The Arts Development Company are a team of experienced arts and culture consultants, producers and programme managers. We work with partners from the arts and other sectors to develop strategies and policies, encourage networks, and deliver collaborative programmes and projects.

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 include:

  • 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)

Current projects:


Babigloo Music for Babies (or Babigloo for short) is an approach to early years music-making for the very youngest children (under one year) and their mothers or carers. It is the brainchild of Jenny Gordon, a Dorset-based musician, who saw a need for quality musical provision to support new parents who were experiencing anxiety and low-level post-natal depression. Find out more >

Case for Culture Dorset

Arts and culture strengthens our communities, boosts our local economy and improves the wellbeing of locals and visitors. We understand the value of our sector and now we’re building a strong case for culture to advocate and evidence its impact in Dorset. Find out more >


A programme supporting artists, arts organisations, and SME tourism businesses to thrive in Dorset. Deliverables include more than 40 free training workshops in 2018-19. Two hundred participants have registered so far. Culture+ invests nearly £1M into Dorset, funded by the ERDF and Arts Council England.

Through Culture+, we are delivering more enterprising approaches and beneficial social impact for the cultural sector. Impacts include:

  • Encouraging the arts and cultural sector to diversify and build new income streams and revenue models. For example, Show and Sell is an intense training and mentoring programme supporting four significant venues in Dorset who are developing ways to pitch themselves and build new business propositions.
  • Training and skills development in establishing social enterprises. Measuring social impact through one-to-one support and workshops with inspirers and facilitators.

Dorset Coastal Connections, People and Places project

Led by Dorset Coast Forum, People and Places is made up of 18 related projects from Christchurch to Lyme Regis.

The projects connect our urban and rural coastal areas, promoting the Dorset coast as a whole. The programme is creating and safeguarding jobs as well as delivering measurable economic, social and environmental benefits.

Dorset Moon

We’ve commissioned a brand new festival over three weekends in June 2019. Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon makes its Dorset debut in three stunning locations where a full programme of lunar-inspired events will create an experience that is out of this world. Find out more>

Face Forward

We are supporting 40 marginalised young people in North and West Dorset so they can become work-ready. We mentor youngsters aged 15-24 who are not in education, employment or training. Participants take part in creative activities. Led by Ansbury Guidance, this project is funded by the European Social Investment Fund and Big Lottery. Find out more>

Gerakan Kreabilitas

Our first international project, working with Indonesian social enterprise, Ketemu. We are bringing together diverse creatives, empower disabled creatives to design and produce marketable products and services, and encourage creative enterprises to work and develop disabled friendly workforces mainly in Indonesia.

Little Keep: Cultural Hub

The Arts Development Company’s home in Little Keep is thriving as a business hub. We’re now home to nine creative industry organisations. We provide affordable rent, networking and meeting spaces.

Short Breaks

Designing and delivering 1,200 hours of quality arts experiences for children with disabilities across Dorset. Our programme gives their parents/carers a break. We’ve successfully delivered this Dorset County Council contract since 2015.

Stepping into Nature

We are a partner in this Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)-led programme. Our job is to deliver health and wellbeing benefits for Dorset’s older people, including those living with dementia and their carers. We provide artist-led workshops and access to outstanding natural landscapes.

Establish new social investment funding models for Dorset

With financial support from the government’s Mutuals Support Programme, we are conducting scoping research into appropriate new investment models and mechanisms for supporting a rural model of investment in the arts and culture. The results of this research will establish unique models as most examples of social investment models are based around large, urban conurbations. We are hoping it may lead to the establishment of a Dorset Cultural Investment Fund.

The research is led by Sarah Forster, CEO and founder of the Good Economy Partnership and Dan Gregory, a leading social enterprise advisor.