After three successful years as the Arts Development Company’s Chief Executive, Sarah James will be stepping down at the end of March to take on the Director role at Creativity Works, a National Portfolio Organisation based in Bath and North-East Somerset dedicated to socially-engaged arts.

Under the leadership of Sarah, the Arts Development Company has achieved significant impact for Dorset communities and the cultural sector, including:

  • Levering £614,500 of external investment into Dorset’s local economy in 2019/20
  • In 2019/20, on average for every £1 spent on community projects they created £7.5 of social return into Dorset including making savings for the NHS and increasing participant’s life chances such as getting a job
  • In 2019/20 we have worked with 43 partners and 12 funders, engaged over 1600 participants and 350,000 on social media. Employed over 100 local artists and freelancers (to a value of over £180,200) and created 55 free online resources and toolkits for the cultural sector to use
  • Supporting the Arts and Culture sector through the pandemic with free one-to-one support, an ‘Arts at Home’ programme and a scheme for furloughed arts professionals who wanted to volunteer their time and expertise to arts organisations across Dorset.

 “We’re very sad to see Sarah leave, she has been instrumental in helping to position the Arts Development Company as a leading sector support organisation in the South West, and working with the team to help carry it through some very challenging times during the pandemic. We wish her all the best in her new role and look forward to what she does next for Arts and Culture.” – Hazel Province, Chair of our Board.

“I’m so proud of everything the Arts Development Company has achieved over the last 3 years and in particular our role in helping to support artists, creatives and arts organisations through the current pandemic. Dorset’s cultural ecology is naturally collaborative, committed and with a strong spirit of generosity – it will continue to thrive and I will miss it hugely” – Sarah James

It is an exciting time for the Arts Development Company; we have been commissioned by Dorset Council to consult on and develop the new five-year Dorset Cultural Strategy which will be part of the roadmap to recovery for our arts and culture sector. We are also proud to be part of a leadership programme across the South West which will transform leadership in the arts and tackle the systemic inequalities around women leadership in our arts sector. Plus, we are embarking on two projects supported by the British Council, a relatively new partner for the Arts Development Company, and it allows us to continue our work in Dorset to support and connect creatives and artists with disabilities.

The whole team is sad to see Sarah leave, and the Board is working with both Sarah, the staff team and Creativity Works to ensure a smooth transition. We will confirm details of succession planning shortly.

Update: Tuesday 23rd February, 2021

The Arts Development Company (ADC) is excited to share our plans for our interim leadership team which will be in place from the 19 March when our current CEO Sarah James, leaves to start her new post at Creativity Works.
Our current Chair, Hazel Province will act as interim CEO alongside continuing her role as Chair of our Board. Hannah Baker, our current inclusion and wellbeing lead, will step up as Senior Manager and help both Hazel and the Board oversee business development and day to day operations. Our current staff Cleo Evans and Jo March will continue working alongside Rosie Russell in her new role as Senior Associate.
We are in an incredibly fortunate position to have a brilliant team of Associates, including Molly Scarborough, Abby Young and Zahra Hoccom, who are supporting ADC deliver on some of our most exciting and transformational work particularly around increasing women leadership in the arts and diversifying our sector’s boards. We are also supported by a team of expert specialists including Johanna Perkins, marketing and communications; Sarah Colwell; bookkeeping and two producers Victoria Hole and Georgina Bolt.
ADC has a busy few months ahead. We are heading up the development of a new 5 year Cultural Strategy for Dorset – increasing financial investment into Dorset, creating new jobs for our young people and improving the health and wellbeing of our communities directly affected by Covid. Funded through the British Council, ADC is partnering again with social enterprise Ketemu in Bali (Indonesia) to increase creative connections and facilitate peer support between disabled artists in Indonesia and in Dorset. And our immediate priority, as we continue to navigate the impact of the pandemic, is supporting the recovery of the cultural sector in Dorset and the delivery of the critical creative work so valued by our communities. As the sector and our communities begin to stabilise, the Board will then commence the search for a permanent new CEO for the company.
Please keep an eye on our social media to find out more.