2019 has been an exciting and busy year for us. We’ve worked on many significant projects with passionate partners, and we’ve had a few first’s for our company. As we head into the new year we’d like to reflect on some of our top moments and how they’ll develop and continue in 2020.


1. Our First International Project: Gerakan Kreabilitas

An unexpected email sparked our collaboation with Ketemu Project in Bali, Indonesia and together we developed a project that supports and champions creatives with disabilities.

Through a programme of mentoring, residencies and business skills support, we will help other creative enterprises to be more inclusive in their workforce, to support others to include people with disabilities and demonstrate that products made by people with disabilities can be profitable.

In late 2019, our selected Designer-in-residence, Matthew Leece, travelled to Bali to work with participants to design and prototype new products to sell. Read our interview with Matthew here and find out how he’s helping participant Patricia to create accessories that express emotions.

Gerakan Kreabilitas will continue in 2020 and we’ll post updates via our Twitter and Facebook.

We have been awarded a grant from British Council’s Developing Inclusive and Creative Economy Fund (DICE) to deliver this programme.


2. Making the Case for Culture

It’s becoming increasingly vital to evidence the positive impact arts and culture has to help secure and gain funding. We collected data from organisations across Dorset to create a series of infographics that celebrate the positive impact and enormous value arts and culture has in the county. Throughout June and July we shared these every other week and discussed the value of arts and culture in more depth on our Twitter using the hashtag #CaseForCultureDorset

Find out more here

This work became even more important when the new Dorset Council Local Plan draft was released and Arts, Culture and Heritage were missing. We continued our #caseforculturedorset campaign and created a toolkit to help other culture organisations in Dorset to shout loud and proud and to ensure Dorset Council recognised our value and added us to the plan. On 28th November, we had a positive and reassuring meeting with Dorset Council, John Selgreen and Peter Wharf about the inclusion of Arts and Culture in the Council Plan. We can expect to see more recognition of the importance of arts and culture in the new draft plan early 2020.

3. Women Know Your Place: Our First Podcast


‘What if?’ and ‘why not?’ are two questions that lead to exciting new endeavours, and for three of our colleagues it led to a new podcast mini-series.

Jasmine O’Hare, Sophia Greppi and Laura Mulhern from The Arts Development Company (who are also creative freelancers) have open and honest chats about the challenges women face in UK arts and culture industry today. Each episode they are joined by special guests from the arts and culture industry to talk about everything from cameos to careers and everything in-between.

 Although our podcast mini-series has come to an end Jasmine, Laura and Sophia are moving on to big and bright futures; you can find out more in their final episode . Listen below.


4. Dorset Moon

Three biennial festivals in Dorset, Known collectively as the Dorset Festival Consortium, came up with the idea of touring an artwork across the county over a short time-frame, to create greater impact and develop their audiences during their non-festival years.  This led to us commissioning Dorset Moon, a new signature event in partnership with three established arts festivals from the county – Inside Out Dorset (produced by Activate), b-side and Arts by the Sea Bournemouth.

Over three weekends in June and July 2019, more than 41,000 people saw Dorset Moon, dramatically exceeding the targeted 12,000. Visitors enjoyed Luke Jerram’s monumental Museum of the Moon in three spectacular locations in Dorset – St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth; Sherborne Abbey and the Nothe Fort at Weymouth.

This was a valuable experience for everyone involved, and we’ve put together a project report and an article about how culture can be an economic driver for tourism, using Dorset Moon as an example.


5. Culture+

Culture+ was a free programme of activities that supported artists, creatives, arts and cultural organisations to thrive in Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole from March 2017 to October 2019. Funded by the Arts Council England (ACE) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), our passionate Culture+ team delivered  workshops, talks and mentoring that had an incredible impact on creatives across the county.

Read our workshops and events report here

Read our mentoring report here

Although the programme has come to an end, you can still access all of the incredible, free online resources. From how to invoice and brief an illustrator, to how to evidence your social impact and run a pop-up shop, these clear and accessible toolkits and articles are available on our website.