The Team

 Ceramical Genius Teffany ThiedemanTeffany Thiedeman

Teffany holds a Bachelor of Visual Art from the Canberra Institute of the Arts, ANU, holds a flourishing arts practice which exhibits 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.

301745_352459768143770_1359815209_nMathew Long

Mathew is a founding member of Aeonclave, including 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. From this foundation he has continued to study and read extensively in history, literature and esoteric fields, and has travelled for particular cultural pursuits especially in India, Tibet, Mexico and Japan.

Mathew and Teffany have together raised a family. Their children Ochre and Enki have been a wonderful source of learning and inspiration, and they have both grown-up in and around Aeoncademy, now working in its centre as trainee program Facilitators.

Mathew has trained and coached in sports and the martial arts, especially Judo. He has studied traditional Tibetan Medicine at the Shang Shung Institute (USA) for the preservation and study of Tibetan culture, as well as Yantra Yoga, the ancient Tibetan Yoga of Movement, through its sister organisations. He is a qualified Yantra Yoga Instructor, and is Vice President of the Shang Shung Institute in Australia. Mathew has also always written, and has penned a large number of dramatic (historical and fantasy) adventure modules for Aeoncademy’s Vala program, in addition to turning his hand to writing for adults, with a screenplay, ‘Blood & Mortar’, being produced as an independent feature film due for release in 2017.

Mathew was the Service Director of Aeoncademy from its earliest days until recently. He continues to be a Creative Director as well as the 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. Through Mathew’s ongoing  engagement with culture and the transmission of culture he developed the systems of dramatisation and interactive storytelling that characterise the Vala Program in particular. Mathew hopes that the preservation of ancient methods and their enhancement with contemporary developments is proving beneficial to the educational experience of children. Mathew follows through in his work by engaging directly in the training of young people to take an active role themselves in the whole 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!

Anna Wishart

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, exploring different educational environments and pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at the ANU alongside a Diploma of Education Support.

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 continues to grow as she directs the Sparks Creative Play Program and supports budding facilitators to develop their skills and knowledge.

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.

 Monica Castelo

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.

Monica has been working at Aeoncademy since 2005, taking Creative Catalyst in her own distinct style. She speaks fluent Spanish, and has consulted on a number of large arts events in and around Canberra. She takes our Monday and Tuesday after school art classes and steps in during the holidays to help out with a class here and there as well.

Saadia Sami

Saadia is a business graduate from Pakistan. She has moved to Australia about 2 and a half years back and 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. She was a very active member of the Youth Committee of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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. Saadia is currently studying her Certificate III in Childcare Education and Care. She has recently joined the team at Aeon and is working as our fantastic Office Manager.

Luke Jordan

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.

DieterDieter Schmid

Many of you will be familiar with Dieter Schmid’s friendly face. He has been associated with Aeoncademy on and off since 2002. Born and bred in Canberra, he even did a ceramic class way back in the olden days in Teffany’s home studio…

Dieter has a committed relationship with the arts holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts from RMIT and a Graduate Certificate of Digital ARTS from the ANU. He  exhibited and collaborated on a series of projects around Melbourne, working predominately with multi-media installations with a particular focus on sound.

Since returning to Canberra in 2014, he has come to be a significant and valuable member of the team — rapidly skilling up in our Vala Dramatic Adventures under the support of Mathew Long and Andrew Yallop, and Sparks Creative Play with Anna Wishart.

Recently he has been in Creative Catalyst, assisting Isabelle Mackay-Sim with the 2D drawing and painting class, which he will be now facilitating on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


Raimon Andrews

Rai attended our Vala program back in 2010, and has at long last returned to pick up the mantle of the ‘Yellow Fellow’ he played back then. Rai is studying a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and has years of experience in Outside School Hours Care.

Raimon’s  musical and creative endeavours have helped him settle right on in at Aeoncademy.

Rai  leads our Mini Sparks program across the week where he actively nurtures the creative spark of our newest student members. His passion for music and his attentiveness, calmness and creative skills are all being put to good use.

Annika Presser-King

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.


Ella Brissenden

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. Having recently taken on the role of Sparks Facilitator, she is keen to continue building a creative and imaginative play environment for our youngest students.

Stephanie Cox

Steph is a student at the ANU, underway with a bachelor of Arts and a focus on Literature and International Development  After joining Aeoncademy partway through 2016, she’s rapidly become part of the crew as a Facilitator in our Vala program.

Steph is involved in Slam Poetry, various creative projects including a journalistic review of student activist groups and mental health. Steph is widely travelled, having lived in and explored countries as far flung as Mauritius, Tanzania, and Ecuador, Samoa, Chile, India, Nepal and more, and brings a wealth of cultural knowledge from the places she’s lived over the years. Her literary interests help Steph bring stories from the Vala program to life in an engaging and insightful way.

Ochre Bodhi

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 Rigdzin

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.

Isabelle Mackay-Sim

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.

Our Assistants

At Aeoncademy, we pride ourselves on our team, from our Founders and Directors, all the way to our Assistants and support team. Our assistants are uniquely experienced in the program, in the arts, and in engaging children in Education through Creativity. Under the steady hand of our expert facilitators, our Assistants can be found helping nurture the Creative Spark around all of Aeoncademy.

Maxwell De Kievith

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 is another example of our Graduate team, and has been attending Aeoncademy from back in the days of Teff’s studio. Alex’s mum, Tracy, has been a guest facilitator of our Catalyst program, and Alex’s passion for the arts has kept him coming along and growing into the Assistant role at Aeoncademy with aplomb.

George Breynard

George is another member of our Graduate team, starting out way back in our Creative Catalyst program’s early days. George has quickly succeeded through our Shifting Sands program to discover our Vala program, and has a passion for providing the unique stories we tell.