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Tutor Profiles

Aki Baggott


As a potter Aki is influenced by the many nameless craftspeople of the Mingei (Japanese folk art movement) era, when the their community was inclusive and harmonious, and art and craft were on a par. Aki trained in Japan in Toyko, Mashiko and Nagano with various master potters before coming to New Zealand. Here, she was mentored by Jenny Shearer, Jean Halstead and Shige Ohashi.

In 2015 Aki won the 3D Award at the Mahara Gallery Arts Review. After more than two decades of creating functional yet beautiful domestic ware, she now enjoys working with clay with people from the wider community and is amazed by the beauty they create. 

Anna Burns

Creative arts tutor

Anna has a BA Visual Art (Hons) and BEd (Art and Special Needs) and is studying for a diploma in Holistic Integrated Creative Arts Therapies. She sees her role as a facilitator, developing skills and awareness of ways of expression – whether in visual art, drama or dance. The processes involved in art production such as setting up our space and cleaning equipment are also part of the therapeutic nature of art, encouraging us to become grounded and connected.

She has many years’ experience in the arts, working with a wide variety of community groups and participants, including running a Nature Play programme for children for the past three years. 

Ellen-Jane Gee

Visual arts tutor

Ellen-Jane is a member of ANZACATA, the professional body representing arts therapists in New Zealand, Australia and Asia. She describes herself as an “eclectic artist” who uses digital media, installation, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture and painting. She qualified as a creative arts therapist in 2021 and has extensive experience working alongside marginalised communities and people with neurodiversity.

She says that by telling our stories through art we can find pathways to wellness, recovery and transformation. Projects she is working on include community art spaces; trauma informed teaching workshops; arts in education; and wellness seminars to the construction industry.

Sumara Fraser

Dance tutor 

After graduating from Auckland Performing Arts School in 1995, Sumara worked professionally with Footnote Dance and Touch Compass. She also freelanced with various contemporary and commercial companies such as Eric Languet, Paul Jendon and the Beat Girls before pausing to raise two children. During this time, she also taught contemporary dance.

In 2010, with the guidance and support of Touch Compass, Sumara set up WIDance (Wellington Inclusive Dance). WIDance has grown deep roots and wide branches, and now provides outreach classes and workshops, and community performances in the Wellington region. Under the artistic director of Sumara, WIDance aims to change perceptions of disability and who can dance through performance, high visibility and inclusion.

Susan Wildblood

Mixed media art tutor

Susan began her creative career as a Display Artist at James Smiths (Wellington Dept. store), then later as Visual Merchandising Manager for Kirkcaldie & Stains (Wellington Dept. store), designing and building props and decorations for both instore and window displays.Her love for art has grown and developed through many of her own successful projects from paintings, portrait work, jewellery and sculptures to writing and illustrating children’s books. The passion to teach art to both adults and children has always been there and has included running her own after school art classes for 6 years where she taught drawing, painting and craft skills along with more complex technical skills in sculpting, mosaics and puppetry.

“Watching students confidence grow through art practice is an amazing experience for both student and tutor. Being able to pass on skills and techniques to our future creatives has to be one of my most proud and satisfying achievements of my career.”

Susannah Neil Tierney

Music tutor

Susannah is a multi-instrumentalist with a background in classical and contemporary music. She has played piano since the age of five and also plays the guitar, drums, ukulele and the Irish tin whistle. She has a degree in psychology and music and is currently studying a Masters in Music Therapy at Victoria University. 

Susannah spent 5 years with the renowned children's music charity StarJam and has considerable experience working with and empowering marginalised members in our community. Susannah thrives on guiding people to reach their musical potential while also adapting to make music accessible to everyone, regardless of skill level.












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