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

Posted in Hope for the Future

It has been a while since I updated my blog, for two reasons- one is that I just needed a rest and two is that most of my “readers” are on their summer break too.

I’m starting with the story of T.E.A. This is a professional development programme for art teachers and educators, which is being organised by the Campaign for Drawing and NSEAD and NADFAS. We invited teachers to apply for this in May 2012, this is the letter; An Invitation to TEA

We have just under 85 people who were selected to join the programme, and they have already started their work with writing up case studies on the practice of drawing in their workplaces. They also received the TEA Welcome Pack which contextualises the programme, particularly in relation to the recent OFSTED report “Making a Mark” which highlights some concerns about the breadth of drawing experiences offered at our schools and colleges.
OFSTED report

While specialist teachers in secondary and post-16 education were more skilled in drawing than at primary level, not all were successful in teaching students how to draw confidently, or for a range of purposes. Students made good or outstanding progress when the teaching embraced a range of approaches, encouraged the use of experimentation in sketchbooks and was responsive to pupils’ emerging ideas. This led to a higher number of students enjoying and achieving well in art.

The report does emphasise that there is a real lack of CPD for teachers of Art, Craft and Design, so the TEA programme has been developed to help make this particular CPD offer relevant and useful. After their second pack in September and a chance to look at each other’s case studies, all participants will have a face to face day session with myself and with Eileen Adams. This will help to inform what they do back at school/college and lead to a second mid year case study.

But, I wanted the project to have a social media content and to make this inclusive has meant setting up a closed Facebook group, a twitter hashtag, a Linkedin group and a flickr gallery. I have plans for a collaborative group blog, which will develop late October as the day sessions approach. So, to develop some on line relationships with the participants, I proposed an optional summer project- this was to just draw on envelopes, used, unused, small, large, inside, outside, five minute sketches to five hour drawings- whatever you wanted to do really.

The response has been remarkable, we have also had a marvellously enthusiastic core group busy with mail art projects. From the Russian Doll Project (a small Russian doll envelope drawing arrives at your house, you create a larger envelope, send it on and the same thing happens so that the dolls get bigger and bigger!), to the tenement drawing sections on envelopes which will unite into a large block of tenements and a variety of other project. People are posting up or emailing their designs and drawings as they create them, so that there is a sense of anticipation now when you log into the Facebook group. I have just started to organise them into a gallery and the link to flickr is here-
TEACPD Flickr Gallery

Here are some quotes from participants:
Lisa: “The summer TEA Project for me has meant the delightful findings of diverse and creative pieces of art in amongst the mountains of junk mail I receive and feeling inspired to keep the chains running.”

Karen:“The Summer TEA Project for me has meant a creative summer holiday making connections with other like minded teachers, and a chance to get back in touch with my ‘drawing’ self!”

Craig:“Facebook was the perfect medium for communication as you could see trains of thought and experiments evolve through a broad range of different art teachers’ skills and creativity. The envelope art evolved into many different forms. It was exciting and creative. I have got ideas for myself that I am taking back to school next term, such as the ‘drawing wall’.

Thank you for establishing something special, long may it last.”
Dan:“Ideas are flowing and I am really feeling enthused and excited about my ideas. It has also been a delight sharing work and conversation with colleagues around the country.”

I promise you more quotes in the next blog! But, a concluding comment from me, I have loved watching this idea grow, I feel as if I already know people who I will eventually meet and we have created a common creative bond which will inspire and enthuse the teacher educators and the young people that they work with. I love TEA!



4350 days ago



4349 days ago

Very interested in this and will enjoy following the progress of the teachers over the next year on websites and this blog if you are continuing to tell us all about it. I went on one of your courses last year about sketchbooks and it was a remarkable day which changed the way I use sketchbooks in the classroom. Thank you.

Craig Longmuir

4298 days ago

Really like your photo series’ Susan. I admire your eye for exciting urban images. This is inspiring photographic work with my GCSE photography students. I particularly admire the beautiful decay in Italy that you’ve captured.


4297 days ago

Thanks for the positive comments Craig- I’m addicted to urban decay. I just feel guilty that I’m not spending enough time on my photography though. I still have images from Italy 2012 to post up. I’m delighted that it helps with the GCSE work- that’s made my day!

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