The Team

Teffany Theideman

Teffany Theideman

Founder, Program & Artistic Director

Teffany holds a Bachelor of Visual Art from the Canberra Institute of the Arts, ANU, exhibits her art work widely, and has studied support of people with Autism under the Thomas Wright Institute. She is a founding member of Aeoncademy in partnership with Mathew Long, and a co-founder of Aeon Arts. Teffany started offering Visual Arts workshops for children in 1996, beginning at Telopea Park School. These workshops formed the foundation of Aeoncademy’s Creative Catalyst. In the Spring of 2000 she launched a pilot school holiday workshop at her home studio, a program which rapidly outgrew the bounds of her personal studio. At this point, Yarralumla Primary School invited Teffany to bring her unique program, Creative Catalyst, to the school that Teffany attended as a child. The program has since grown into a widely successful children’s service in residence. Teffany also runs a successful art practice, having been awarded the Queen’s Trust in 1998, allowing her to travel India to learn techniques from the great subcontinent. She has also won the Poyntzpass Pioneers Ceramics Award in 1999, and numerous other awards on the way to being awarded the Artist in Residence Program at Torrens Primary School, in 2013.

Mathew Long

Mathew Long

Founder & Executive Director

Mathew is a founding member of Aeoncademy, in partnership with Teffany Thiedeman. Born and bred in Tasmania he developed a strong interest in culture, writing and the transmission of culture in his early years, and went on to graduate from the Australian National University in Canberra,  majoring in Anthropology, Archaeology and History. He continues to study and read extensively in history, literature and esoteric fields, and has travelled extensively in India, Tibet, Mexico and Japan. Mathew and Teffany have together raised their children Ochre and Enki who are both now working as program Facilitators. He has trained and coached in sports and the martial arts, has studied traditional Tibetan Medicine and Yantra Yoga. He is a qualified Yogas Instructor, and is Vice President of the Shang Shung Institute in Australia. Mathew has written many dramatic adventure modules for the Vala program, and has written a screenplay, 'Blood & Mortar', being produced as an independent feature film due for release in 2019. Mathew is the Creative Director and Program Director of his special creation- 'Vala'. Mathew has infused Aeoncademy, and it's philosophy of education through creativity, with much of what he has learned in his research and travels enabling him to develop the systems of dramatisation and interactive storytelling that characterise the Vala Program. Mathew hopes that the preservation of ancient methods of storytelling and their enhancement with contemporary developments will continue to prove beneficial to the educational experience of children and young people who train with Aeoncademy and allow them to take an active role themselves in the ongoing cycle of cultural enrichment and education through creativity. He is very proud of the young people who have come up under his and Teffany's 'wings', and who are now flying high!

Monica Castelo

Monica Castelo

Centre Manager Director

Monica is a contemporary of Teffany's from their days in the ANU School of Art, and holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Ceramics and a Diploma of Education. She has spent a lot of her career teaching in schools and maintaining her own arts practice. She speaks fluent Spanish, and has consulted on a number of large arts events in and around Canberra. Monica has been working at Aeoncademy since 2005, facilitating Creative Catalyst in her own distinct style. While she continues to step in during the holiday Catalyst workshops to teach painting, Ceramics and more - which she loves - she also now wears the hat of Centre Manager helping to keep the many balls rolling that help deliver Aeoncademy's amazing programs to all our wonderful  students. When not busy at Aeoncademy, Monica can be found digging holes, swimming in creeks and exploring the fantastic fauna and flora of her bush home 'the Wilde'.

Anna Wishart

Anna Wishart

Centre Manager

A thirst for knowledge and a curiosity about the world around her has led Anna to spend time working on organic farms, travelling the world, helping Teffany in her arts practice, assisting on alternative building projects and exploring different educational environments. She holds a Diploma of Education Support and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at the ANU. Anna’s journey with Aeoncademy started in 2010 when she began work as the general hand; catering, cleaning and assisting in the other rooms. Her role has only grown from there as Aeoncademy has developed. In 2012, Anna started to work with our youngest class, the Sparks, and developed the program from our smallest, fledgeling program to an absolute powerhouse of creative education. Anna’s role at Aeoncademy has continued to grow and as Assistant Centre Manager she now plays a key role in supporting staff, students and families across all our programs and workshops to make the most of what Aeoncademy has to offer. Cycling, bushwalking, artistic pursuits such as weaving and drawing, cooking and gardening take up the majority of her spare time although she always has time for a good book or a new adventure.

