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Joy and inspiration at staff Christmas ornament workshops

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13 November 2020

Staff at the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) have been overwhelmed by the positive response they have had to a series of free Christmas ornament workshops they ran at the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space, Unleash Space, as a staff engagement activity. 

Staff from across the University were invited to attend a one hour workshop to make bespoke Christmas ornaments for their friends and family. With the help of one of the Unleash Space technicians, participants used the laser cutter to personalise one of the ornament designs on offer with the name or initials of friends and family. Participants then customised ornaments with paint and ribbon.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager Naomi Bradshaw says they thought it would be well received but did not anticipate how popular it would be. “We ended up opening it up to 21 workshops run over a fortnight with more than 200 staff registering within a couple of days of registrations opening. Our laser cutter has had quite the workout!”

Naomi says that staff are an incredibly important stakeholder group for the team at CIE. “All of our offerings are free to students and staff of all faculties. We are passionate about helping people realise their potential through developing technology skills, innovative capability and an entrepreneurial mindset. By having staff here in person and running a workshop designed to be easy-entry with no prior experience required, we’ve attracted a new group of people to check out Unleash Space, including staff from the Grafton and Epsom campuses. We’ve had feedback that it’s inspired participants to think about how they can fabricate teaching tools or incorporate our other offerings into their work for next year. Also, now that people have seen the space with their own eyes they ‘get it’ and are more likely to recommend it to students. We have a great team who are talented facilitators and creators. Our Engagement Coordinator Tiger Chen designed a really fantastic workshop and our whole Unleash Space team contributed to developing an inspiring experience for our staff.”

Outreach activities like the Christmas ornament workshop are also helpful in contributing to developing a warm community culture at the University. Energy Centre Group Services Coordinator Dinah Towle says “I have worked at the University of Auckland for 10 years and I would like to say that the Christmas workshop I attended was the most inspiring university staff community development experience I have had. We are very lucky we have access to use this space run by folks who are so enthusiastic, encouraging and knowledgeable. This has been an amazing hands-on opportunity to try something new and see advances in the creative technology space.”

The Christmas ornament workshops were free, however staff were invited to donate canned goods to Auckland City Mission. Donations were left under CIE’s living Christmas tree, which was kindly donated by the University’s Grounds and Precinct staff. At the end of the year, the tree will be returned to the University’s nursery to be cared for until next Christmas. 

Staff at CIE are now exploring opportunities for further workshops next year, including LED lightbox workshops for Matariki.

Nicholas Bing
Nicholas Bing

social media

13 November 2020

Staff at the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) have been overwhelmed by the positive response they have had to a series of free Christmas ornament workshops they ran at the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space, Unleash Space, as a staff engagement activity. 

Staff from across the University were invited to attend a one hour workshop to make bespoke Christmas ornaments for their friends and family. With the help of one of the Unleash Space technicians, participants used the laser cutter to personalise one of the ornament designs on offer with the name or initials of friends and family. Participants then customised ornaments with paint and ribbon.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager Naomi Bradshaw says they thought it would be well received but did not anticipate how popular it would be. “We ended up opening it up to 21 workshops run over a fortnight with more than 200 staff registering within a couple of days of registrations opening. Our laser cutter has had quite the workout!”

Naomi says that staff are an incredibly important stakeholder group for the team at CIE. “All of our offerings are free to students and staff of all faculties. We are passionate about helping people realise their potential through developing technology skills, innovative capability and an entrepreneurial mindset. By having staff here in person and running a workshop designed to be easy-entry with no prior experience required, we’ve attracted a new group of people to check out Unleash Space. We’ve had feedback that it’s inspired participants to think about how they can fabricate teaching tools or incorporate our other offerings into their work for next year. Also, now that people have seen the space with their own eyes they ‘get it’ and are more likely to recommend it to students. We have a great team who are talented facilitators and creators. Our Engagement Coordinator Tiger Chen designed a really fantastic workshop and our whole Unleash Space team contributed to developing a fantastic experience for our staff.”

Outreach activities like the Christmas ornament workshop are also helpful in contributing to developing a warm community culture at the University. Energy Centre Group Services Coordinator Dinah Towle says “I have worked at the University of Auckland for 10 years and I would like to say that the Christmas workshop I attended was the most inspiring university community development experience I have had. We are very lucky we have access to use this space run by folks who are so enthusiastic, encouraging and knowledgeable. This has been an amazing hands-on opportunity to try something new and see advances in the creative technology space.”

The Christmas ornament workshops were free, however staff were invited to donate canned goods to Auckland City Mission. Donations were left under CIE’s living Christmas tree, which was kindly donated by the University’s Grounds and Precinct staff. At the end of the year, the tree will be returned to the University’s nursery to be cared for until next Christmas. 

Staff at CIE are now exploring opportunities for further workshops next year, including LED lightbox workshops for Matariki.


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