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

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I can’t believe it’s February already and half term for most teachers. I’m working all next week though as there is so much going on. It’s two weeks since I blogged so I must tell you about some of the adventures I have had.

I was a speaker at the FAD Conference run by Edexcel,British Museum, 31st January. It was really informative, especially seeing and sharing good practice about what is going on in Foundation courses. I spoke about networks and the need for communities of practice to nurture those who are part of our professional circles. Grayson Perry was there too and gave us a really entertaining hour about his own work, influences, his opinions on the art world and life in general. There is nothing pretentious about this great artist at all. The whole audience warmed to him and were totally engrossed in his “stories”.
FAD Conference

I also attended the opening of the show awarded to Siobhan Verrall as part of the Artist Teacher MA at Baltic/Northumbria University and what a feeling it must be to see your work on show at such an important location. Details of the Artist Teacher Award

I went to the first Critical Conversations session, which is part of the Paul Hamlyn ArtWorks North East project that I have been involved in for the past year. It was a cold and wet night, just starting to freeze over and you started out with the feeling that it was an effort just to get there but, what an incredibly inspirational event. Two excellent photographers presented their work (well, one was ill so it was done by “proxy”) to an audience of fellow artists/photographers. The presentations were very different and both gave much food for thought. Group discussion after the talks were centered around the learning gained from them and our own experiences of the participatory arts.
Hosted by North East Photography Network (on behalf of University of Sunderland)
Chaired by Pauline Hadaway, Director – Belfast Exposed
Speakers:Nicola Maxwell (artist); Juliet Chenery-Robson (artist)

Nicola Maxwell website
Juliet Chenery Robson website
Juliet’s project page on Facebook
North East Photography Network

I also went to Manchester to test out my new course on Developing Thinking Skills in Art, Craft and Design. I’ve developed this from the work done in local schools on thinking skills and the “What is Art?” sessions that I ran at Baltic. So, I am delighted to say that my teacher group really enjoyed it, the theory and the practical sessions, and all felt that they could go back to school and put it into practice. That really is all I can ever hope for when I write and deliver a course. The next time I run this will be in London on 1st of March: details are all here-
Thinking Skills Course details

I also managed to see the David Hockney show at the Royal Academy, it was like being swallowed up in a sea of remarkable colour and art and being allowed to gently paddle through the experience. If you have not seen it, then you must. The drawings on the IPad bring it slap bang into 2012 and are sensitive and fluent to the point of being quite beautiful.
The Royal Academy and David Hockney

The British Library Exhibition on Illuminated manuscripts needs almost a full day. Such a lot of treasures are on display for you to see, but the protective low light and bending over to see each intricate design is time consuming and you need to know that this show deserves your time and attention. It is on until March, don’t miss it. Jewels of manuscripts await you.
British Library Exhibition details

Also spent a nice morning at the Tate Modern, no big shows on so plenty of time to wander around (without crowds) and enjoy the permanent art works. The same can be said for a pleasant morning spent in Westminster Abbey, what a sense of history you get within just the first steps taken into the great building.

I also visited two great schools recently: Walbottle Campus in Newcastle and Burnside School in Wallsend. Both of these schools value creativity across the curriculum and are an example to us all. I am extremely fortunate to have a professional association with these schools.

isn’t it just great to have a life full of so much creativity?
Get your Valentine Cards for Mr Gove in the post, he needs reminding about this !
A Valentine for Mister Gove



3757 days ago

you should have a holiday next week.

John R

3755 days ago

Sending my card to Gove today. Got 100 plus signatures from kids at school.
It says we love art and so should you.

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