Welcome to the website of Susan M. Coles, Artist & Arts, Creativity & Educational Consultant.

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This week has been varied and interesting and entertaining. I spent Friday at Crofton High School in Wakefield. The head of department has invited me to run two sessions for year ten GCSE students and we started with an introduction to digital photography, which also involved me showing my own art work. Great kids, great school, great staff….can’t wait for the next session!

I also enjoyed two sessions at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art last week. It really is heartening to see that teachers continue to believe that the visual arts play such an important role in the curriculum, despite the Coalition model of education which seems to have relegated them to an “add on”.

I think, on Thursday, that I had an experience which underlined for me the real importance of the subject. I visited the Sunderland University Art and Design Foundation course. This starts with entering the tiny shared office space, which is an absolute hive of creative activity and banter as staff prepare their day with the students. Then, a walk around the building into the student work areas held even more delights; everyone was busy and on task; creating, thinking, making, discussing, evaluating and, all of them, more than happy to invite me into their space and explain where they were with their work and projects. Students told me about break through moments, about self discovery and self esteem emerging from their practice. It just brought back a flood of nostalgic memories of my own Foundation year, where the paradigm shift, from being an insular and shy school girl, into the burgeoning artist began. I have found in Art a way to communicate that is both communication within myself and with others. For me, Art must be an adventure or a journey with no predetermined destination. It really is a way to express visions that are beyond the capacity of words

Thank god that Mike Collier and his team are keeping that opportunity vibrant and alive in Sunderland. Well done all of you.


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