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Jonathan Milne

Managing Director and Tutor

Jonathan is The Learning Connexion’s Managing Director. He teaches specialised workshops such as the Creativity, Thinking for a Change and Creative Mind Workshop.


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Dan Wilkinson

Onsite Level 6 Mentor and Drawing Tutor

Dip Art & Creativity (Hons), Cert VCD

Teaching art is something Dan loves to do. He has spent a third of his life passing on artistic and creative knowledge and enjoys watching students progress and develop at their own pace. Dan likes to create an environment where students can express who they are, as well as what they see and feel.

He encourages a balance of working intuitively and developing skills that help to create works that are aesthetically pleasing. Dan's own work mirrors his teaching style; he is constantly evolving as he explores surface and media to satisfy his creative needs. Most of his work is driven by his love and passion for the environment he is surrounded by - Wellington's harbour, and the west and south coast.


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Sarah Brock

Painting and Sculpture Tutor

Sarah teaches painting and sculpture. A working artist, she originally began as a portrait artist and then moved into exploring sculpture.


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Dennis Berdinner

3D Tutor

BA (Hons), Dip Teaching

Dennis is a member of the Sculpture Symposium Trust and tutors students in the techniques of sculpture. Sculpture is a life-long passion. He has been sculpting for as long as he can remember and works with soft and hard stone, wood, metal, snow and ice. His art draws on two sources: the external coastal environment where he lives and the inner world of his own imagination. Dennis likens creating sculpture to a mirror of his awareness and a process of self-revelation: “Through my work I explore my relationship with time, place and people”.

The scale of his commissioned work ranges from hand-held netsuke-like pieces (miniature sculptures invented in 17th-century Japan), through to desk sculpture and larger work for outdoor spaces. Pieces that function as family heirlooms, gifts, adornment and indoor/outdoor installations.


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Belinda Hager

Jewellery Tutor

Belinda learned her skills working for manufacturing jewellers In New Zealand and the UK, and by taking a range of jewellery-related classes at the Sir John Cass School of Art in London. In the 1990s she set up and ran QUOIL contemporary jewellery gallery in Wellington, before moving to the UK in 2008 to study Conservation of Metalwork. Throughout that period, Belinda maintained an exhibition profile, including curating, and taught a variety of jewellery classes. She returned to New Zealand in 2019.


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Mel Ford

Ceramics Tutor


If making art is an open ended question, then Mel reckons her personal creative mantra might go along the lines of, “I wonder what would happen if?”...

Working with students at The Learning Connexion, Mel enjoys being constantly exposed to new creative challenges as she assists students to explore. Constantly learning, it is also rewarding to watch others begin to trust their own intuition and allow their creative processes to unfold.

Part mad scientist, part obsessive compulsive, Mel’s own art making is all about the exploration of an idea, a concept and a material. She believes that the potential of something includes its limitations. The more you play with something the more you know about it. Doing is indeed thinking and knowing is frequently arrived at after a mistake (or three).



Marci Tackett

Printmaking Tutor

BFA Printmaking, BA Humanities

Marci loves the process of making art and being a member of a culture and community invested in nurturing the development of the creative process in all people. Through her personal exploration as an artist and tutor, she has come to understand that anything is attainable if engendered with passion, commitment, patience and knowledge.

“I understand that each of us has a unique story and point of departure for the development of our creativity. I value the opportunity to work with people from diverse backgrounds, interests and goals. These differing perspectives and experiences create compelling dialogues, producing even more vital works of art.”



Linda Evangaline-Smith

Printmaking Tutor, Mentor

MEd, Diploma of Art and Creativity (Advanced)

Linda Evangaline-Smith is a mentor and tutor with a passion for all things to do with printmaking – but life drawing, illustration, painting and construction are all keen interests.
Problem solving and learning new things and ways of making are always going to be a focus and motivator in her creative practice. The hands-on, energetic and getting messy way of learning and teaching is an approach that Linda enjoys most.

Linda has a Master’s Degree in Education and is a qualified teacher. She studied with The Learning Connexion from level 4 right through to graduating with Advanced Diploma in Art and Creativity. She is an active maker and shows her work in exhibitions frequently.



Marc Hill

Painting Tutor

Marc’s background is in film and the stage. He started out at Shepperton Studios in London where he worked his way up from stage-hand to art director, and eventually to producer. He has been lucky to work with many highly creative people such as Terry Gilliam, Bookbinder, Duffy, Ridley Scott, Genesis, HR Giger and Bernd Benthaak. They taught him many valuable lessons for which he is eternally grateful.


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Karla Vink

Onsite Level 4 Mentor and Certificate Tutor

Dip Applied Art & Design, Dip Art & Creativity (Hons)

Karla’s background is in graphic design and illustration. Hailing from Taranaki, she has worked in the creative industry for more than 10 years. A former student and graduate of The Learning Connexion, Karla moved to Wellington for a change of scenery and to explore the fine art side of her creativity. As a student she felt she had found a place where there was the freedom to explore, make mistakes and learn, not just from tutors, but fellow students.

“I feel privileged to be part of our students creativity journey”.

On completing her Honours Diploma Karla become part of The Learning Connexion team as an on-site Certificate tutor and distance delivery mentor. Her own work explores a wide range of media, but oils are her preferred medium.


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Alayna Flighty

Distance Delivery Mentor

PGDipEd, BA (Drama & Media Studies), Level 4 Cert in Creativity & Level 5 Diploma in Creativity

Alayna Flighty is a visual artist, mentor, and teacher who is passionate about helping others discover and nurture their inner creativity. She believes that anything is possible if approached with passion, commitment, patience, and knowledge.

