Education at Dartington

The educational activities masterminded and supported by The Dartington Hall Trust are innovative and wide ranging.

DARTINGTON PLUS (D Plus), a flagship programme, is one of three national centres of excellence in music and the arts. It is the umbrella for The Arts At Dartington on the Dartington Hall Estate, and their associated educational activities. It also acts as the South West’s Regional Music Development Agency (an area that stretches from Bournemouth in the east to Lands End, Cornwall in the west and Gloucester in the north).
D Plus is a partnership between Dartington Hall Trust, King Edward VI Community College (KEVICC) and Dartington College of Arts.

Matt Griffiths is Director of Arts At Dartington & Dartington Plus.

D Plus supports long-term participation and excellence in the arts for all people in the area – developing opportunities for audiences and artists. It delivers a wide range of activities through residencies, education and community schemes, training and professional development and performance programmes.

Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst, Dartington’s founders, encouraged and supported people with creative talent and energy. As part of their Dartington Experiment, they created an idyllic rural estate where inspired ideas can be realised through imagination, exploration, reflection and practice. The Dartington Hall Trust continues their vision for a twenty-first century society.

The Elmhirsts believed profoundly in education and ecology – and in the active “involvement of amateurs”.

Both Dartington International Summer School and Schumacher College draw inspiration from the Dartington Estate, where they are situated. The Summer School offers unique opportunities to both professionals and amateurs and Schumacher is at the heart of the Trust’s work on sustainability and ecology.

Projects include:

SOUTH WEST MUSIC SCHOOL (SWMS): Launched April 2007 Director: Lisa Tregale
A major, new regional outreach initiative to enable highly talented young musicians to develop their skills in the South West. Part of a national network of centres for advanced training for exceptional young musicians aged 8 to 18. Supporting 15 young musicians in its first year and rising to 45 by 2010.

SOUTH WEST CAMERATA (SWC) Director: Fiona McLean
High calibre, unconducted, string youth chamber orchestra for Devon offering rehearsal, performance and networking opportunities for pre-professional musicians and emerging music leaders. Encourages musical enjoyment by developing students’ thinking, listening, verbalisation and ensemble performance.

SOUTH WEST CAMERATINIS: Launching September 2007
A new ensemble for promising young string players (grades 3 – 5) following the success of SWC. Peer-led coaching will be delivered by music leaders from SWC and Dartington Summer Youth Programme.

The region’s definitive annual music convention, held in Dartington and Colston Hall, Bristol for: musicians, composers, educators, promoters, agents, directors, managers, programmers, publishers, publicists, community groups, funding bodies, aspiring young music professionals, arts centres, local authorities. Speakers and presenters are at the cutting edge of their fields. There are seminars, workshops, networking and professional development opportunities, live music and showcases for established and emerging musicians.

Quarterly seminars held across the South West, in partnership with regional music industry groups, to cover all key aspects with specialist guest panellists.

A record label to showcase and raise the profile of emerging bands and musicians from the SW, through the release of promotional compilation CDs, to attract the attention of the commercial music industry.

SOUTHWEST SOUND SEARCH (part of South West Sound)
A region-wide A&R search via Dartington Recordings to identify the best of the South West’s emerging musical talent, in order to produce a showcase CD for free distribution to SWS delegates, and as a cover mount of Music Week magazine.

A new record label, set up to release one off singles by artists from the South West. A joint venture between D PLUS and Sawmills Studios, Cornwall, it enables emerging regional bands to reach wider audiences and key music industry figures.

A South West initiative to address a national problem: emerging teenage ‘underage’ bands aren’t able to get gigs in licensed venues. In the first highly successful tour (Jan – March 2007) TRT has given 5 select young bands invaluable touring experience in the South West. Further tours are planned.

Dartington is set to become a year round ‘arts incubator’ for the commissioning and development of new artistic work through the TRANSATLANTIC ARTS CONSORTIUM (TAC), a new partnership between: Dartington Plus, California Institute for the Arts and Idyllwild Arts. It will provide the opportunity for young people to work alongside leading artists and practitioners.

SaMS at KEVICC: The Saturday Music School for young people in Devon
KEVICC, Totnes, a school with special arts status, welcomes 150 children and young people from throughout Devon every Saturday morning in term time to get involved in music. It offers opportunities for those starting out and encourages students already learning instruments to develop their skills through workshops, ensembles and individual lessons.

An annual, three week non-residential programme for young people (aged 8 – 20) including rock and pop, strings, jazz, photography, painting, drawing and music theatre.


SCHUMACHER COLLEGE (See under Ecology at Dartington)