Saadia Sami

Saadia Sami

Office Manager

Saadia is a business graduate and holds a Certificate III in Childcare Education and Care. She has recently joined the team at Aeon and is working as our fantastic Office Manager. She moved to Australia two years ago from Pakistan and is enjoying the laid back life style in Canberra, living with her daughter and husband. Saadia was previously running her own business - an outdoor adventure equipment store! She has represented Pakistan in the Commonwealth Youth Entrepreneurship Conference held in Noida in 2007 and was a very active member of the Youth Committee of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce. Saadia has grown up reading Enid Blyton’s Famous Five & Secret Seven and has had a dream of owing a caravan and gearing up for adventures with her small family (which she thinks she will be able to do in Australia’s beautiful and welcoming outback). She loves camping, rock climbing, travelling and experimenting with different cuisines in her kitchen. 

Luke Jordan

Luke Jordan

Facilitator & Vala Program Manager

Luke holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Anthropology from the ANU. He also holds the record for the longest apprenticeship in Room V, having spent 3 full years honing his craft and waiting to get the chance to take the reins.  Luke began attending Aeoncademy in 2003 and has not missed a program since (including October 2012, when he showed up on the final Friday despite flying back from Japan the day before). Luke joined Room V’s apprenticeship program in Autumn 2006, volunteering there until he began working as an Assistant during the Summer of 2009.  With the encouragement of Mathew and Andrew (and the entire Aeon team) Luke has pursued his interest in roleplaying and writing in various directions, including taking home the Best New Designer award from Canberra’s local roleplaying convention in 2014. He has also delved into the study of history, religion, and mythology, including trips to Japan (in 2012) and Ireland (in 2013) to do first-hand research for Room V programming.

Ochre Bodhi

Ochre Bodhi

Facilitator

Ochre is currently a full time student at ANU studying a Bachelor of Arts. When Ochre is not at university she enjoys a range of creative activities in her spare time. Ochre main medium is clay but she also works with macrame making jewellery (and odd bits and pieces) and occasionally helps create decor at music and lifestyle festivals all over Australia. Ochre has been involved with Aeoncademy since it’s beginning. At 4 years old she had her hands in clay and was creating. Ochre has been attending Creative Catalyst workshops since they first began in her mum (Teffany’s) home studio. Now she is being trained up under Teffany’s wing to become a Catalyst Facilitator herself!

Enki Ridgzin

Enki Ridgzin

Facilitator

Enki has been in and around Aeoncademy since its creation. He has recently graduated from Narrabundah college and has deferred further studies at the ANU, instead taking a gap year with plans to travel and experience other places and cultures, to follow on from his experiences in India, Uluru, Mexico and more. These experiences, he hopes, will help him improve in his training to becoming a Vala facilitator. Enki is a former Australian Judo representative and has always been interested in the martial arts. This follows through to an interest in the historical authenticity of the live action and boffer weapon play areas of the Vala program. Enki has grown up surrounded by the art of his mum, Teffany and storytelling with his dad, Mathew which has created a strong interest in both the dramatic adventure and visual art sides of Aeoncademy. Enki has watched Aeoncademy go from a tiny family business in his mum’s home studio to a thriving powerhouse of Education through Creativity, and would love to see it continue to develop and grow whilst keeping the friendly and very expert creative program and environment that Aeoncademy has.

Steph Cox

Steph Cox

Facilitator

Steph  joined Aeoncademy in 2016 and was quickly welcomed into the Vala fold becoming Vala’s first female Facilitator. She studies literature and sociology at the ANU, with a particular interest in colonialism and international development.  Having lived in and explored countries as far-flung as Samoa, Tanzania, Ecuador, and Nepal, Steph brings a wealth of cultural knowledge and a passion for new perspectives to Aeoncademy. Her creative interests are also wide ranging, and she always has a project or two on the go – writing poetry, mucking about in the garden, and illustrating comics are some of her more recent pursui Steff is driven by the imaginative connections children make during play between their own and other worlds.

