Our Staff & Tutors

Staff and Tutors at CoolTan Arts

CoolTan Arts has a committed team of experienced staff and qualified tutors. Find out more about who we are and what we do below!

CEO Michelle Baharier - CoolTan Arts Staff and TutorsMichelle Baharier
Chief Executive
T: 020 7701 2696
E: michelle@cooltanarts.org.uk

As CEO and founder my main responsibilities are CoolTan’s artistic and strategic vision,  networking, fundraising and innovating. I work on the ground as a link between the board, staff, participants and volunteers, to listen, support and inspire.

I was medically retired early in 1993, so friends of mine thought as I was an artist and had ran art exhibitions it would be a good idea if I would help out and run an art exhibition at CoolTan Arts. I began volunteering doing this in 1993 and I stayed volunteering until January 2006, this shows how long it can really take to turn someone’s life around.

I am also a drawing and visual arts tutor at Morley College and an inspirational speaker or which all my fees go to CoolTan Arts. I am a trustee of the Mental Health Providers Forum and a council member of the FSI.

I am really proud that CoolTan Arts has recently been awarded the Queens MBE for Voluntary Service, because CoolTan Arts grew from a 100% base of volunteers and that what makes us different. Not many organisations can say that, we have been around nearly 25 and we have empowered 1000’s to live better lives.

In my personal life (I do have one) I continue with my art work and I am writing a play about lived experience of PSTD. I also like to travel because I need new experiences and I would love an arts residency to Greenland/Antarctica or Uzbekistan and a Trans-Siberian railway ticket wouldn’t go amiss. (I have a suitcase and up to date passport. I will still take calls from the office and I’m sure they have Wi-Fi!).


Operations Director Herbie Taylor  - CoolTan Arts Staff Herbie Taylor
Operations Director
T: 020 7701 2696
E: herbie@cooltanarts.org.uk

I’m the Operations Director at CoolTan Arts and responsible for the day to day running of the business from our main offices in Walworth Road. With over 10 years management experience, along with Michelle I give input on strategic and financial planning of the organisation. I have a background in directing and performing fringe theatre, photography and have been a musician all my life.


Emma Thatcher, Communications Manager: CoolTan StaffEmma Thatcher
Communications & PR Coordinator
T: 020 7701 2696
E: emmathatcher@cooltanarts.org.uk
I work with a big team of volunteers on CoolTan’s communications and PR – letting everyone know all the great things we are up to! Having started at CoolTan as a volunteer myself I have found it a really inspiring place to develop my skills and try new things.


Volunteer Co-ordinator Sarah Way: Staff Sarah Way
Volunteer Coordinator
T: 020 7701 2696
E: volunteering@cooltanarts.org.uk
Hi I’m Sarah Way, the Volunteer Coordinator at CoolTan Arts. If you would like to give your time to gain new skills or share existing ones I’m the person to talk to!


Amy Hope - Staff and Tutors at CoolTan ArtsAmy Hope
Development Manager
T: 020 7701 2696
I am the new Development Manager at CoolTan Arts. I have been working in fundraising for the past eight years and also have a Masters degree in Voluntary Action Management. I am passionate about working in the sector and have always wanted to work for a mental health charity as it is a cause very close to my heart. If you have any fundraising questions then please do get in touch

Sunil Chauhan, PA to CEO  - CoolTan Arts Staff Sunil Chauhan
PA to the CEO
T: 020 7701 2696
E: sunil@cooltanarts.org.uk
I’ve worked mainly in journalism and PR and have also been a volunteer for the Samaritans and the British Red Cross for a number of years. I’m in the middle of studying for a diploma in counselling.


Olivia Moyes, Admin Officer - CoolTan Arts StaffOlivia Moyes
Administration Officer
T: 020 7701 2696
E: olivia@cooltanarts.org.uk

I have recently moved back to London from Liverpool, where I was working part-time at Tate Liverpool and also for a small animal rescue charity. In my spare time I am currently researching a study into popular culture between the wars, so I really like watching old films and going to cinema exhibitions. I am very much looking forward to working at CoolTan Arts and meeting everyone.


Rik Saunders, Admin & Reception  - CoolTan Arts Staff Rik Sanders
Administration and Reception Assistant
T: 020 7701 2696
E: rik@cooltanarts.org.uk
After three years or so volunteering at CoolTan I was very happy to be offered a job on the staff team as the reception and administration assistant.
In my spare time (what’s that?) I like, in no particular order, bicycles, films, music, pub quizzes, making fairly bad music and growing tomatoes.
One of the many things I enjoy about being at CoolTan is the constant coming and going of people throughout the day, so being on reception means I get to speak to most everyone and If you visit or phone us there’s a good chance it will be me that you speak to first.
So come to CoolTan, say hello and get involved. I look forward to meeting you. 


