The Arts

Dan Whiteson –Still Life & Life Drawing Dan is a young portrait/figurative painter and teacher fromLondon. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, he now works out of studio in Hackney Central, consistently showing his work as part of group exhibitions over the four years since, and culminating in his first solo show of portraits in March 2012. In late 2010, he started up his own brand of informal life drawing classes in Stoke Newington, North London in order to support his practise and to spread his passion for drawing, painting and creativity in general. The classes proved so popular that he now runs drawing and painting classes in various venues across London, and has recently been confirmed as leader of life drawing classes at The Wallace Collection (starting October 2014).

Daisy Surgey-Creative Threads- Daisy’s class has recently merged with the Sewing class, so Wednesday mornings are now even more creative! Daisy grew up around sewing and the women in her family have all followed creative paths; her grandmother was an avid knitter and built up a knitting business from scratch, while her auntie works in the fashion industry and her mother is a curtain maker. But Daisy didn’t really get a taste for sewing as a career until her early 20’s. She studied Fashion Design and has experience in pattern cutting, design and garment construction. Daisy has always been very thrifty and loves the make-do-and-mend culture and repairing and transforming garments over buying new. After learning more about the fashion industry and how wasteful it is, instead of becoming a part of this, she decided to share the skills she had learnt and started her own business teaching sewing and up cycling crafts, to educate people about how they can make-do and waste less. She loves vintage clothing especially the shapes from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Derek Ogbourne – Painting and Drawing After studying at the Slade School in the 1980’s Derek Ogbourne has continually exhibited internationally to the present day. Key shows include What makes me, what makes you, South London Gallery, Space International, Valencia, Spain, Century City, Tate Modern and his most recent touring show Museum of Optography, The Purple Chamber that has just finished a three month run at Sharjah Art Foundation, U.A.E. He has been involved with art education both as student and teacher/tutor for 31 years. He has taught/lectured/tutored students from non-qualification, pre-foundation to M.A level since 1992. The shear diversity of his own art practice allows him to respond to the diversity of almost all student needs.

Ellie Lowenthal – Drama and Theatre Club Ellie is a freelance actor and private tutor, she studied geography at Keble College, Oxford. While at Oxford, she took part in many theatrical productions as an actor, director, and producer, including playing Helena in a tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream around Japan. She was a member of the Experimental Theatre Club and President of the O’Reilly Theatre. She has a keen fondness for tea and good food.

Jacqui Condon and Vivienne McMaster – Bus Pass to Broadway Jacqui, an ex-dancer and fitness instructor and Vivienne, a singer/actress have over 70 years combined experience in entertainment. Of this new and extremely fun course, Vivienne points out “It’s been amazing to see our students blossom.  This type of exercise brings a growing confidence as new skills, friendships and an increased capacity for joy is realised”.

Marianne Astor – Tapestry and Needlepoint Needlework has been a constant in Marianne’s life after her Hungarian grandmother taught her the rudiments. The fun began when she lived in California and started using different threads, colours and stitches to create interest and texture. The class will be aimed at beginners and a simple canvas will be provided to teach the basics and get you interested! It will be a project that should not take too long as the real joy is in finishing! If you are already doing a project (with the exception of cross stitch) and would like to work on that please bring it. Needlework is very helpful as a tool in times of stress! 6 threads a day! 

Peter Dunn  –  is lead artist and Director of ART.e @ the art of change,  as a legacy organisation of The Art of Change, and the Docklands Community Poster Project, both of which he co-founded. He has major public artworks in: Portsmouth, Stevenage, Gravesend, Bournemouth, Oxford and London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Camden & Islington, Hackney, Southwark and Lewisham. See He has exhibited at Tate Briton, Serpentine and Whitechapel Galleries, the V&A and Barbican, Documenta 6 Germany, Swiss National Museum and recently at Reina Sophia Madrid. He has lectured at a variety of Colleges and universities including ‘Distinguished Visiting Professor’ at University of California,Davis, and the Cranbrook Academy in Detroit. He was Course Director of the M.A. in Art and Media Practice and Director of Studies (PhD) at University of Westminster between 2004-11.

