We are going through a time of great change at Dartington, a time full of uncertainty and creative potential. Dartington is a very special place with a remarkable history that still does many great things. However, before starting as CEO, I spoke to many of you who were deeply frustrated with Dartington – who felt that it wasn’t fulfilling its potential, or who believed that the Trust wasn’t open enough as an organisation and wasn’t living its values.
Hundreds of you expressed these feelings at a series of Open Space public meetings between November 2015 and January this year. These events were held to ask all those who care about Dartington’s future the question ‘What Could Dartington Be?’ We’ve used many of these ideas to develop a new long-term vision for Dartington as a laboratory for living and learning with the purpose of pioneering deep personal and societal change. This is inspired by the Elmhirsts’ original Dartington Experiment, their concept of expressing a ‘many-sided life’ and their ethos of openness, creativity and ‘learning by doing’.
Simultaneously, we are developing a strategy and business plan to address our financial challenges. We make no secret of our need to save the Trust, which will not exist in its current form within five years if we continue as we are.Read more
Our plan for change has three main strands. Firstly, we’re developing the new vision and strategy for Dartington which reconnects to the Elmhirsts’ original concept and updates and applies their values and ethos to a range of contemporary issues. Secondly, a series of short- to medium-term projects delivering some of your Open Space ideas are now underway and include, among other things: a new café, play facilities, a campsite, a self-build project at Lane End and the reopening of Foxhole for a range of arts, learning and enterprise uses. These all aim to spark new life and potential, improve your experience of the estate and generate increased footfall and revenue. We’re also developing a spatial plan, the Estate Framework, to guide thinking around how we use our land and buildings in the future.
Behind the scenes, something else is happening. We’re doing all we can to radically change our internal culture: foregrounding human values, creativity and equality to improve how we work with each other and in partnership with independent organisations. We want to be transparent about what we’re doing, keep you up-to-date with developments, and share our emerging vision for Dartington’s future.
Below you’ll find some resources that aim to illustrate how we’re tackling all this. The timeline outlines our journey so far, as well as some key expected milestones to come. Further down, you can explore the three main strands of our work for change – our new organisational strategy, our Estate Framework and new projects to revitalise the Dartington estate. We hope these resources are useful, and welcome all feedback – click here if you have anything to tell us about this area of the site.
Rhodri Samuel, CEO
The journey so far…
Protests against development plansLocal people react strongly against Trust plans for development in Dartington village
Dartington appoints new local Chair and three new TrusteesThree new Trustees come on board through an open recruitment process to support a new strategy and values
Dartington appoints Rhodri Samuel as new CEOThe Trust opts for a regeneration leader with a strong belief in local collaboration.
First PAG meetingThe Dartington Hall Trust and Community Place-Making Advisory Group (PAG) is set up, reflecting our commitment to work more collaboratively with others.
Sites in Dartington village withdrawnFour further areas of Trust-owned land in Dartington village are withdrawn from the South Hams District Council Land Availability Assessment.
Studio Partington joins processThe Dartington Hall Trust asks Studio Partington, a multi-award winning design practice based in London, to lead development of the Estate Framework.
Open Space events beginHundreds join CEO Rhodri Samuel for four events aiming to begin answering the question: 'What Can Dartington Be?'
Estate Framework early thinkingInitial thoughts around the Estate Framework are revealed and discussed at a public meeting on 16 February and in exhibitions across the estate
Two new Trustees and Chair appointedWe strengthen our foundations with two key appointments to the Board, including Dr Greg Parston as Chair
New short- and medium-term projects get Trustee sign-offA variety of exciting new projects across the Dartington estate receive the green light from Trustees.
New vision to be presented to TrusteesAll work on changes at Dartington to culminate in presentation of new strategy and financial plan for final Trustee approval in spring 2017.
Find out more about how Dartington is changing
Our new strategy
Find out how we’re progressing our long-term vision to be a pioneer of deep personal and societal change, inspired by Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst’s concept of a ‘many-sided’ life’.
Please note: this area of the site will continue to evolve to reflect our ongoing process of change. Please check back from time to time to view the latest updates.