Tutor Biographies

Jump to: Elizabeth BarberEduardo Bell, Diane Brendling, Sarah Burles, Ian Chandler, Annalisa Conway, Paul Crossley, Victoria Cummins, Gary Day, Jane Ducarreaux, Madeline Edmead, Gina Ferrari, Kate Harwood, Celia Hasan, Rosemary Hayes, Collette Hoefkens, Anne Laidler, Lloyd Laing, Fiona Lucraft, Phil Madley, Jane Mailer, Karen Mangold, Margaret Norwich, Sharon Priestley, Fiona Pruden, Lorna Reay, Louise Reed, Honor Ridout, Sheena Roberts, Mike Rollins, Anne Rowe, Elisabeth Rutt, Chantelle Stephenson, Vanessa Stone, Juliet Venter, John Walter, Twigs Way, Michael Williams, James Willis, Ken Woodruff, Chris Woolston


Helen Allen

I started my journey in cut flowers by feeling that there had to be a better way to put beautiful flowers in a vase. Over the years I have learnt many ways to achieve this! With my commercial event floristry I always try to create pieces with love and a personal flair. Teaching leisure and floral qualification courses allows me to share my love of flowers with many different people who often catch the flower bug. Published articles regularly appear in ‘Floral Design’ magazine
Awards:’Most supportive tutor’ NHC 20012/13; Floral Design magazine ‘ Top floristry school teachers ‘ January 2015;
Visit my website to learn more about what I do: http://www.verdila.co.uk

Lesley Ayres

Lesley Ayres studied Psychology at the University of Wolverhampton and then went on to gain her MSc in Occupational and Organisational Psychology from the University of East London. Later she gained her PGCE and is passionate about teaching Psychology as a subject for general interest. She has worked as a trainer and assessor and brings her experience in these areas to her courses at The Letchworth Settlement.

Elizabeth Barber

Elizabeth trained as a primary school teacher in the 1970s. After a long gap doing voluntary work, she returned to teaching as a supply teacher. She has always loved writing and has found going on writing courses a valuable way of learning about the craft. After some success writing stories for a comic, she moved on to writing fiction and non-fiction for county and national magazines. Since 2006 she has run ’Get Writing!’ at Letchworth Settlement. Elizabeth holds the Undergraduate Certificate in Creative Writing Part I (Fiction) and Part II (Non fiction) awarded by Cambridge Institute for Continuing Education.

Stephen Barnard

Stephen spent 21 years as a specialist writer with Reader’s Digest before going freelance in 1999. He has been writing and lecturing on broadcasting, film and popular music on a part-time basis for over 30 years. He has run courses for the WEA, De Montfort University, the City University and a number of Hertfordshire arts groups, and his five books include Studying Radio, the standard academic textbook on the subject.

Eduardo Bell

Eduardo spent 35 years teaching Spanish to the armed forces in Argentina plus also some time in Canada. He finally retired in 2003. His love of teaching Spanish tempted him out of retirement in 2011 when he came to the Settlement.

Diane Brendling

Diane is an experienced teacher with a background in primary education with a special interest in the arts. One of her posts of responsibilities was for the development of art in the school curriculum. In early semi retirement she embarked on watercolour classes for her own study. She soon found friends and colleagues showing an interest in some of the techniques she was using and so she began teaching groups of adults some of these methods. After a while she started Watercolour Toolbox on Saturday mornings, for Beginners and Improvers. Diane enjoys encouraging her students to take that risk of the unknown and to make a start on exploring some of these techniques and then applying them to their paintings.She hopes that with much support they will enjoy the process, at times surprising themselves, and to go on to further investigate their own studies with this very versatile medium.

Sarah Burles, MA (Cantab), MA

Art Historian, Museum Educator and founder of Cambridge Art Tours Sarah studied History of Art at Cambridge University, before completing a masters degree at the University of London in museum and gallery education. She has worked in museums and galleries for over 25 years, including at the Fitzwilliam Museum for 12 years. In 2012 she set up Cambridge Art Tours which offers courses and tours based around the museum’s collection. She has a passion to make art accessible and enjoyable to a wide audience and her t alks aim to be engaging, as well as intellectually stimulating.

