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Meet the Unleash Space team – Melanie Duff

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Tell us about yourself and what lead to your interest in innovation and entrepreneurship?
I’ve loved creating for as long as I can remember – at kindergarten I spent my days in the art corner painting, screenprinting, sculpting, and letting my imagination run wild! Since then, I’ve spent my time honing my skills in sewing and other textile crafts (including pattern drafting, embroidery, corsetry, weaving, knitting, and leatherwork) as well as trying my hand at everything from CAD modelling to chainmaille. At high school I participated in the Young Innovators competition, where I won the senior Supreme award and the people’s choice award. That’s when I realised I could couple my love of creating with the excitement of innovation.

What made you decide to apply to be a technician at Unleash Space and what will your role be?
As soon a I heard about Unleash Space, I knew it was the place for me! I love to learn new crafts, and I love to pass on the knowledge I’ve developed through years of trial and error to others – the creative technician role at Unleash Space allows me to do both! I’m a creative technologist, focused on the sewing/arts and crafts areas (I’ll be running training sessions and workshops as well as helping out anyone that needs it) but you might also see me in the Collide Space working on my latest idea, or learning more about all the other awesome tools in the Create Space. If you see me around, come and say hi!

What are you most looking forward to at Unleash Space and what opportunities do you think it particularly provides to students?
Since moving to Auckland for uni, I’ve really missed having a workshop space filled with tools and materials that I can use for projects (thanks Dad!). Unleash Space gives all of the creative people at the University of Auckland a place to work on their projects, which may be outside the scope of what they’re studying (hey, I’m a Chemical & Materials engineering student who spends her free time making costumes). But, more than that, it gives us a space to get together, to collaborate, and to innovate – making our ideas even greater than if we were to slave away on them alone in a shed.

What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I always like to have several projects on the go. I’m looking forward to graduating and bringing my creativity into the professional engineering community, particularly my ideas around sustainability and the development of more environmentally friendly solutions. At the moment, I’m obsessed with tiny houses, and I’d love to try my hand at building my own tiny house on wheels to live in. And, of course, I still love sewing and am looking forward to further developing my skills in that area.

Anything else you want to say about Unleash Space?
I’m so excited to be a part of Unleash, and I’d love to encourage everyone to come and use the space! Even if you’ve never made anything before, we have a team of passionate creative techs here to help.

Melanie Duff is a Creative Technologist at Unleash Space. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemicals and Materials) at the University of Auckland.

Melanie displays a self-crafted cosplay of Hunger Games character Effie Trinket

Melanie displays a self-crafted cosplay of Hunger Games character Effie Trinket.

Melanie displays a self-crafted cosplay of Hunger Games character Effie Trinket

Melanie displays a self-crafted cosplay of Hunger Games character Effie Trinket.

social media

Tell us about yourself and what lead to your interest in innovation and entrepreneurship?
I’ve loved creating for as long as I can remember – at kindergarten I spent my days in the art corner painting, screenprinting, sculpting, and letting my imagination run wild! Since then, I’ve spent my time honing my skills in sewing and other textile crafts (including pattern drafting, embroidery, corsetry, weaving, knitting, and leatherwork) as well as trying my hand at everything from CAD modelling to chainmaille. At high school I participated in the Young Innovators competition, where I won the senior Supreme award and the people’s choice award. That’s when I realised I could couple my love of creating with the excitement of innovation.

What made you decide to apply to be a technician at Unleash Space and what will your role be?
As soon a I heard about Unleash Space, I knew it was the place for me! I love to learn new crafts, and I love to pass on the knowledge I’ve developed through years of trial and error to others – the creative technician role at Unleash Space allows me to do both! I’m a creative technologist, focused on the sewing/arts and crafts areas (I’ll be running training sessions and workshops as well as helping out anyone that needs it) but you might also see me in the Collide Space working on my latest idea, or learning more about all the other awesome tools in the Create Space. If you see me around, come and say hi!

What are you most looking forward to at Unleash Space and what opportunities do you think it particularly provides to students?
Since moving to Auckland for uni, I’ve really missed having a workshop space filled with tools and materials that I can use for projects (thanks Dad!). Unleash Space gives all of the creative people at the University of Auckland a place to work on their projects, which may be outside the scope of what they’re studying (hey, I’m a Chemical & Materials engineering student who spends her free time making costumes). But, more than that, it gives us a space to get together, to collaborate, and to innovate – making our ideas even greater than if we were to slave away on them alone in a shed.

What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I always like to have several projects on the go. I’m looking forward to graduating and bringing my creativity into the professional engineering community, particularly my ideas around sustainability and the development of more environmentally friendly solutions. At the moment, I’m obsessed with tiny houses, and I’d love to try my hand at building my own tiny house on wheels to live in. And, of course, I still love sewing and am looking forward to further developing my skills in that area.

Anything else you want to say about Unleash Space?
I’m so excited to be a part of Unleash, and I’d love to encourage everyone to come and use the space! Even if you’ve never made anything before, we have a team of passionate creative techs here to help.

Melanie Duff is a Creative Technologist at Unleash Space. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemicals and Materials) at the University of Auckland.


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