Centre for Social Justice Innovation

Our Centre for Social Justice Innovation works to increase understanding of social injustices and inequalities and generate practical new solutions to tackle these within Dartington and beyond.

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 which harnesses a wide range of actors, resources and approaches.

What we do and how

Our mission is to pioneer and generate increased social justice innovation, within Dartington and beyond.

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
  • Place based social justice innovations in a rural/semi-rural context
  • Promoting and stimulating new policy thinking and debate on advancing equality

Our current and recent projects include:

Who we are

The CSJI is part of and governed by The Dartington Hall Trust. Our work is developed and delivered with staff colleagues and volunteers from across the Trust and we also 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. However, the pace of change, and the complex and deep rooted nature of many inequalities and injustices, means social justice actors need to challenge themselves and others to find new ways of understanding problems and developing solutions.

“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

Centre for 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