CIE » Newsroom » Staff Profile: Ariel Dannenbring, Unleash Space Venue Coordinator

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Staff Profile: Ariel Dannenbring, Unleash Space Venue Coordinator

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22 April 2021

Unleash Space is the University of Auckland’s vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship hub, run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It offers workshops, a bookable meeting room, brainstorming spaces, experts and inspiration for your projects and ventures. Ensuring that the space is ready to help students and staff unleash their potential is Unleash Space Venue Coordinator Ariel Dannenbring.

Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Hmm, it’s not a long story! I was born in Taiwan but came here when I was three months old. I had only ever lived under the same roof in Rotorua until I came to study at the University of Auckland. There was always lots going on at home and, with a family well-dabbled in the creative arts (everything music), I thought I’d go and do my own thing in psychology and writing studies.

In my first year at university, I came across an information evening event on Facebook for Unleash Space when it was just coming to life! After attending, I was actually a bit torn as to whether I had any business with a newly established innovation hub. But, after four years of writing a few newsletters as a student lead, running training sessions in the maker space as a Creative Technologist, and now, working full time as the Venue Coordinator, I guess the spontaneity of submitting that application paid off!

What drew you to this role at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship?

Since this is my first job out of university, it was largely the culture and the opportunities to learn and grow professionally within the team and role. I love the people-facing nature of the role and wanted to learn more about the operations and little bits and pieces that go into the space behind the scenes.

What does being the Venue Coordinator involve?

It involves practically everything physical you see when you enter Unleash Space! A bit of furniture coordination, event preparations, meeting room bookings, some administrative tasks, tours, lots of liaising with students and staff, and plenty of loading and unloading the dishwasher! 

Tell us a bit about the support, opportunities and experiences that Unleash Space offers students and staff.

Essentially, everything from getting started to supporting you in the later stages of developing a venture! We have an incredible maker space that will support you with prototyping and hands-on creativity, experiential programmes that teach you the thinking behind ‘where to go from here?’, challenges that push you to see the entrepreneur within yourself, and many events and seminars where you can hear about real-world applications from people who are doing the work and sharing it with the world!

What is your favourite part of your job?

There’s nothing quite like the feeling that I’m part of a group that empowers people. Seeing people being curious about entrepreneurship, nurturing their creativity, and then building something purely from realising their own potential… that’s something that I’ve learnt and continue to admire every day I am in the space.

What advice would you give students who are interested in innovation and entrepreneurship?

Reach out! The journey doesn’t have to be lonely, and if anything, this place shows that there are always people to connect with and learn valuable things from. Be flexible and keep evaluating each step of the way so that you have a better understanding of what it is you want to achieve. It may have changed!

When you’re not working, what would we find you doing?

Definitely sitting in a very bad posture doing digital art on my drawing board. I sometimes pick up commissions through my art account, Artelo NZ, but for the most part, it’s my way of relaxing and getting to illustrate all the different things I notice about the world each day.

If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?

This is very difficult. I wouldn’t want to speak with any fictional character per se, but I would love to just befriend Toothless from How to Train your Dragon. A giant cat-like dragon that’s a bit sassy? You’ve got me! Otherwise, the carpet from Aladdin!

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

I’m most looking forward to being able to continue supporting our community of students and staff by running all the events and activities we set out to have this year. After all, the venue is what I’m supposed to coordinate, so it’s good to be back in the space and physically around the unique and wonderful people that make up our community!

Velocity Team 2020
Velocity Team 2020

social media

22 April 2021

Unleash Space is the University of Auckland’s vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship hub, run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It offers workshops, a bookable meeting room, brainstorming spaces, experts and inspiration for your projects and ventures. Ensuring that the space is ready to help students and staff unleash their potential is Unleash Space Venue Coordinator Ariel Dannenbring.

Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Hmm, it’s not a long story! I was born in Taiwan but came here when I was three months old. I had only ever lived under the same roof in Rotorua until I came to study at the University of Auckland. There was always lots going on at home and, with a family well-dabbled in the creative arts (everything music), I thought I’d go and do my own thing in psychology and writing studies.

In my first year at university, I came across an information evening event on Facebook for Unleash Space when it was just coming to life! After attending, I was actually a bit torn as to whether I had any business with a newly established innovation hub. But, after four years of writing a few newsletters as a student lead, running training sessions in the maker space as a Creative Technologist, and now, working full time as the Venue Coordinator, I guess the spontaneity of submitting that application paid off!

What drew you to this role at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship?

Since this is my first job out of university, it was largely the culture and the opportunities to learn and grow professionally within the team and role. I love the people-facing nature of the role and wanted to learn more about the operations and little bits and pieces that go into the space behind the scenes.

What does being the Venue Coordinator involve?

It involves practically everything physical you see when you enter Unleash Space! A bit of furniture coordination, event preparations, meeting room bookings, some administrative tasks, tours, lots of liaising with students and staff, and plenty of loading and unloading the dishwasher! 

Tell us a bit about the support, opportunities and experiences that Unleash Space offers students and staff.

Essentially, everything from getting started to supporting you in the later stages of developing a venture! We have an incredible maker space that will support you with prototyping and hands-on creativity, experiential programmes that teach you the thinking behind ‘where to go from here?’, challenges that push you to see the entrepreneur within yourself, and many events and seminars where you can hear about real-world applications from people who are doing the work and sharing it with the world!

What is your favourite part of your job?

There’s nothing quite like the feeling that I’m part of a group that empowers people. Seeing people being curious about entrepreneurship, nurturing their creativity, and then building something purely from realising their own potential… that’s something that I’ve learnt and continue to admire every day I am in the space.

What advice would you give students who are interested in innovation and entrepreneurship?

Reach out! The journey doesn’t have to be lonely, and if anything, this place shows that there are always people to connect with and learn valuable things from. Be flexible and keep evaluating each step of the way so that you have a better understanding of what it is you want to achieve. It may have changed!

When you’re not working, what would we find you doing?

Definitely sitting in a very bad posture doing digital art on my drawing board. I sometimes pick up commissions through my art account, Artelo NZ, but for the most part, it’s my way of relaxing and getting to illustrate all the different things I notice about the world each day.

If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?

This is very difficult. I wouldn’t want to speak with any fictional character per se, but I would love to just befriend Toothless from How to Train your Dragon. A giant cat-like dragon that’s a bit sassy? You’ve got me! Otherwise, the carpet from Aladdin!

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

I’m most looking forward to being able to continue supporting our community of students and staff by running all the events and activities we set out to have this year. After all, the venue is what I’m supposed to coordinate, so it’s good to be back in the space and physically around the unique and wonderful people that make up our community!


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