Dartington Social Justice Innovation

Our Dartington Social Justice Innovation programme works to increase understanding of social injustices, generates practical new solutions to tackle these, and aims to share our learning with others.

Our vision and beliefs: Our vision of a just society is one where all people are equally able to flourish as human beings and participate as citizens in their own unique ways. We believe there is no them, only us – and that a different, more equal future is not only possible but vital if we are to fulfil our full potential and protect our environment. We think this will only be achieved through action and change that addresses the many-sided and systemic nature of inequality and injustice – and that harnesses a wide range of actors, resources and approaches.

What we do and how

Our focus is on pioneering and generating increased social justice innovation through our work here at Dartington and beyond. It is one of the key ways Dartington is working to put our principle of embodying and inspiring a many-sided life for all into practice.

Social Justice Innovation uses the tools of innovation to tackle unfair inequalities and injustices as well as creating alternatives. A social justice innovation can be a new idea, small or large initiative, organisation or enterprise, method or even a movement. To be ‘innovative’ they don’t have to be something entirely ‘new’ , more likely they will be a new combination of existing ideas, approaches or disciplines.

We do this by bringing together the many sides of Dartington, as well as a range of other people and organisations working to advance social justice locally, nationally and globally, to:

  • Generate knowledge, learning and capacity in social justice innovation
  • Create or support new practical social justice innovations
  • Engage and influence policy makers and the public

Our current priorities include:

  • Developing new learning opportunities for contemporary and future social justice innovators
  • Exploring and strengthening the role of the arts in advancing social justice
  • Delivering practical place-based social justice innovations in a rural/semi-rural context

Our current and recent projects include:

Who we are

The Dartington Social Justice Innovation programme is part of and governed by the Dartington Hall Trust and Trustees.

Our work is developed and delivered with staff colleagues and volunteers from across the Trust. In addition, we work with a number of external associates and advisors experienced in both social justice and innovation.

Ceri Goddard


Owen Dowsett


Why we are doing this

From its very beginnings, progressive values and social justice goals have been at the heart of Dartington’s experiment in living and learning.

Over the last century we have brought these values to life through a wide range of activities and action – from hosting and championing radical social and economic policy thinkers, driving and supporting better frontline practice, and incubating or supporting local projects and services working directly with people and groups experiencing disadvantage.

Whilst there has been much social progress and change in that time, inequalities remain one of the defining challenges of our time threatening our social fabric, economic resilience and our environment; inequalities that mean that having a real chance of being able the live the kind of many-sided lives Dartington embodies and inspires is still the preserve of too few and certainly not yet something for the many.

However we do not believe such inequality and injustice is inevitable and we think change and alternatives are not only possible, but imperative. As Dartington steps up our work to embody and inspire a many-sided life we are committed to harnessing the many sides of our work to contribute to change.

“Human values – care and respect for individuals; concern for one another; a sense of responsibility for our neighbour – were to be held above all others”

– Dorothy Elmhirst

Get in touch

Dartington Social Justice Innovation, Higher Close, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 6EE

Ceri Goddard, Associate Director – ceri.goddard@dartington.org
Owen Dowsett, Research and Development Officer – owen.dowsett@dartington.org