Dartington Hall

During our time at Dartington (November 2015-July 2020), on 3 March 2016 CCANW converted to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). It was dissolved 6 July 2020.

Because many funding bodies did not recognise CCANW’s existing status as a Community Interest Company (CIC) as being charitable and would not accept applications, on 3 March 2016 CCANW converted to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). This was dissolved 6 July 2020. Its founding Directors were Clive Adams, Richard Povall and Robert Swinscow (aka Daro Montag) who supported the organisation on a voluntary basis.

CIO directors:

  • Clive Adams (appointed 3 March 2016, retired 6 July 2020)
  • Robert Swinscow/Daro Montag (appointed 3 March 2016, retired 6 July 2020)
  • Richard Povall (appointed 3 March 2016, retired 5 April 2018)
  • Sally Lai (appointed 21 December 2016, retired 13 December 2018)
  • Charlotte Rathbone (appointed 13 October 2017, retired 6 July 2020)

Daro Montag

Daro Montag was an artist, lecturer and researcher at Falmouth University where he led the Research in Art, Nature and the Environment research group (RANE) and the MA Art and Environment course. His art practice was involved with environmental and ecological issues, particularly the inherent creativity of the organic world. He had an important role in CCANW’s Soil Culture programme.

Richard Povall

Richard Povall had previously run the MA Arts and Ecology course for its last two years at the now-defunct Dartington College of Arts and had a long professional history in the field of arts and ecology. He had previously been the Co-director of Aune Head Arts, a commissioning and producing organisation that worked with communities on Dartmoor and in other National Parks. He founded art.earth in 2016.

Sally Lai

Sally Lai was the part-time Residency Coordinator between 2013-15 for our highly successful Soil Culture: Young Shoots programme. She had extensive experience of supporting the development of residencies. These included the programme of the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester where she had been Director 2008-13, and also in Taiwan and China.

Charlotte Rathbone

Charlotte Rathbone was a Principal of Rathbone Partnership, a landscape practice based in Modbury. She studied geography at Cambridge and landscape design at Sheffield and was a member of the Landscape Institute. In addition to many projects in the region, she worked on parks in Hong Kong and land reclamation. A former CCANW Trustee from 2007-13, she was also involved in delivering several Soil Culture activities.

Left to right: Richard Povall, Daro Montag, Charlotte Rathbone and Tristram Besterman discussing the move to Dartington with Clive. Photo Clive Adams.

In June 2015 ACE had rejected our application for £29,600 to fund the second stage of Soil Culture, Deep Roots. Nevertheless, thanks to the support of the participating galleries and the making of significant economies, the exhibition and publication went ahead, ending in Plymouth in March 2016. Despite that, by the end of 2015 CCANW could no longer afford the rent of its office at the Innovation Centre.

Following an approach by Dr Richard Povall, by November 2015 it had been decided to join art.earth at Dartington where Richard had been invited to launch a new MA/MFA Arts and Ecology course at Schumacher College in September 2017, thereby creating a ‘family’ of like-minded organisations. This also included the Research in Art, Nature and Environment (RANE) group led by Daro Montag at Falmouth University. CCANW was assisted in the move by Martyn Windsor and Rolfe Mooney on a freelance basis.

Dartington Hall is in South Devon and offers a unique combination of indoor and outdoor space as well as a cultural milieu that fits with the CCANW ethos. This 1,000 acre Estate is the remains of a medieval estate that was restored in the 1920s and 1930s by the American/British philanthropists Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst creating a ‘rural experiment’ in new economic thinking. Arts and education played a significant role in this work which remain central to the Dartington mission today. From the 1960s to 2008 the Estate was home to Dartington College of Arts, a small progressive arts college known for its innovations in curriculum and teaching.

On 25 November 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding was agreed between Schumacher College (part of The Dartington Hall Trust) and CCANW, covering a period from 1 November 2015 to 31 December 2017. The main parts of the agreement were that:

  • CCANW would have access to a hot desk facility on an as-needed basis without charge. Initially this would be located within the Library of the Elmhirst Centre.
  • CCANW would locate its book collection within the Library at the Elmhirst Centre. The books would be available to the College community and catalogued as part of the Schumacher College collection, whilst remaining the property of CCANW.
  • CCANW would store as much as possible of its exhibition equipment in the store room of The Visitor Centre (Gallery building), at no charge but this may be subject to change.

But, as in many institutions, it took some time to agree and sign this MoU and in the meantime much had changed in the Dartington context. Despite a successful validation it was decided that Schumacher College’s new MA Arts and Ecology course would not go ahead and there seemed little appetite or place for the arts within the College despite the best intentions of its then Head, Jon Rae.

Other changes were taking place; not long after the agreement was made, the Gallery building was closed to become a café and CCANW was forced to move its equipment and files to an unsuitable area under the seating rake of the Cinema. For a while the CCANW book collection was given space in the newly-created Library within the Elmhirst Centre at Dartington but this, too, was only temporary and ultimately the books were returned to Clive Adams, who donated them to Bath Spa University in 2021. Books on contemporary Korean art, including many books on Yatoo, were given to the SOAS Library, University of London in 2022.

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