Ian Chandler

Ian’s folk activities began in Primary School, with Morris, Sword and Country dancing as well as singing and drama. He has subsequently spent more than 40 years exploring different aspects of the folk scene.
During the whole of this time, Ian has been involved in folk music, song, dance and drama, and has taught music dance and drama to various individuals and groups. He has danced with Stevenage Sword since 1985, latterly being their musician but having also at different times been Squire, Bagman and Archivist. He also leads the longest running folk music and song session in Hertfordshire at The Rose & Crown Ashwell, now in its 24th year, as well as being the leader of Ashwell Mummers, a village folk drama group.
His other activities include singing and playing music with the Blakeney Old Wild Rovers (a shanty band from Blakeney, Norfolk), researching the origins of folk songs for a number of internet forums and restoring free reed instruments.Apart from a brief period at the age of 9, he has never been seriously involved in Morris Dancing.

Annalisa Conway

Annalisa grew up in Italy and graduated with a doctorate in Modern Languages and Literatures from Padua University. After working in banking and industry she obtained a Diploma in Education and has taught both children and adults. She is passionate about history of art and Italian culture.

Paul Crossley

Paul is a lecturer and playwright who has taught drama courses at Cambridge and London Universities, and at Letchworth.
He has recently finished a course on Thomas Middleton and Jacobean playwrights for the Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley, Cambridge, for whom he also given courses on Shakespeare and on Pinter and Becket. His recent work at The Settlement includes Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies, and Chekhov The Playwright.

Victoria Cummins

Victoria is married with four children (including twins) and lives in Hitchin. Her involvement in teaching history dates from 1993 and although Victoria trained as a mediaevalist the courses she has taught have related to all periods and many different countries.Her interests include current affairs, the arts and, inevitably, anything historical.

Dr Gary Day

Gary Day was principal lecturer in English at De Montfort University where he taught courses on Tragedy and Comedy, Modernism and Contemporary Fiction.  He is the author of Re-reading Leavis: Culture and Literary Criticism (1996), Class (2001), Literary Criticism: A New History (2008) and Modernist Literature (2010). His latest book, The Story of Drama: Tragedy,  Comedy and Sacrifice: From the Greeks to the Present, was published by Methuen in 2016 and he has a chapter ‘Bunyan: Class and Englishness’ in the forthcoming The Oxford Handbook of John Bunyan, ed. Michael Davies and W. R. Owens. Gary  is also the editor of a dozen volumes ranging from a casebook on D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow and Women in Love to the  Wiley Encyclopaedia of British Eighteenth Century Literature. He also had a satirical column in the Times Higher for a number of years, which was followed by a TV one. He is a keen amateur actor.

Jane Ducarreaux

Jane’s passion for glass has been a lifelong one, having been surrounded by glass since birth. Both parents worked in the glass industry – her father as a master glass blower, her mother as a glass finisher. Having tried many crafts before finally finding fused or kiln-formed glass, Jane is passionate about the versatility of glass and the uplifting nature of what can be produced.

Madeline Edmead

Madeline Edmead is an Art Historian who specialises in 18th and 19th century topics and relating the history of art and architecture to wider historical issues. In addition to teaching at ICE, Madeline is currently lecturing adult classes at WEA and other providers of continuing education. Born in Manchester, Madeline moved to Herfordshire aged eight, and, several years later, was awarded her BA Hons from Bristol and an MA from the Courtauld Institite, specialising in architectural history and focusing on the early 18th century. She has contributed to a catalogue of Catherine the Great’s Wedgewood Dinner Service and to the Exhibition Catalogue on William Kent Hull (1985). In 2008 Madeline won one of the Birkbeck ‘Distinguished Lecturer’ awards.

Gina Ferrari

Gina is an experienced teacher and adult education tutor with several years experience in machine embroidery, including City & Guilds. She exhibits and sells her own work and is a participant in the Cambridge Open Studios.

