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

Posted in Hope for the Future

We had our summer term meeting last week for NEATEN (North East Art Teacher/Educator Network). It was a big gathering of around 80 people, which isn’t bad in bbq weather! I am delighted to see that a blog on this has already been written by Elizabeth Kane, artist and supporter of the network. Read her account here:
Elizabeth Kane

I will try and record my own feelings though. Firstly, this is a network which has no hierarchical structures so that everyone feels they can be part of it in a relaxed and open way. Thursday proved that, people said what they felt. We had a fascinating panel who all had different backgrounds but who all had that focus on creativity in the classroom or lecture room. We had an audience who represented every level of experience and who listened and contributed in a very thoughtful way. For most of the people there the meaning of art is a mindset, a craving, a desire, a passion, a need, a heartbeat and a pulse at the very centre of being human.

When the two university students, Libbie and Nicole, talked about how important their study choice had been to them and how wrong it was to start asking children to make choices about their future study and career paths at the age of 12 and 13, people were visibly moved. And rightly so. I think it would have resonated in the memories of many there. It is almost as if we have a government now who choose the “food” for us in the educational menu and take no notice of what we like or enjoy or dislike and don’t enjoy.

It was so good to hear from head teachers as well as ITT course leaders, from the exam board, from NSEAD, from HE and FE, from teachers and practitioners. To also have the input of a member of the shadow cabinet team in MP Sharon Hodgson gave us a real “live “ link into how things might be shaping up in central government.

I have had a lot of positive feedback from the event, emails and texts and tweets and other messages. Many people saying that it just allowed them to reflect on their reasons for being involved in art and design education.

The end to the session was a great presentation from Rachel and Sam (from Fram School) which underlined everything which had been stated about the intrinsic value and worth of the creative experience to young people in being able to express their views on the world.

The whole event was put together with the help of Baltic, with the support, enthusiasm and belief of the NEATEN steering group, and with faith in our ability to have a voice in this large and uncertain political landscape.

We will keep talking and lobbying and never rest. Its what makes us all artists.



4763 days ago

Fantastic debate. You have offered locally what we need nationally. I agree re the two students, they were so passionate about their choice of Art. Pleasure to be there. Thank you neaten.


4763 days ago

Good times. Why not more talk like this in the UK? Art people come out of your rooms. You can’t sit back and let it wash over yous.


4760 days ago

Interesting blog, impressed with the turnout you managed. Good to seee teachers making a fuss.


4754 days ago

Sent link to blog to art teacher friends who say what’s the point nobody listens so I think I’ll sell up and head north.

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