Bridie Mackay

Bridie Mackay

Facilitator

Bridie is our newest Creative Catalyst Facilitator joining Aeoncademy in 2018. As a fresh graduate of the ANU School of Art and Design, where Bridie majored in Print Media and drawing, she has experimented in a variety of mediums and materials. Her practice has ranged from large scale installations, projections, textile work, explorative paintings to more intricate drawings. Bridie has also completed a Certificate Three in Children's Services and has had a lot of experience working in childcare centres as well as after school care services. Bridie is eager to apply all these skills and knowledge to inspire young people to think creatively and to be passionate about visual arts.

Isabelle Mackay-Sim

Isabelle Mackay-Sim

Facilitator

One of our fantastic in-house recruits, Isabelle started attending Aeoncademy around 5 years of age. Her life-long interest in Visual Arts has led to her Bachelor of Visual Art from the ANU, her own artistic practice - with a number of recent exhibitions, including Divergence, and has received a number of awards for her innovations and creativity in the Arts, including the Boronia EASS award, the NGA Summer Scholarship, and both awards and residencies from the Canberra Potters Society. Isabelle continues to work in Aeoncademy's outside school-hours education service, as well as working with Teffany in her studio on a few different projects. Isabelle showcases her own artwork on her website.

Ella Brissendon

Ella Brissendon

Facilitator

Ella is currently undertaking a Bachelor of International Relations as well as a Bachelor of Languages. A fluent French speaker, she is also studying Arabic, Persian, and Spanish. As a 6 year old in the days of Teffany’s home art studio, Aeoncademy fostered her lifelong love of art in all its forms. Ella joined our volunteer program in late high school and became an assistant in the Creative Catalyst and Sparks programs shortly after. She currently Facilitates across Sparks and Catalyst nurturing the creative spark in all our students.

Rai Andrews

Rai Andrews

Facilitator

Rai is the Mini-Sparks Program Facilitator, leading their activities across the week, introducing them to the many different aspects of Aeoncademy and nurturing their Creative Spark. Rai attended our Vala program back in 2010, and rejoined us in 2017, no longer a student but a Facilitator. Rai has had years of experience in Outside School Hours and Holiday Care, including running his own music program. Rai has a strong passion for music and has studied & performed music for over a decade. He incorporates different aspects of  music in his teaching and is an available source of musical knowledge for the children.

Annika Presser-King

Annika Presser-King

Facilitator

Annika is studying a Bachelor of Primary Education (Creative Arts) at the University of Canberra and has an Advanced Diploma in teaching English as a second language. Annika has been enthusiastic about education ever since she started babysitting at 9 years old. Having grown up deeply involved in the creative arts, Annika is very passionate about Education through Creativity, and working with children is absolutely second nature to her. Entering the service as an assistant, Annika has been rapidly progressing through training programs and has taken on a role as a Sparks facilitator. Annika is excited to be involved in our Sparks program, and has demonstrated her ability to organise and run fantastic classes that truly represent the values of Aeoncademy.

Maxwell De Kievith

Maxwell De Kievith

Facilitator

Max is a perpetually friendly face, and a member of our Graduate team, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Education. Max got his start in our Creative Catalyst program in 2008, and has joined our Vala and Sparks team with a passion for games and creative play. Over the last five years Max has proven himself to be an eager and reliable member of our team.

Alex Sarsfield

Alex Sarsfield

Facilitator

Alex is another example of our Graduate team, and has been attending Aeoncademy from back in the days of Teff’s studio. Alex’s passion for the visual arts has made him a valuable assistant in Creative Catalyst while his new found interest in the culinary arts has enabled him to take up the role of Facilitator in our Cornucopia program with aplomb.

George Breynard

George Breynard

Facilitator

George joined us as one of our Assistant Facilitators for the 2015 summer vacation program after volunteering at Aeoncademy throughout high school. He has been a passionate part of both the Vala and Catalyst story since he could flick a paint brush and roll a d20, often at the same time. He loves playing out a good story in good company. George graduated from Dickson College in 2017 where he enjoyed courses in physics, maths, drama, global studies and astrophysics. He is now picking his way through a double degree at ANU in International Security Studies and Physics, with sides of sculpture and philosophy. He is also a regular weekend role-player and has an insatiable curiosity for culture, creativity and community - in all its forms.  

Mim De Kievith

Mim De Kievith

Assistant Facilitator

As one of our newest recruits Mim has taken to Aeoncademy like a duck to water. Shining brightly as an Assistant Facilitator across all our programs she has brought a contagious smile and irrepressible enthusiasm to our team.