Robert Silver-  Creative Writing, Poetry and English Conversation. In 1985 Robert left a career as a potter to enter the world of academia which he left with an MA in Modern English literature. (His research interests focused on audiences and the ways they make use of narratives.) This was followed by almost 20 years as a freelance journalist. In this course he looks at a variety of non-fiction texts and discusses the issues they raise, both intentionally and unintentionally.


Lindale Thompson – Bokwa Lindale was very active in the New York entertainment scene, taking on roles as an actor, producer and director for television, stage and screen.  Since returning to England, Lindale has developed a dance career, performing and teaching dance workshops around the country. Lindale is a UKA qualified Lambada and is the originator of Lyrical Zouk; Lambada Zouk London style.  Lindale is also a qualified Zumba and Bokwa teacher.

Oleg Storozhuk – Latin Burn Born in Ukraine, Oleg started dancing at 5 years old at dance school “Inspiration” in Vinnitsa, Ukraine.  Further study at The Kharkov State Academy of Physical Culture (2000-2005) focused on ballroom choreography and directing and 2001-2003 was the Champion of Ukraine in Ballroom & Latin. Oleg’s teaching career started when 16 years old at a local dance school and subsequent schools and dancing clubs in Ukraine and Russia. Oleg moved to the UK in 2007 and the next year became a semi-finalist in Closed British Championship and is currently dancing internationally and teaching Ballroom and Latin classes in London.

Rachel Teasdale – Stretch & Tone Rachel is a classically trained former dancer with over 10 years experience of working within the health and fitness industry. She is a personal trainer to many well-known personalities in the fashion industry.

Rafael Ramos Garcia – Kundalini Yoga/Meditation Rafael Ramos (aka Raghurai Singh) grew up in a small farming community cultivating wine, and went to his local school in Valencia, Spain. Since 2005 he has been teaching Kundalini Yoga/Meditation at various yoga and local sports centres. He is a Professional Teacher Trainer of Kundalini Yoga/Meditation for the Karam Kriya School – currently based at The Alchemy centre for yoga and meditation in London – and in various cities in Spain and Portugal. He has also taught a counselling diploma for 8 years at Westminster Adult Education Services, has a private practice in counselling and psychotherapy, and is part of the Multi-ethnic team of counsellors at Waterloo Community Counselling.

Rhiann Keys – Body Well-Being Pilates Rhiann is an ex professional ballet dancer and qualified pilates instructor.

She developed the BalletFit programme for English National Ballet 3 years ago, and has been teaching it there ever since. It has been a huge success!

Rhiann has an extensive knowledge of clinical pilates; running a pilates studio in a physiotherapy practice for 6 years. She also created a Back Care programme which is implemented in city based corporations for employees needing to self manage their aches and pains.

Susanne Guyler- Staying Strong Yoga- Susanne has been practising Yoga for over 30 years. She trained at Trimutri Yoga TTC Agonda, in Goa. Although she trained in India with a strong emphasis on the spiritual and philosophical side, she believes in adapting each class individually to suit the particular students abilities, energies and needs on any particular day and whichever setting/country. Susanne is also trained in dance and attended The Drama Centre London.

Vivian Perez – Zumba Vivian Perez is a fully qualified Zumba Fitness Instructor. Zumba is a Latin Inspired Fitness Programme designed for people of all ages, sexes, backgrounds and nationalities. This Programme incorporates a fusion of easy to follow dance and aerobic moves, making the workout safe, fun and effective. Vivian is a licensed Zumba teacher and is also licensed to teach body sculpting using Zumba toning sticks. Join our friendly Zumba class and experience the physical, mental and spiritual benefits! I guarantee you will come out with a smile on your face!

Brain Fitness

Anne Stones – Advanced French Anne worked as a teacher and then head mistress of a private French school in London before retiring.  After retirement she became voluntary adviser to a bilingual school and has since set up the advanced French class at Open Age.