Alison Vine - Community Involvement & Advocacy OfficerAlison Vine
Community Involvement and Advocacy Coordinator
T: 020 7701 2696
E: alison@cooltanarts.org.uk
Hi, my name is Alison and I’m the Community Involvement Advocate.  I am responsible for introducing new and prospective participants to CoolTan Arts, and dealing with referrals and registrations.  I also promote awareness and building relationships with other service providers and community mental health teams, updating them on what CoolTan Arts has to offer their clients.  I take part in Self Advocacy training and free workshops.  A large part of my role is overseeing the general wellbeing of participants.  My empathy and passion comes from my own personal experience of mental health issues and an appreciation that creativity can transform a person’s wellbeing.  CoolTan Arts is a truly unique service that helps everyone here to flourish!


Robert Larkin-Frost, Walks Coordinator: CoolTan Arts Staff Robert Larkin-Frost
CoolWalks Coordinator
E: coolwalksinfo@gmail.com
Hi, I’m Rob, the Project Coordinator for CoolWalks. CoolWalk’s are twelve themed walks across the London Borough of Southwark.  There are two free public walks each month which have been devised and researched by our volunteers. Each CoolWalk has been devised to promote walking as both a form of physical exercise and to improve mental wellbeing.  If you want to learn new things, make friends, get fit and have fun or to find out more about the project, when the walks are taking place or to find about volunteering on the project please email me or visit the walk’s blog at http://coolwalksblog.blogspot.co.uk/


Lu Firth, Largactyl Shuffle & Textiles Tutor: CoolTan StaffLu Firth
Largactyl Shuffle Walks Coordinator & Textiles Tutor
E: lucooltanarts@gmail.com
I have taught textiles and batik for many years at CoolTan Arts. For the last 4 years I have coordinated CoolTan Arts’ original walks programme the Largactyl Shuffle. Working closely with a committed group of volunteers we research and design twelve monthly walks on local history, arts and mental health. All walks are held in Southwark back streets and green spaces, with diverse topics such as celebrating LGBT History Month, Black History Month, World Mental Health Day and celebrating Southwark’s local history, architecture, trade and arts.


Renuka Bhakta, Well Being Advisor - CoolTan Arts Staff and TutorsReLulu Falber-Hansen, Wellbeing Advisor - CoolTan Arts Staff nuka Bhakta and Lulu Falbe-Hansen
Wellbeing Advisors
E: wellbeing@cooltanarts.org.uk
Hello, we are Lulu and Renuka both Wellbeing Advisors here at CoolTan Arts.  Our role is to support people with their wellbeing and to connect people to free support and community groups in their local area, including CoolTan Arts’workshops. Wellbeing is a broad area and we work with a diverse range of people experiencing a variety of stressful life events.  We help people to think about whether there are any changes they would like to make to build a better quality of life and how to take those first steps.  Get in touch if you would like to hear more!


Isley LynnIsley Lynn, Poetry Tutor:  CoolTan  Staff
Poetry Workshops Tutor
My name is Isley and I lead poetry and creative writing workshops and tutorials.  I’m a poet and playwright myself and love working with other creative people at CoolTan.  I do one on one sessions with anyone starting out in writing, or if you’re already a writer and want to push your self expression further!  Every Thursday CoolTan’s poetry class POETree meet, share, read and write great poetry.  We sometimes perform too, and recently performed our work at the Globe Theatre!  Anyone is welcome to join, so get in touch.


Anne Fenn Staff and Tutors at CoolTan ArtsAnne Fenn
Creative Writing Tutor
E: annfenncooltanarts@gmail.com
I’m Ann and I teach the Creative Writing workshop at CoolTan. I’ve also been involved in several other projects here as a volunteer, including the CoolFruit magazine group. I have a background in creative writing, education, art and theatre.


 Joe Sutton, Video Tutor:  CoolTan Staff  Joe Sutton
Video Tutor
Joe has nearly 20 years experience of video production experience in the corporate and charitable sectors. Working with large international companies to small local theatre groups he came to CoolTan in 2012. “I love the energy of CoolTan and the longest day still leaves me ready for the next challenge. The role CT has in the community is immeasurable and to see peoples lives improving before your very eyes is an incentive to carry on the good work. To be a part of this is a great privilege and together we have grown the Video Production Department and trained some fantastic volunteers. As with everybody involved with CT it’s onwards and upwards.”


Eva Megias, Graphic Design Tutor: CoolTan Arts Staff & TutorsEva Megias
Graphic Design/Computer Tutor (One-to-one )
I teach Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Basic I.T. to participants who want to improve their skills and make creative projects. I provide friendly one-to-one lessons where you can learn at your own pace. I have worked for many years as a graphic designer and photographer in both Barcelona and London and have a background in art history. I’m interested in feminism, performance art and chess!


Fiona ConnFiona Conn, WordPress Tutor: CoolTan Staff and Tutors
WordPress Workshops Tutor
E: fiona@cooltanarts.org.uk

Hi, I’m Fiona and I’m an accidental geek. I’m interested in figuring out ways that technology can improve people’s lives and help them explore their social and creative needs and potential. So that’s partly how I ended up volunteering to build this new website for CoolTan, as well as their online shop. As a tutor, I have also run WordPress workshops at CoolTan for over a year now, supporting participants to develop the skills and confidence to create websites that allow them to showcase their own personal projects online. I love teaching and the rest of the time I also freelance as a web developer. Always open to collaborating on interesting new projects.


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