Kate Harwood

Kate has been teaching garden history for some years at Birkbeck College and Cambridge ICE, and teaching and giving talks around Hertfordshire. She is also Planning and Conservation Officer for Hertfordshire Gardens Trust, so is familiar with the history of most of the county’s historic parks and gardens.

Celia Hasan LCGI Cert.Ed. MIFL

My interest in cookery began when I was four years old, and at the age of sixteen I gained a scholarship to attend a course in Home Economics at what is now The University of North London. After graduating, I went to work in a prestigious bakery, The Aerated Bread Company, and very soon became senior cake decorator and supervisor in their wedding cake department, with commissions that included: a cake for Premier Winston Churchill; the cake for the Debutantes’ Ball; work for Fortnum and Masons and the wedding cake boutique in South Audley Street.
I have been lecturing, and developing coursework material, for over forty years. This has included the teaching of accredited courses of City and Guilds and ABC, in both cake decorating and professional cooking. I gained the Certificate in Education, was awarded the Licentiateship of City and Guilds and was appointed as an External Verifier for Cake Decorating and Sugar Flowers for the Eastern Region. This post was demanding but very rewarding.
I have trained and entered many college students for national competitions. They achieved much recognition, including the attainment of gold and silver medals. My wide range of experience includes: the teaching of, and development of accredited units for, people with special needs; the mentoring of trainee teachers and also judging at local events. I founded, and also chair, the Letchworth Sugarcraft Club
The highlight of my career so far, was when I was selected to deliver a mini lesson in sugar craft, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II came to open the new site at North Hertfordshire College in Stevenage.

Rosemary Hayes

Rosemary has written numerous books for children for a variety of age groups and in a variety of genres including fantasy and historical and contemporary fiction.
She has a background in publishing, is a reader for a well known authors’ advisory service and also runs creative writing workshops for both children and adults.
 For more information visit her website: www.rosemaryhayes.co.uk

Collette Hoefkens ASEA

Collette Hoefkens is a professional artist and gallery proprietor. She was taught Fine Art to A’level and Foundation level. She is a qualified FE tutor.
Collette studied fine art at the Hertfordshire College of Art and Design; under head tutor Jeff Stultiens RP. She has been a professional artist for over twenty-five years, working mostly on commissioned portraits, of both the animal and human kind! She is an associate member of the Society of Equestrian Artists, where she is the judge and sponsor for their annual drawing award.
Collette exhibits with the Wren Gallery, Burford, Marylebone Fine Arts, London and in her own gallery, Norton Way Gallery, Letchworth Garden City.

Anne Laidler

Anne first started painting in watercolour and now also paints in pastel, acrylic and pen and ink and oil. She has had much success with her watercolour flowers and is inspired by the long beaches and sand dunes of her birth place, the North East Coastline.
She has been an active member of Stevenage Art Society since 2000 and was re-elected as Vice Chairman at the last AGM. She is also A Professional Associate Artist with the SAA (Society of All Artists).
Anne has been teaching art at Leaside Church Hall, Ware since 2008. More recently she has expanded her teaching to include classes at The Methodist Church Hall, Stotfold and the Peace Memorial Hall, Codicote. She teaches watercolour, pen and ink, pastel, and drawing classes, along with pastel and acrylic workshops.
Anne is a popular tutor who has a “laid back” attitude to the class and is often heard to say “don’t worry – it’s only a piece of paper”. Her sympathetic and encouraging approach gives confidence to the beginners and improvers who attend her classes.

Lloyd Laing

Dr Lloyd Laing prior to his retirement was a professor of archaeology at the University of Nottingham, having previously been among other appointments director of the Centre for the History of Art at the University of Liverpool. He has written over 30 books singly or jointly with his wife, including several on Celtic and other branches of ancient and medieval art, and has lectured widely to the general public.

Fiona Lucraft

Fiona is a literature tutor and food historian. She has been teaching for the WEA and other adult education providers for over 10 years in Cambridgeshire and recently taught literature classes at Ashwell and Guilden Morden. Her publications include papers for the Oxford and Leeds Symposia of Food History and several entries for the New Dictionary of National Biography.

