Dartington College of Arts
Dartington College of Arts was a specialist educational institution at Dartington Hall near Totnes in Devon, southwest England, offering education in music and the arts. Courses prepared students for a career in teaching, in partnership with Rolle College of Education, Exmouth, and came to focus on a performative and multi-disciplinary approach to the arts. Its founder Principal was Peter Cox who had been involved as Warden during its former manifestation before becoming a college. It offered tertiary-level courses in postdramatic theatre, music, choreography, visual performance and performance writing. Its teaching staff were all active arts practitioners.
The college was founded in 1961 as a consequence of the original Dartington Hall experiment in rural regeneration. Academic degrees were validated in partnership with the University of Plymouth in 1975.
In 2020, The Dartington Arts School was established on the site of the former College of the Arts on the Estate of Dartington Hall Trust.
Dartington and Bloomsbury
Leonard Knight Elmhirst, the founder of the Dartington estate, was a member of the Bloomsbury group from the 1920s. The college and Hall became a popular arts location for such figures as Julian Bell, George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf. Dartington has also received special attention from Ravi Shankar, Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Siegfried Sassoon and the Chinese poet Xu Zhimo.
During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, there was one campus at Higher Close consisting of three residential blocks A, B and C, plus Garage Yard. Students would also live in digs in Totnes and surrounding area. The college was rural and was latterly divided into four campuses, Higher Close, Lower Close, Aller Park and Foxhole.
During the 1960s and 1970s, students were awarded the Dartington Diploma of Music in Education before transferring to Rolle College in Exmouth (females) and St Luke's College, Exeter (males) to complete a Certificate in Education. Some students later added a Batchelor of Education to their qualifications. In later years, all BA students embarked on a Contextual Enquiry Project in their third year of study. This was an investigative project and required the student to examine his or her work in a broader social context. The practice was an example of the College's roots in Dartington School and the alternative education movement which developed from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner from the early twentieth century onwards.
The Performance Writing programme was set up in 1992-93 by John Hall and Caroline Bergvall. Other teachers on the programme included cris cheek, Alaric Sumner, Redell Olsen, Peter Jaeger and Mark Leahy. The external examiners for the programme were Rod Mengham and Robert Gavin Hampson. John Hall's 'On Performance Writing' (Shearsman, 2013) provides an account of 'Performance Writing' and pedagogical reflections. Hall describes performance writing as 'a set of dispositions towards textual practice and inquiry' and as the name for 'a constellation of existing and potential practices'. See also Caroline Bergvall, 'What do we mean by Performance writing?'
Merger with University College Falmouth (now Falmouth University)
Dartington College of Arts has now merged with Falmouth University and relocated to Cornwall in 2010. This decision was controversial and generated much local protest, The merger with University College Falmouth was seen by some[who?] as bringing increased resources, support and opportunity for arts students and greater opportunities for vocational study and post-graduate support. Others saw it as the death of a noble experiment.
Dartington College of Arts was one of the last remaining specialist arts colleges in the UK, with the remainder — apart from a very small holdouts — all now swallowed up by larger institutions.
- Andrea Stark (Arts executive)
- Craig Fortnam (Composer, conductor, and musician)
- Darryl Way (Musician)
- David Llewellyn (Author)
- Deana Martin (Singer and actress)
- Deborah Levy (Playwright, novelist, and poet)
- Dominic Barber (Theatre director)
- George Passmore (Artist)
- John Renbourn (Guitarist and songwriter)
- John Richards (musician)
- Josie Lawrence (Actress and comedian)
- Kevin Brown (Blues musician)
- Lindsay Cooper (Bassoon and oboe player)
- Lucia Rikaki (director, documentarist, writer and producer))
- MaJiKer (Songwriter, producer and beatboxer)
- Mark Everist (Music historian, critic, and musicologist)
- Mark Ryan (guitarist) (Guitarist)
- Michael Pearce (Artist)
- Kevin Finnan (Choreographer)
- Nicholas Casswell (Composer)
- Patrick Nunn (Composer and educator)
- Paul Newham (Psychotherapist and educator)
- Saara Lamberg Filmmaker, writer, and actor)
- Simon Harvey (actor, director, and producer)
- Stephen Evans (actor) (actor, comedian)
- Stuart Goldsmith (actor, comedian)
- Sylvia Hallett (Musician and composer)
- Tim Plester (Actor, Filmmaker, Playwright)
- William Drake (Organ builder)
- Alan Read (Writing tutor)
- Bob Gilmore (Musicologist)
- Christopher Williams (Music lecturer)
- Claire Donovan (Vice principal)
- Curtis Roosevelt (Principal)
- David Harding (Art lecturer)
- Jonathan Lloyd (Composer in residence)
- Mark Kidel (Music lecturer and conference director)
- Mary Fulkerson (Head of dance)
- Oliver Butterworth (violinist) (Music lecturer)
- Pen Dalton (Studio practice and critical theory lecturer)
- Richard Hall (composer) (Director of music)
- Caroline Bergvall (Director of performance writing)
- Christopher Pressler (Librarian and writing tutor)
- Sam Richards (Music and writing lecturer, leading opponent of college closure.
- "Falmouth University". Falmouth.ac.uk. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- Steven Morris (28 December 2006). "Battle to save celebrated cradle of cutting edge art". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- Anthea Lipsett (10 March 2008). "Last-ditch attempt to halt Dartington merger". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2011.