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

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We all have those moments that we dream of, or are asked, what are the books that have influenced you the most? My answer to that is how long have you got then?
Always in my top five will be “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist” by Robert Tressell, which I read when I was 17. It was the first time in my life that I had understood capiltalism and it led me on to read Marx and Engels and understand why (at heart) I am a socialist.

Strangely enough my dad was a Tory and even stood for Council twice (but didn’t get voted in) and, as my mother was Irish, I was never truly sure where her political allegiances were, although she was not too kind in her opinions of Mrs Thatcher!

So, I have seen prime ministers come and go and seen at least 18 Education Ministers in the years that I have been able to vote. Education is such a precious commodity, something which everyone has an entitlement to, and a contrast to those dark days of the industrial age when children were working in cotton mills and being pushed up chimneys to clean them.

I woke up on Thursday May 7th, feeling optimistic. I went to the count in Sunderland and saw the UK’s first three elected women MPS take to the stage in rapturous applause as their victories were celebrated. Then I went to bed. Then I woke up. Hello- was it all a dream? David Cameron goes back to Downing Street? Tory educational policies will continue to destroy education in the UK and damage the Arts in education even more? Is there no hope?

So, I have literally just been for a walk in the park. I sat on a hill and almost decided that it was time to plan my retirement and even start to do it. I was even contemplating getting a paper round at one point.

At the bottom of the hill is a school. A primary school. The children came out to play and I looked down and remembered why I am so passionate about arts education. I watched these children play and heard them laugh and reminded myself that we do what we do, because of them. We have to protect this generation from those that savage the arts, especially in education. We have to respond with informed, passionate and meaningful arguments. We have to do this together- all Arts organisations. We have to allow them to thrive and not just survive in school, promoting a broad and balanced and diverse curriculum model.

Never give up. Never. Ever.


Paula Briggs, AccessArt

2575 days ago

Susan: You’re right: We can’t stop. We need to fight even harder. And together. I felt inspired when I woke this morning to write a post for parents: “What Did My Child Make This Week” (and why it’s more important than ever to ask the question now). We just need to take a breath…
And thank you Susan, a very heartfelt thank you – for everything you (and NSEAD, and everyone else) have done, are doing….

Strangely enough my dad was a Tory too, who then turned coat to Labour (he was as passionate about both his opposing beliefs!). I thought of him a lot last night – at all his years of frustration…. and of all the people of all the parties who believe so strongly and work so hard… It’s all about time isn’t it… Every dog (excuse the expression) has his day… when the time is right.

There WILL be a huge backlash one day and creativity WILL be back on the agenda (pushed their by all of us who will not stop….)

Enjoy the sun (?) Have a rest and carry on… With Thanks


2575 days ago

we need you more than ever and feel better that you will be there. NSEAD too- perhaps they can get more political and be less polite?


2575 days ago

Political policies may come and go, but a constant flow of children demand education. Their needs, might not been seen/acknowledged/tended to by the existing system, but the times they are a changing. Continued research, collaborative efforts, and networking with the right people will make a difference. You are key !!!!

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