Jon Goff – Philosophy  Jon started reading philosophy as a teenager and over the years, which included formal study in the cognitive sciences, has gradually developed his thinking in diverse areas of philosophy and psychology, which he teaches to adults. He has come to think that thought – rather like nature – goes its own way, and one just follows, sometimes thinking together with others, sometimes not.

Maggie Tyler and Sue Snyder – Local History Walks and Talks Maggie Tyler has worked for many years with groups on local history and reminiscence projects in Kensington & Chelsea and the surrounding boroughs. She worked with HISTORYtalk and has for a number of years coordinated the Gloucester Court Reminiscence Group while also working as a tutor with Open Age.  She is particularly interested in the social history of communities and encouraging people to share and compare their own stories. Sue Snyder worked for many years for HISTORYtalk, a voluntary organisation that ran projects based on the local and community history of North Kensington.  These projects led to the publication by HISTORYtalk of various books and also to the research of local history material, both from RBK&C’s Local studies archive and from individuals.  Using the many resources compiled over the years, Sue shares, through slide shows, and local history walks the varied histories of North Kensington and the surrounding areas. Members are encouraged to share their own stories and experiences.

Ryan Cigana – History of Art- Having read Philosophy and Art History at The University of Sydney, Ryan went on to hold positions at the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales and The Moran Arts Foundation (Australia’s richest art prize). Outside museums and galleries, he has also worked for Auction Houses, including a junior position at Sotheby’s Australia. Arriving in London recently, to begin studies at The Courtauld Institute of Art, Ryan looks forward to having discussions around his research interests, such as, friendships between artists; building private collections; consumerism in Renaissance Italy; art criticism today; the future role of Public galleries.

IT and Life Coaching

Lena Dekair Lena a qualified  ICT Tutor and Assessor.  Lena holds a Master degree on Advance Information Technology from London South Bank university ended teaching IT courses in all levels.  Lena started teaching at Open Age in January 2006 and since then she had taught different courses at different community venues.Lena is very patient and enthusiastic and keen to safer knowledge and skills with learners.

 Zarqa Sethi Zarqa is a qualified ICT teacher and a Workplace Coach. She went to learn sewing as a hobby at a local adult college and as she had a degree in ICT ended up teaching IT courses at the college and 14 years later she is still teaching there. As well as teaching she also provides coaching and training for staff in various aspects. She started teaching at Open Age in April 2014. From Sept 2014 she will be teaching courses such as IPads, Beginners IT,  Social Networking, Online Shopping and Cloud Computing. She believes that her greatest teaching assets are her approachable personality and patience with students of all ages, especially adults. She is very comfortable teaching students over the age of 50. Her oldest learners were a couple who successfully passed an accredited 10 week beginners IT course at the age of 93.

Ivor (Ives) David has been teaching many different aspects of Information Technology (IT) since 1997. He became a fully qualified teacher in 2007. In 2008 he was employed full time in a primary school as a Network Manager, focusing more on the hardware aspect of IT and providing support for teachers with bespoke and specialised applications. He continued to satisfy his love for teaching by delivering evening computer classes for various colleges and community provisions.Ivor has had a broad spectrum of learners from young offenders to corporate clients, pregnant teens to school teachers. His analogical, simplified and relaxed approach to teaching has allowed him the ability to connect quickly to the students thus making the learning experience less of a chore and more of an enjoyment.He now runs his own IT training business which provides training to school staff, corporate establishments, charities and private individuals.

Cooking and Nutrition

Adam Pawlak- International Cooking – Mexican Adam graduated from cooking school in 2000 in Ostrow wlkp, Poland. After finishing school, he started to work as a chef in a 4 star hotel, Hotel BRYZA, Villa Royal. In 2004 he came to the UK and gained experience as a chef in places such as Alexander House Hotel, Roundebout Hotel, Mandeville, and now he is the head chef at Taqueria mexican restaurant in Notting Hill. The experience that he has gained at Taqueria certainly will use for his future adventures in furthering his culinary knowledge.

