Susan Elsley

Working in policy, research & development

I work at the interface of policy, research and development. I have developed and collaborated on many strategic projects with the ambition to make a difference to children and young people’s lives.

These projects have used my skills in a holistic way: from developing ideas and researching the experiences of children, young people and adults to scoping out the policy environment and coming up with realistic ways of taking action. I have developed and written resources for change from guides to charters as well as reports, articles, book chapters and think pieces.

Working independently

I set up my research, policy and development agency in 2005 after many years working at a senior level focusing on children’s rights and services, the voluntary sector and community development. A commitment to human rights underpins my work and I relish initiatives exploring change at local, national and international level.

Susan Elsley

Working on own initiative & with others

I enjoy developing projects and regularly work with national and local government, voluntary organisations, universities, international agencies and public bodies. I provide support to organisations through facilitation, strategic planning and business development.

I work closely with the Centre for Excellence for Looked after Children in Scotland (CELCIS) at the University of Strathclyde where I am an Honorary Senior Research Fellow. I undertake academic research and teaching and have a long association with the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) at the University of Edinburgh.

Working with the arts, culture & creativity

A lifelong interest in arts and culture and the process of creativity influences what I do. I am interested in children and young people’s interaction with arts and culture, particularly children’s books, storytelling and theatre. I have developed work around creative approaches to research with children with CRFR at the University of Edinburgh. More recently I supported Licketyspit, a children’s theatre company, in its development.

Susan Elsley

Developing knowledge & learning

I have a PhD in Sociology (2009) from the University of Edinburgh focusing on children, childhood and children’s books. I also have a Masters in Social Science in Childhood Studies, a degree in English Literature and Language and a professional qualification in Youth and Community Work. I find ways of continuing to satisfy my curiosity through courses in storytelling and writing as well as developing my skills as a sea kayaker, cook and maker of anything!

Commitment to voluntary organisations & charities

I have wide experience as a charity trustee and committee member, and in roles as chairperson or vice-chair. I have been on many advisory committees, chaired a few and enjoy the creative process of working with others. I am Vice-Chair of Together and Licketyspit Theatre Company.