Alison Coles known as Ali Coles
MA Art Therapy (University of Derby)
MA Museum and Gallery Management (City University)
Postgraduate Certificate of Education (University of Cambridge)
BA Natural Sciences (University of Cambridge)
Diploma in Art and Design (Stroud College)
Alongside her University role, Ali is employed as an Art Psychotherapist in NHS adult community mental health teams (in two localities in Gloucestershire). She works with clients with complex psychological difficulties, both individually and within groups. She has a particular interest in the use of museums, galleries and other cultural and environmental resources in Art Psychotherapy, and was the co-founder of the British Association of Art Therapists’ Museums and Galleries Special Interest Group (www.atmag.org). She runs innovative museum-based Art Psychotherapy Groups in her NHS work, using museum objects, exhibitions and settings to aid the therapeutic process.
She has a personal art practice spanning drawing, video, digital art and sculpture.
Before qualifying as an Art Psychotherapist, Ali worked as a primary school teacher, a museum education officer, a museum adviser, and a project manager and consultant in the areas of arts, heritage, health and education. She has also devised and delivered a therapeutic arts programme for families, with funding from Arts Council England.
Teaching on the MA Art Psychotherapy course.
Coles, A. (2017) ‘Psychotherapy in Museums’: [Visual submission]. Museological Review, 21, p. 49
Coles, A. (2013) ‘’Being Time’: An exploration of personal experiences of time and implications for art psychotherapy practice’, International Journal of Art Therapy, 19(2), pp. 71-81
Coles. A. and Jury, H. (eds.) ‘Art Therapy in Museums and Galleries’ [working title]. To be published by Jessica Kingsley in 2019
Coles, A. (ed.) (1996) ‘Positive Thinking: Creative approaches to providing museum and gallery education’. London: Museums & Galleries Commission
Buckton, S., Coles, A., Keating, R., and Rowanly, J. (2014) ‘Folly Wood ’Good from Woods’ Research Project Report’. Available at: https://goodfromwoods.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/stroudwoods-gfw-summary-report.pdf
(Named contributor) Bird, E. and Oliver, B. (2015) ‘Facts4Life primary school resource: Pilot evaluation report’. Bristol: University of the West of England
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)
BAAT Museums and Galleries Special Interest Group
BAAT Art Therapy Practice Research Network
Art Psychotherapist, Complex Psychological Interventions, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust
Co-founder BAAT Museums and Galleries Special Interest Group
Advisory Group member, Facts4Life (www.facts4life.org)
Ali is an experienced speaker, trainer and consultant and can offer presentations, workshops, advice and supervision in many aspects of Art Psychotherapy. She has particular expertise in the therapeutic use of museums and galleries.
Particular research interests:
The use of museums, galleries and other cultural and environmental resources in Art Psychotherapy.
Trauma, psychosis and Art Psychotherapy.
Art Psychotherapists’ use of artmaking.
Arts-based research methods.
The relationship between Art Psychotherapy and the Arts and Health sector.
Research grants obtained:
£10,000 from Silvanus Trust for a woodland and wellbeing research project
£5,000 from Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group for the delivery and evaluation of a pilot museum-based Art Psychotherapy Group
Areas of Expertise
Adult mental health (severe and enduring mental health difficulties)
Group Art Psychotherapy
Museum-based Art Psychotherapy
Arts-based research methods
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