Phil Madley

Phil is a professional artist and teacher, specialising in encaustic wax painting for over 18 years.
He has demonstrated to over eighty art societies throughout England and has run workshops at schools, colleges and Missenden Abbey.
Phil paints using coloured encaustic wax and various heating implements but principally an iron, earning his nickname “The Iron Man”.
His paintings can be bold and bright or soft and sensuous, demanding attention and challenging the viewer on a visual or emotional level to experience more. His work is innovative, exciting and contemporary and his teaching style is lively and informative, and always encouraging.

Jane Mailer

When my son started school in 1997 I decided to update my skills with a view to returning to work, this was a journey that was to take me through several City and Guilds computer qualifications, Microsoft Certification, an Adult Teaching Certificate, and a leap from being employed to becoming freelance. All a bit of a surprise for someone who thought they were a bit dim!
I didn’t take to IT easily, I thought it was for boffins and geeks, and not for ladies of a certain age who loves her garden and her cats (5 at the last count!), so believe me if I can do it anyone can. With this in mind, it makes me really sad, that as IT becomes more widely used, so many people have found themselves excluded from employment and an increasing number of everyday activities.
My philosophy when I am working is very simple. When I work with employers, my objective is to provide training that will give delegates the skills, knowledge and understanding to do their job better, and so hopefully gain more satisfaction from it. When working with social groups I try to provide the knowledge and understanding that will allow these groups to use their chosen technology with confidence. I’m not sure I always get it right, but it’s not for want of trying…..

Karen Mangold

Karen is an experienced artist with 30 years experience. She originally started painting with watercolours, but now very much works with all media, particularly liking inks and dyes and the beautiful effects they can give.
She is particularly inspired by nature, the changing seasons, and how this affects light. She loves the colours in rocks and stones, beautiful flora and fauna.
She says: “When I paint it is the only time I truly lose myself, and I feel myself lucky to have found not only something I love doing, that is relaxing, but also something that can hopefully inspire and please others as well.”
She is a member of Artist Network Bedfordshire and The Hitchin Initiative.

Margaret Norwich

Margaret Norwich studied liberal arts at Vassar College, New York and read English at Girton College, Cambridge. She has worked in publishing, higher education and the voluntary sector. For many years she lectured in English Language & Literature at Bedford College/DeMontfort University and was Tutor/Organiser for the WEA in Bedfordshire. She aims to make her classes informative, challenging and fun.

Dr Sharon Priestley

Sharon has taught a number of literature courses for the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education and writing courses elsewhere. American-born, Sharon’s background is in Eighteenth-Century British literature and she has given numerous papers on Boswell and Johnson at literary conferences. She also presents discussion-based courses in American & English literature that focus on Jane Austen & the Brontes, Booker prize-winning novels, ‘journey’ literature, short stories, poetry, modern women’s writing and more.

Fiona Pruden

With an interesting career behind her ranging from managing entertainments venues to qualifying as an accountant, Fiona came across watercolour painting almost accidentally but immediately loved it. Taking redundancy after maternity leave provided the opportunity to change direction and build a new career working with her new passion and becoming a watercolour specialist. She has been writing ‘ARTicles’ for a local magazine for five years which has provided the opportunity for her to research manufacturing and production methods of art materials.
Her classes are designed to help students at all levels learn to understand and work with the attributes of this transparent medium, painting with confidence and the developing the skills needed. Combining discussion and demonstration, each class combines some theory with plenty of practical work, including some experimenting to find the best methods and learn new techniques. Much of her focus is helping students ‘see’ the world differently and interpret that vision loosely and freely into their watercolour painting.
With a wide range of subjects to tackle each term, Fiona shares her extensive knowledge with flair, enthusiasm and energy.

Lorna Reay

Lorna Reay has been an active musician for about 45 years, as performer, composer and teacher. Since 2008 she has been lecturing in world music and composition at the University of Hertfordshire. In 2017 she ran a course in World Music Appreciation at the Settlement for the first time. This was very well received and Lorna is looking forward to exploring a wide range of different countries in the 2018 world music course.

