Who we are

Paul Kleiman BAHons  MEd  PhD  PFHEA  FRSA


Paul is the Senior Consultant at Ciel Associates. He has a national and international reputation as an innovative and expert consultant, facilitator and speaker, motivating and enabling organisations, groups and individuals to recognise and capitalise on their own creativity in order to enhance their work and working practices.

Paul’s work and research spans several field and he has been at the forefront of enhancing and supporting learning and teaching in higher education through his ten years as Deputy Director of PALATINE, the UK’s Subject Centre for Dance, Drama and Music in higher education and, until 2014, as the Higher Education Academy’s UK Lead for those disciplines.  His work and research, particularly in the fields of creativity and assessment, is published and cited widely in books and journals and has been adapted/adopted by several institutions and degree programmes. A list of his publications is available here. Currently, Paul is a Visiting Professor at Middlesex University and Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, a Principal Fellow of the HEA and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Paul trained and worked successfully as a theatre designer and director before moving into education. After several stints of part-time teaching in FE and HE he became one of the founding tutors of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) where he became Head of Performance Design and Head of Assessment.

Consultancies includes a major, year-long consultancy at Leeds Arts University working on a radical re-design of their approach to assessing creative practices; a whole-institution curriculum review consultancy at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts; leading the Annual Teaching & Learning seminar at the Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore; a major benchmarking project and review of four European arts-based HE institutions; and, with Jo Richler, a 15-month consultancy on enhancing the student experience at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Drama and a staff strategy consultancy at the University of Northampton.

In addition to the consultancy work Paul has undertaken (see here) previous work also includes membership of the Quality Assurance Agency’s Review Panel for Subject Benchmarks; adviser to the Department for Education on the reform of A levels in dance, drama and music; design and development of the new Performance and Creative Enterprise (PACE) degree course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama; a major report for GuildHE – ‘Excellence in Diversity’ – on the importance, value and impact of smaller universities and small specialist institutions.

‘”I am not a number!”: reassessing assessment’. Video of keynote address at the International Assessment in Higher Education conference June 2023. Full transcript with slides available here.

Paul’s blog is at stumblingwithconfidence.wordpress.com

“Without Paul’s knowledge, expertise and experience we would not have been able to set up and implement this programme pioneering training. His creativity and imagination, along with his empathy, listening kills and patience, enabled us to establish a new and ground-breaking initiative that is already ‘making waves’, both through the Barbican and Guildhall, as well as the wider sector. He has a genuine understanding of Higher Education, curriculum development and its role and relevance to employability in the creative and cultural industries (as well as other sectors) that is second to none. I cannot recommend him as a specialist consultant highly enough!”   (Sean Gregory, Director of Learning & Engagement, Barbican, London)

“Paul, thank you so much. Many of your ideas have stayed with us and helped to define our approach to teaching, learning and assessment. We owe you some debt of gratitude”. (Andy Head,  Head of Dept., University of Hull)

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Accredited Member, Society of Education Consultants


Jo is the Lead Consultant at Ciel Associates. Her consultancy work and research focuses on the management of change with a specific focus on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). She gained her MSc in Education Management at Manchester Metropolitan University and has worked for twenty five years right across the education sector from primary to higher education as a tutor, senior manager and consultant. She has established a formidable reputation as a leader and innovator in inclusion, learning challenges and the management of change. Jo has particular expertise in special education needs and disabilities; compliance and awareness; equity, equality, inclusion and diversity. She is a Director of the Delamere Trust, a funding provider for professional special needs education providers and schools, and a strategy and policy adviser for a number of charities in that sector.  Recent work includes working with faith schools on whole school approaches to embedding inclusive practices in their policies, major strategic change consultancies (with Paul Kleiman) with the University of Northampton and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Drama including a review of student services. 

Jo is also trained bereavement befriender and is Co-Chair of Manchester Sands, the baby loss charity. In partnership with The Whitworth Art Gallery she was one of the driving forces behind the multi-award winning STILL PARENTS project and exhibition. 

Jo is an inspiring speaker and facilitator, and she was short-listed for the DfES STAR Award for Outstanding Leadership and Inspiration. She is an Accredited Member of the Society of Education Consultants, a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

“Jo is a passionate advocate of learning and sets some tough challenges for the learning world. She believes strongly that people have to be at the heart of the learning process and she is a great innovator”. Mike Levy, TJ Online magazine

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