free for all staff and students of the University of Auckland: www.create.ac.nz

Sean Kelly
Sean Kelly

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Unleash Space is home to the University of Auckland’s state-of-the-art create and maker space. Managed by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, it’s a place where all students and staff can create what they can imagine, design for today and prototype for tomorrow. Ensuring that the space is running smoothly and to its full capabilities is Unleash Space Technician Sean Kelly. Sean is passionate about cultivating a new technological culture at the University and is enabling and bringing together the future entrepreneurs and makers of New Zealand.

 What made you decide to take a job managing the University of Auckland’s Create and Maker Space?
Prior to this job I spent a year working at Do Space – a highly successful community technology library in the U.S. – as a Community Technologist. I found the experience of working in technology empowerment such a good fit. It enabled me to make use of my blended background in trade, technology and the Arts so I immediately began looking for opportunities on my way home to Australia. It was in my hotel room in Los Angeles a day or two before I was due to fly home when I stumbled upon this job online. The application was due the day I would have got off the plane so I had to write and submit an application on the spot. A month later I was out in the bush in central Queensland helping Dad to mine sapphires when I got a call. It was quite serendipitous, really, how it all played out.

What does being the Unleash Space Technician involve?
Firstly, it involved the initial setting up of the Create and Maker Space and all of its technology, suite of trainings and workshops, systems and processes, health and safety compliance and of course the student team of Creative Technologists. I continue to manage all of these aspects as well as support the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship programmes, curricular integration of the Maker Space and personally helping people with their projects, all of which are growing in demand. I often give tours of the Unleash Space for a variety of stakeholders and act as an ambassador whenever I can.

Tell us a bit about the support, opportunities and experiences that the Unleash Space offers students and staff?
Myself and our awesome team of Creative Technologists are your support. Ask us about any project or resource query you may have. We are here to nourish our community of makers, learners and innovators. Thanks to our diverse suite of technologies there are so many great opportunities to empower yourself to use them through our training sessions and workshops. The experiences you will have in our space will help you accelerate your ideas, solve problems, be creative and unleash your potential.

What do you think people would be most surprised to learn about the Unleash Space?
I think most people would be surprised to learn what others have made in the Create and Maker Space and the inspirational effect it will have on their own projects. We are an open-source community of makers. We want to share what we have done and how we did it so it may inspire you to imitate, modify and invent your own. Want to make your own board game or laser cut jewellery? A personalised present or perhaps your own t-shirts and cosplay costumes? Come have a chat with us and we’ll show you some great examples made in the space or shared online. Maker communities come to life through this kind of contagious collision of people and projects. And then people can transition from playing to experimenting to prototyping inventions.

What has been your favourite experience in the Unleash Space so far?
We officially launched at the start of 2018, so suffice to say it was an intense year. Towards the end of Semester 2 we invited our donors for an update on what we had achieved so far, for which I organised a showcase of some innovative projects that our Unleashers had made in the space. It featured all sorts of things such as 3D printed instruments, interactive LED grids, production automation prototypes and light-up clothing. It ended up being a great display of the prototyping and playful curiosity we have ignited and I got some great feedback from the donors.

What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs and creatives?
Just get in, get your hands dirty and become a maker. Even if you have no idea where to start come in and ask for help from our friendly Creative Technologists or collide with the students you will find making fascinating things. We have deliberately designed the Create and Maker Space to have as little barriers to entry as possible. And it’s completely free! So come in and commercialise your creative talents using the technology and resources we have on hand.

When you’re not working what would we find you doing?
You’ll either find me in the Create and Maker Space putting my brother’s illustrations on t-shirts or doing some other typical millennial activity like drinking kombucha or practising guitar over a smashed avocado brunch while I talk to my old man about chasing sapphires back in Australia.

Sign up for equipment training or a workshop at Unleash Space. Free for all staff and students of the University of Auckland: www.create.ac.nz


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