‘Dartington College has nothing to do with my life here in Totnes’
Totnes and the surrounding areas are like they are today because of the influence of Dartington, which has influenced the cultural life of the area and has encouraged an atmosphere of new and creative thinking. Dartington College has been a very significant part of this.
Dartington College has always had a tradition of accepting students from a wide range of levels of skill. This makes it far less elitist than many specialist colleges and accessible to many people who would not normally be able to train in the arts.
Although the College has not in recent years had much direct involvement with community arts in the town – a large proportion of community arts practitioners in the area trained at Dartington. A huge network of artists and arts practitioners in South Devon has built up over many years. The loss of Dartington College will have a significant negative impact on this network – especially in a few years time.
There is also talk of scaling down the summer school –business summer schools provide much better revenue (this is also a national trend) – or indeed weddings!
Dartington College is a magical place. Dartington is not just a point on the map – it was founded on principles that offer us a way forward, based on putting the spirit of people at the centre of our lives and community. It’s grounds and institutions have been an inspiration and a source of spiritual food for thousands and thousands of people – are they really suggesting that some concrete buildings in Falmouth can be offered as an alternative? When one enters the Dartington Estate, one enters into a magic that cannot be replaced.
Are these values not just some outdated nostalgia for a past era?
Perhaps these values are more relevant than ever in our modern consumerist and materialistic society where ‘value’ is more and more dominated by short term economics rather than consideration of the creative, cultural and spiritual needs of people and community and the long term gains this has.
It is a done deal – there is no point protesting
Decisions have not yet been made. The Board of Governors meets on 8th December and talks are underway to secure a deal with Falmouth by the end of Feb 2007.
This could present a wonderful opportunity to draw together the people of Totnes and surrounding area with the Arts College and the Trust to create an exciting way forward. There are many models and possibilities that have not been given consideration – including a proposal to make Dartington estate a beacon for sustainable ecological housing and student accommodation.
There is huge opposition to the closure of Dartington College: this includes opposition from staff at the college, from ancillary workers and part-time staff, students, traders in the local area, community members and creative arts practitioners, local educators, councillors, politicians and many other sectors of the community, including national and international voices of opposition.
Write letters, talk to people and inform people of the issues, write to your MP’s, write to the Dartington Trust and express your concerns.
Join an action group –
Use the resources on this website for ways to become involved and active.
Decisions are being made now – there is very little time to act!