We believe the arts can transform and change people’s lives for the better. We  deliver creative projects with cross-sector partners, lobbying and influencing policy and strategy in the arts and supporting and developing the cultural infrastructure.

Based in Dorset, we work nationally and across Dorset and the South West of England. We also work with UK networks and partnerships including Social Enterprise UKand we are part of a national Public Service Mutualsresearch programmethrough the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

We want to achieve the following:

  • Help create the conditions and space for arts and culture to flourish in Dorset by leading and managing a service level agreement on behalf of Dorset County Council
  • Combine arts and environment experiences in our creative projects and see the difference it makes to people’s health and general wellbeing
  • Challenge the status quo and bring artists and participants together in shared, creative projects resulting in positive change. Everything we do has social impact.
  • Invest in placemaking; rejuvenating the built and natural environment, improving local business viability and helping create more cohesive, healthy and resilient communities

We manage the Little Keep building in Dorchester, a creative hub of eight offices and co-working spaces for social enterprises, the creative industries and voluntary organisations.


The Arts Development Company (TADC) was set up in July 2015 as an employee-led social enterprise and is registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC). The company was set up by members of Dorset County Council arts development team with help from the government’s Mutuals Support Programme.

It is still the only dedicated arts service in the country to become a public service mutual in this way and recognised by Arts Council England as a national exemplar in diversifying and sustaining how arts services are delivered.

Little Keep History

The Little Keep is a Grade II listed building which stands at the far end of the old parade ground opposite The Keep in Dorchester. It served as the officer’s quarters of the Militia Barracks, which were completed in 1866 before the Depot Barracks were built. The Little Keep is now all that remains of the old Militia Barracks.

Annual Review 2018

Read our first Annual Review. Covering the year 2017-18, the review gives a snapshot of our activity across our main areas of arts and wellbeing, placemaking, arts and environment and social action. It shows how we are leading change in art and culture in Dorset and beyond.

Key facts:

  • For every £1 invested in us by Dorset County Council we return £4 of external investment into Dorset.
  • Our Culture+ project with the Dorset Growth Hub is investing more than £1m in Dorset’s creative industries over three years.
  • We have turned The Little Keep in Dorchester into a hub of creative and social enterprise.
  • In the last year alone we provided paid commissions worth a total of £250,000 for 160 independent creative practitioners in Dorset.
  • More than 70 children with special educational needs enjoyed 1,200 hours of our Short Breaks arts programme last year.
  • We’re working closely with Dorset AONB to deliver dementia-friendly arts experiences to older people.

To read the report in full, please download a PDF on one of the links below.

Annual Review double page view (best for desktop screens)

Annual Review single page view (best for mobile devices)


We are a member of Social Enterprise UK

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