Alayna's own work explores the complexity of the chaotic and imperfect, intuition, and trusting your gut. She strives to show that chaos and imperfection are not something to be avoided, but rather embraced as a source of creativity, resilience, and joy.



Keri-Mei Zagrobelna

Jewellery Tutor, Mentor

Keri-Mei is from a background entwined in museums and art galleries. Although she has experience in a range of creative materials and techniques her chosen medium is adornment and jewellery based. As well as her art practice she holds a history of public talks, lectures and teaching.

Keri-Mei's iwi affiliations are Te Ati-Āwa and Whānau-ā-Apanui.


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Justine Turnbull

Onsite Level 5 Mentor


Justine is a neo-romantic painter and recently graduated with an MFA from Dunedin School of Art. She lives in Wellington with her two beautiful children and dog, Halo. Justine is an onsite Level 5 Mentor at the Learning Connexion. You can view her work at www.justine-turnbull-art.com



Dennis Poole


BA (Hons), MA, Dip Art and Creativity (Hons)

As a freelance illustrator, Dennis has worked on a variety of projects such as spot illustrations, full-page illustrations, graphic novels and interactive digital products requiring movable picture elements. He has produced work in full colour and in black and white. While his professional career focused on producing digital illustrations on computer, he is also familiar with traditional 2D media such as watercolour and acrylic paints, pen and ink, gouache and coloured pencil.

At TLC Dennis works as a Distance Delivery Mentor. He understands that the creative journey is a very personal one, and that each student must ultimately decide what their goals are. Once he knows what a student’s goals are, he provides advice and assistance relevant to helping a student achieve their own goals.


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Alan Poole

Digital Art and Design Tutor/Mentor

BA (Hons), MA, Dip Art and Creativity (Hons)

As well as tutoring at TLC, Alan also works as a freelance illustrator. He has worked on a variety of projects, both in print media and in the digital domain in the form of web-based interactive digital products.

When tutoring students, Alan prefers to discuss with them what their project is and to offer advice and techniques that will help them bring their project to fruition. He believes that this focus on a student’s personal goals motivates them to explore their own creative ideas further, ensuring they don't lose what it is that makes their work unique and novel, especially in a commercial context.


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Jemma McKay

Kids Art Programme Tutor & Coordinator

Jemma is our Kids Art Programme Tutor & Coordinator and runs the after school sessions and the Holiday Programme!
Jemma has a wealth of experience in working with children with her background in Early Childhood Education.


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Sophie Saunders

Advanced Diploma Coordinator / Mentor

MFA (Hons)

Having had a loose and arty upbringing with a musician father and potter mother, plus a rather rigorous art school education, Sophie has always had the tendency to question things and look for the higher purpose behind everything. She has exhibited widely over 25 years and has taught at various institutions for the last 16 years.

Always endeavouring to be true to herself, Sophie currently adheres mercilessly to a rather pared-down subject matter in her painting in a desire to get to the nitty gritty. Her view in her teaching and painting is that whatever feels right, one must follow it, leaving all else aside. This is the key to beginning to be what we really are.


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Iain Watt

Illustration Tutor

BA (Hons), MEd (Hons), PCCE

Iain Watt is a graduate of illustration from Dundee Art School in the UK. After graduating he propelled himself into commercial art, eventually establishing his own business within his hometown of Glasgow. Working on a diverse range of graphic assignments Iain has clients throughout the world. He has also lectured at UK colleges on photography, his other great passion, and taught art in secondary schools in England.

The Southern Hemisphere beckoned in 1997 with an invitation to tutor 2-dimensional design at Wellington Polytechnic. This led to his current position as a tutor at The Learning Connexion. Iain’s work provides an outlet and exorcism of the expression of anger and joy, and has evolved through perseverance, encouragement from family and friends and a solid Scottish education.


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Leigh Mitchell-Anyon

Photography Tutor, Mentor

Leigh has over 25 years experience in commercial and fine arts photography and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from WRCP as well as a Post Grad Teaching Diploma from Victoria University in Wellington.

In his own photography he enjoys hands-on, edgy experiences. In his late teens he photo-documented the Korean and Japanese fishing boats he was working on, and in his 30’s stalked live volcanoes, such as Mt Ruapehu.

Leigh believes in taking this hands-on approach into his teaching practice at The Learning Connexion. For example: making a life size temporary photogram of himself and building a walk-in camera obscura with students. He likes to encourage students to get right in there and explore lots of different photographic techniques to express their creative ideas.



Leo Semau

Mentor and Tutor

Talofa, my name is Leo and I am a mentor and tutor at TLC, specialising in sculpture. When I’m not supporting students at TLC I can be found assisting the award-winning team at the Heavy Metal Company in producing and conserving large-scale public and private bronze sculpture.


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Suzy Costello

Distance Delivery Mentor

Suzy enjoys both printmaking and sculpture and at the core of her art practice is place and space. Inspiration is easy to find living on the eastern edge of Te Whanganui-a-Tara, surrounded by beech-forested hills, the sea and family!
Mentoring distance delivery students across Aotearoa feels like a privilege for Suzy as she is invited to share in another person’s artistic processes, ideas and the act of creating. It is very personal and satisfying and broadens each of our own outlooks.


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Robert Franken

Painting Tutor

BA Applied Art, Dip Art & Creative

To Robert, the process of painting is a journey and the actual painting, when finished, usually holds the key to the next one. He hopes to intertwine being an artist with whatever he does or thinks, thereby meeting himself in some totally unexpected places!

“It is my concern to act upon what I really know and screen out that which I have gathered over the years and which is not really mine. This, I guess, will be a continuous journey.”