Barbara Vittoria – International Cooking: Italian Twenty five years ago Barbara married an Italian and has had a love affair with Italian cooking ever since! For Italians food is a constant source of animated conversation and she always marvels at discussing the dinner menu whilst still enjoying lunch! Barbara learnt how to cook Italians from the experts: the Italian ‘Mama’ who uses the best seasonal ingredients to create simple, delicious meals.

India Lovett – Spanish Cooking After setting up a cooking club at her son’s primary school 6 years ago, India has gone on to work for children’s centres, schools, youth groups and NHS trusts across London, teaching practical cooking skills and inspiring people to make healthier food choices.  Her cooking incorporates a variety of traditions but the emphasis is always on uncomplicated healthy food using affordable and readily available ingredients.   She is passionate about the importance of a healthy diet to health and well-being and is currently training to become a nutritional therapist at the College of Naturopathic Medicine, London

Maria Vlotides – Herbal Medicine Workshop Maria qualified as a medical herbalist from the University of Westminster in 2007. She has delivered over a hundred workshops related to herbal medicine, gardening and practical medicine making for Hammersmith Community Gardens Association, Kids Company, Argent, Chelsea Physic Garden, Deen City Farm and CGP Southwark Park. She is the co-author of Pharmapoetica: a dispensary of poetry with poet Chris McCabe, published by Pedestrian Publishing.

Minh-Tam Janssens – Vietnamese Cooking Minh-Tam is a self-taught cook who is passionate about food from around the world and has a particular weakness for cakes. Her style of cooking is uncomplicated but tasty. She loves to explore and experiment with exotic ingredients.

Matoula Ploumidi – Greek Cooking Matoula has been a secondary school teacher for over 20 years, teaching History and Art & Design in Australia, Singapore and the UK. Coming from a large extended Greek family, she had no choice but to learn to cook. Fortunately she loves it and throughout the years has perfected the art of cooking Greek food.

Manju Malhi-Indian Cooking Manju is a chef and cookbook author who’s written 4 cookbooks that are sold globally specialising in good Indian food using good ingredients which are easy and accessible to the audience. She currently has a television show running across Asia that reaches over 800 million viewers encouraging them to get back in the kitchen and cook dishes from scratch. So, through her books, television shows and website (, the common ethos or thread is simplifying the art of cooking and educating and encouraging consumers in knowing what they’re buying and eating.

Siti Radiah Merrett – Nonya/Malay Siti Radiah Merrett is a passionate cook, with many years of experience in catering and in other food activities.  She also has an interest in teaching.  She taught Oriental, Far Eastern, Fusion and European cookery at Kensington and Chelsea College until 2009. Siti has written her first book titled ‘Coconut and Kelupis’, which has been published in her native country, Brunei Darussalam.  Siti will share some Malay as well as Nonya dishes. She believes in a calm approach to cooking using fresh ingredients, food in season and food that heals.

Thin Thin Hlaing – Oriental Cooking Thin Thin has a talent and passion for cooking which she learnt from her mother and aunties in Asia 20 years ago. She enjoys cooking and healthy and very tasty Oriental cuisine, especially Burmese, Chinese, Indian, Thai and Japanese Sushi. She loves delicious foods and appreciates many different types of cuisine. Her hobby is cooking very delicious dishes for friends, family and everybody. Professional experience has included working as a Breakfast Chef in London. She is very patient and enthusiastic and keen to share her cooking knowledge and skills with students and introduce them to Burmese foods- which won the Award for Best Cuisine at the International Gastronomy Festival Huge-2014 in Vietnam.  


Victoria Small– Community Kitchen Garden For Victoria kitchen gardening is a passion. She trained as an artist in Chelsea College (MA), for her kitchen gardening is not just a creative activity, she believes like Geoff Lawton that “all the world´s problem in a garden”. Because of that she took a permaculture course in UK and a kitchen garden course in Spain. She put those into practice in her own kitchen garden for 4 years. Now back in UK, she balances, her art, her gardening and is looking forward to share what she´s learnt and to practice growing in the wonderful St Charles gardening spot with her students. She also has a adult teaching qualification.