Dorset is rich in culture and heritage. Its stunning rural scenery, magnificent coast and vibrant community-led towns provide an inspiring backdrop for artists, performers, designers and makers of all kinds, and has developed a thriving tourism industry.

Arts and culture is woven into the very fabric of Dorset. Its live performance venues, established arts festivals, open studio events, galleries and internationally renowned orchestra all place Dorset firmly on the map as an innovative and thriving county that benefits local residents and visitors alike. But what value and impact does this have?

We’ve pulled together data from organisations, events and projects from across Dorset to build five cases that advocate the positive impact and enormous value arts an culture has in the county. Throughout June and July we’ll be sharing these every other week and discussing the value of arts and culture in more depth on our Twitter using the hashtag #CaseForCultureDorset

Case One: Arts and Culture Boosts Economy

 As a recent report from Arts Council England shows, the arts and culture sector is a significant contributor to the UK’s economy. Adding £10.8bn at the last count in 2016, the sector has now overtaken agriculture in terms of GDP contribution and continues to prove its worth, even on a local scale.

In 2018, Dorset was the first location in the UK to host ‘Dippy the Dinosaur’. Over 150,000 people flocked to Dorset County Museum in Dorchester to marvel at the Natural History Museum’s oldest replica of a Diplodocus skeleton. They contributed to a visitor spend of over £2.2 million and the long-term benefits are still present today – read the full report here.

Infographic by illustrator Bridie Cheeseman.

“Dippy on Tour demonstrated the positive economic and social effect on an area that happens when people travel to enjoy a cultural experience. Both residents and visitors spend more money in shops and restaurants, park for longer and use public transport, and visit other attractions. Dorchester and Dorset have many cultural assets, and it is great that we can learn from the Dippy on Tour experience to benefit the future”.

Jacky Thorne, Culture+ Tourism Lead, the Arts Development Company


Case Two: Arts & Culture Raises the National Profile of the County

Storytelling is a powerful way to connect us with history and to each other, and when the arts is thrown in for good measure the effects can be monumental. Art can break down language barriers and can create memorable and universal ways of commemorating significant events, and Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea is an ideal example of this. This beautifully moving tribute for the First World War centenary attracted an incredible media hype that helped to put Dorset firmly on the map for arts, culture and heritage.

Infographic by illustrator Bridie Cheeseman.

  • The ‘Pages of the Sea’ website has been visited by people in over 176 countries.
  • Almost half the population of the country were aware of the project
  • An estimated 14,000 people visited Dorset beaches for the event
  • It hit the front page of many of the national newspapers
  • It generated an incredible national media value of £10 million

Dorset was a key location in Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea commissioned and produced by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary. It was delivered with partner organisations across the UK who worked with their local communities to create the event on 11 November 2018. The Dorset event was produced by Activate Performing Arts.

Supported by The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Big Lottery Fund, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. With additional support from Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and National Rail.

The Dorset project was supported by Dorset Council (formerly West Dorset District Council, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and Dorset County Council) – along with support from Lyme Regis Town Council. For full credits and thanks see Activate’s webpage

Get Involved

Join our Twitter campaign and help us to spread the word about Case for Culture Dorset. Don’t forget to tag @artsdevco and use the hashtags #CaseForCultureDorset and #CultureMatters on Twitter and Instagram.

Copy and paste these tweets:

Arts and culture is vital to strengthen our community and boost our local economy. Make the case and join the campaign #CaseForCultureDorset #CultureMatters

Arts and culture is woven into the very fabric of Dorset. Help us secure its future. Make the case and join the campaign  #CaseForCultureDorset

According to @ace_national the arts and culture sector is a significant contributor to the UK’s economy overtaking agriculture! (Adding £10.8bn at the last count in 2016) It continues to prove its worth, especially in #Dorset. Read on to find out why #CaseForCultureDorset #CultureMatters

Download the infographics below and use on your own social media and websites. Tag @artsdevco and use the hashtags #CaseForCultureDorset and #CultureMatters on Twitter and Instagram.

Share your impact online. Do you have data, stories, photos or films that show the value of arts and culture in Dorset? Add them to the campaign and use the hashtags #CaseForCultureDorset and #CultureMatters on Twitter and Instagram. Looking for inspiration to get you started? Arts Council England’s ‘Make the Case on Social Media’ could help.

Copy this into your email signature (This is a link to this webpage):

What’s the value of arts and culture in Dorset? Find out here #CaseForCultureDorset 


Downloadable Resources

Click a button to download and share on your website and social media

Case One: The Impact of ‘Dippy on Tour’ on Dorset’s Economy

Case One: How Pages of the Sea put Dorset on the map