We’ve reached the end of 2018, and what a year it has been. As we all reflect on our achievements this year we’d like to share with you some of our highlights of 2018.

Six Highlights of 2018:

Welcoming our new Chief Executive, Sarah James

Sarah JamesIn March, Sarah James joined us at the Arts Development Company as Chief Executive. Sarah took over from Mike Hoskin, who guided the company through it’s set-up. Sarah joined us from the Architecture Centre in Bristol, where she was director. Before that, she was head of learning and participation at Alexandra Park and Palace in Haringey. Sarah has given us a refreshing new approach and is steering the company to exciting new ventures ahead.

Read our full introduction to Sarah James here


Creating Free Culture+ Resources

Our Culture+ team have been working incredibly hard to create free online resources, as well as delivering their comprehensive programme of free workshops in Dorset. Anyone with a business or working in the arts and culture sectors can benefit from their how-to guides, ‘good to know’ articles and downloadable templates. Our favourites include:

We have many more exciting resources to release in 2019. Please keep an eye on our website and social media for those very soon.

Taking Baby Steps into Music

smiling baby looking at the camera. To the left a man plays the guitar and smiles. To the right a woman is smiling.

Babigloo Music Workshop

Our Children, Arts and Wellbeing Manager, Hannah Baker, has written an article for Arts Professional on the benefits of ‘Babigloo Music for Babies.’ This is one of the programs we provide business development support to, and Hannah has been working closely with them this year. Her article is an insightful look at the transformations parents and babies go through in the programme.

“The benefits are two-fold as both babies and their parent or carer are linked to the delivery. They are mutually involved because the responses and feelings of parent and baby bounce off each other during and after the sessions. If the babies are calm and contented, this has a direct impact on the parent.”

Read the Full article here

To find out more about Babigloo here

Making Music that Matters with Short Breaks

Three children concentrate on playing their instruments. The little boy to the left has a tambourine and is about to tap it with a drumstick. A girl and boy to the right are playing xylophones. In between them is a man, a musician from the orchestra, also playing a xylophone.

Participants at a short breaks music workshop with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Here’s another musical highlight for you. We arranged some music workshops for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. This was part of the ‘Short Breaks’ programme we help to deliver on behalf of Dorset County Council. Our new marketing and communications officer, Jasmine O’Hare, went along to one of the sessions and wrote about her experiences.

“As a teacher I know how daunting and difficult it can be to gain the trust and confidence of young people. However, as soon as the workshop began the level of enthusiasm and energy was infectious. Before long, everyone was getting involved.”

Read the full article here

Find out more about the Short Breaks programme here

Asking ‘What’s Next?’ at our Dorset Arts Together Meet-up

a seated audience with their backs to the camera, watching and listening to a speaker on the stage. There is also a panel of four people on the stage looking at the speaker and presentation on the projected screen.

‘What’s Next?’ Dorset Arts Together’s 2018 meet-up

In November, we welcomed over 40 organisations from across Dorset to discuss the challenges facing arts and culture today. This meeting focused on the future and was titled ‘What’s Next? The Changing Cultural Economy of Dorset.’ With uncertainty looming and the value of arts and culture under scrutiny, attendees were keen to discuss how Dorset can navigate the choppy waters ahead. Key speakers from Arts Council England and successful U.K arts organisations generously shared their advice, insider knowledge, and most importantly their enthusiasm and drive.

Read the full report here


Creating the Black Down Stone Circle with Amanda Moore

Teenage girl smiling at camera and standing in a tight gap in one of the rectangular stone structures that make up the stone circle. It's made of sand coloured bricks.

Visitor at the Black Down stone circle, created by Amanda Moore

We’re supporting a number of exciting new public art installations in Dorset, and this year we worked with artist and architect Amanda Moore on the creation of a new stone circle.

The Black Down stone circle consists of five ‘totems’ built from local Forest Marble stone. One is aligned with true north and the other four with the midwinter and midsummer solstice sunrises and sunsets. In clear conditions at each of these times, the Sun’s full disc shines through an opening in one of the totems, lighting up a central rock of Portland stone.

Read the full article here



Thank you to everyone we have worked with in 2018. We look forward to many more exciting projects and partnerships in 2019, and we will share some of these with you very soon.