Louise Reed

Louise Reed trained as a teacher and then went on to Manchester University to qualify as a teacher of the deaf. She worked in schools for the deaf, specialising in working with children with additional handicaps. She then worked at Addenbrookes Hospital working with children in the psychiatry ward.
After her children were born she began to work part time- teaching deafened and partially hearing adults to lipread. She has been doing this for many years- her children are now adults! – and so she has a great deal of experience in helping people cope with being hard of hearing.

Honor Ridout

I never quite left Cambridge after studying there, and further developed my knowledge of the City and University by becoming a Tour Guide. I have worked for both the City and the University. At the same time, I have enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for local and social history with adult students through WEA and The Settlement. I am also currently Chair of the Cambridgeshire Association for Local History.

Sheena Roberts

Sheena is a quilt artist currently residing in Hertfordshire. Her initial interest in quilts came from the Laura Ashley patchwork packs from the 1980s but she began to make quilts seriously in 1995 after she first attended a workshop taught by Judith Wilson. She then attended a number of courses taught by Judith and other tutors over the next few years, and following on from these she successfully embarked upon the City & Guilds Certificate in Craft and Design (Patchwork & Quilting) at Missenden Abbey taught by Barbara Weeks.
Sheena has been influenced by the quilts exhibited at The American Museum, Bath and the V&A; and by many different quilters. Her inspiration comes from the natural world, folk traditions, story and music.
Sheena has been teaching for a number of years, particularly enjoying helping people with little experience and less confidence become proficient lovers of this craft.
She is a qualified teacher and member of the Quilters Guild of the UK and Contemporary Quilt.

Mike Rollins

Mike is a local painter of rural and urban landscapes. His style is a mixture of traditional and experimental techniques in a variety of mediums, but predominantly acrylic paint.
He originally grew up in West Yorkshire and graduated with a BA(Hons) in Theatre Design at UCE Birmingham. During his subsequent career designing visitor attractions, Mike painted both for work and for pleasure holding several solo exhibitions in West London and Hertfordshire.
Now preferring to work in two- dimensions, Mike is concentrating on his career as a fine artist and tutor. He has taken part in exhibitions throughout North Hertfordshire, including Herts Open Studios, and is a member of Herts Visual Arts and Society of All Artists.

Anne Rowe

Anne is a freelance landscape historian who has coordinated the research work of the Hertfordshire Gardens Trust since 1998 and teaches courses in landscape and garden history. She has edited and co-authored two books about Hertfordshire’s Garden History, has written a book on the medieval parks of Hertfordshire and contributed several chapters to the Historical Atlas of Hertfordshire. Her most recent work – Hertfordshire: A landscape history – was written in collaboration with Professor Tom Williamson.

Elisabeth Rutt

I trained in fine art at Goldsmiths college, university of London but have been fascinated by fabric and thread since childhood. These two areas of experience come together and my work falls somewhere between painting and embroidery. I make work for exhibitions, and to commission and I teach textile classes by invitation to groups and A level students. My particular interest is hand stitch which I combine with a variety of other textile techniques. I am very interested in pattern and colour and I make wall hung pieces and occasional, experimental sculptural pieces.
Please visit my website: www.elisabethrutt.co.uk

Chantelle Stephenson

Chantelle Stephenson is a practising artist and educator that graduated from the Cambridge School of Art in 2007. During and since then she has tutored Fine Art on the Foundation Art and Design course at Hitchin College, Hertfordshire. In 2016 she was invited to run workshops at the Camden Arts Centre and The South London Gallery, London. She is currently running courses in Sculpture and Oil Painting at Milton Keynes Arts Centre.
Chantelle has a diverse range of technical disciplines including Oil painting, Abstract Painting, Alternative Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture. In 2016 she was commissioned to make an art piece in response to the early Letchworth Garden City which was displayed at the Broadway Gallery. Chantelle has taught at The Settlement since 2014.

