Founded in 1925, we are a thriving visitor destination and charity supporting learning in arts, ecology and social justice, set on a beautiful 1,200 estate in the South Devon countryside.
Throughout our history we have drawn leading artists and thinkers including Bernard Leach, composer Igor Stravinsky, cellist Jacqueline du Pre, musician Ravi Shankar, playwright Bernard Shaw and environmental activist Vandana Shiva.
Today, we are:
a social-enterprise hub for like-minded organisations and charities
a place for nature with range of conservation, agroforestry and regenerative food-growing projects.
a creative community with a year-round programme of art and craft short courses, theatre, music and dance events as well as a wide selection of films at the independent Barn Cinema.
We are also an award-winning destination with woodland walks, riverside trails, cafés, and restaurants and family-friendly activities.
What we do
Our legacy of progressive education continues to inform our learning programme: from our wide programme of short courses in ecology, arts and crafts, to our transformative higher education programmes.
Our arts and cultural events attract audiences from around the world and encourage social change, learning and experimentation.
Our estate, home to innovations in agriculture and architecture, is a place to build communities and the ecosystem that sustains them.
Respecting the rights of individuals is at the core of the original Dartington Experiment.
Our history: Meet the Elmhirsts
The Dartington Experiment began in 1925, when Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst bought a crumbling estate and began to explore how a place could change the world – attracting some of the greatest artists, educators and political philosophers of the 20th century in the process. Important British institutions – including the NHS and the Arts Council – emerged, and ground-breaking experiments in land use, farming and education took place.
The Elmhirsts understood that the world and its people are complex. There are many sides to every story and to every human being. We need environments that encourage our whole being to flourish, in connection with nature and each other.
Our people and governance
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