Vanessa Stone

Vanessa Stone is a cut paper artist based in Arlesey, but lived in Letchworth for over 20 years. She makes bold and intricate layered collages by cutting into sheets of paper with a scalpel, cutting away to reveal shapes. She is inspired the towns and landscape around her, especially Letchworth and Cambridge. Originally trained with a degree in carpet design, Vanessa specialised in textiles until 2006 when she started cutting paper. She has exhibited widely, runs workshops for all ages in schools, museums and art venues and undertakes commissions of private houses and buildings. She exhibits regularly at Byard Art in Cambridge and her work is held in private collections in the UK, Netherlands and the US.

Juliet Venter

Juliet Venter is an egg tempera artist whose original style takes inspiration from the great riches of medieval manuscript painting, fresco and mosaic. She uses traditional techniques and materials for all her work – hand-made gesso panels, historical pigments, and real gold leaf – specialising in small-scale religious icons and contemporary illuminations on light-hearted themes. Her paintings and range of unique greetings cards can be viewed at her online gallery: www.juliet-icons.co.uk.

John Walter

John is a reader emeritus of Kings College London. Having retired from positions as a head of division at the Kings College Dental Institute, with responsibilities in under- and postgraduate teaching, and as a consultant in restorative dentistry at The Guy’s & St Thomas’s Hospital Trust, he read for a continuing education degree at Wolfson College, Cambridge. His subject there was local and regional history and his dissertation dealt with the effect of the coming of the railways on employment in Hertfordshire. Rather flibbertigibbet in his interests perhaps but keen on primary sources, rather than secondary material, when researching these interests.

Twigs Way

My career in historic landscapes consists of lecturing, research, writing, publishing, crafting landscape management plans, visiting historic sites, and indulging my enduring fascination with the history of female gardeners and artists, and also exploring the quirkier aspects of garden history. I relax by weeding my own garden, sometimes with a mattock. In 2016 I was featured in Gardens Illustrated. Visit my website to learn more about what I do: www.twigsway.com

Michael Williams

Michael has an undergraduate degree in History and an MSc in Politics. He’s the author of a book on Modern British Politics. Michael spent 21 years working in Whitehall an adviser to Ministers before leaving the civil service for academic life in 1995. Since then he has taught a great variety of courses in different universities covering Politics and History with a bit of Sociology as well. Now he concentrates on international politics and modern global history.

James Willis

James is a highly motivated artist and arts educator with over 20 years of teaching and management experience. He has taught fine art and art history at all levels from GNVQ1 to final year BA degree.
He founded the Letchworth Arts Centre and is currently Resident Artist and adult learning consultant and tutor at Sir John Soane’s Museum.
His areas of special interest and study include Fine Art and the Academic Tradition, Painting techniques and concepts, Georgian Architectural Drawing and its Historical Context, the Development of British Art in the 18th Century and the Art and Social Context of Renaissance Venice as well as contemporary approaches to traditional subject matter.

Ken Woodruff

After studying Anatomy and Physiology with illustrations, as part of my learning process I got the painting ‘bug’ again when working as Marketing Services Manager at Smith, Kline and French Labs. in WGC. I went on a course with Ron Ranson and later was asked to coach two men who were learning watercolour painting but were not fond of the tutor.
This became a weekly class – no fees but I learned to teach and when I retired I continued to go back to run the class for a few extra years, then I approached The Settlement to run private classes on Fridays and Saturdays once a month.
Later I was asked to run watercolour classes for the Settlement which I continue to do to this day.

Christopher Woolston

Chris Woolston is a highly qualified scientist with a great love of science and natural history. After graduating in 1970 he began a school teaching career which lasted 40 years, and during which time he taught both Chemistry and Physics to ‘A’ level, was Head of Faculty, and completed his doctorate in Organic Analytical Chemistry. He is both a Chartered Chemist and a Chartered Scientist and is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Geographical Society. After retiring from school teaching in 2010, he has taught a variety of science courses for both the WEA and the Letchworth Settlement, delivered a range of public science lectures, and carried out technical reviews of science texts for Harper-Collins publishers.