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Friends of Dartington Newsletter MARCH 2011

We warmly invite you to our next Friends event :

Satish Kumar

will speak on the subject of


at 7.30 pm Wednesday 6th April in the Upper Gate House, above the Welcome Centre at Dartington Hall Satish Kumar is Visiting Fellow at Schumacher College and Creative Director of the Dartington Tagore Project Satish is well known to all who know and love the things that are best about Dartington. He is the guiding spirit behind a number of ecological, spiritual and educational ventures in Britain and was one of the founders of Schumacher College at Dartington. He is currently overseeing the Tagore Festival which will take place in May 2011. Tagore was the first Asian to receive the Nobel prize for Literature. This year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of this great poet and visionary. Tagore was the inspiration to Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst in establishing Dartington Hall. In this talk Satish will explore and explain how Tagore’s vision has guided Dartington and he will also cover the scope and ethos of the Tagore Festival.

Ticket Information : Tickets for this talk are £3.50 each to members of the Friends and £5 each to non-members. Tickets for members and non-members of the Friends will be sold on the door from 7.00pm on the evening of the talk. Please join us for a glass of wine or a soft drink (by donation) in the West Wing Lounge after the talk. Members can reserve tickets by e-mailing or by writing to The Friends of Dartington, The Elmhirst Centre, Dartington Hall, Totnes TQ9 6EL. Pay for the tickets on collection at the door.

Tagore Festival

1st-7th May 2011 at Dartington Hall

You can now see the Programme for the Tagore Festival on-line at or in brochures. You can book tickets online, at the Barn Box Office, or by phone on 01803 847070

.....and the following Friends event will be :

Colin Orr

‘The Story of Film at Dartington’ at 6.30pm on Thursday 12th May in the BARN THEATRE at Dartington We are delighted that Colin Orr, Manager of The Barn Cinema for the past 10 years, organiser of Dartington’s highly successful film programme and expert on all things cinematic, has agreed to give us a talk, illustrated with appropriate film clips, to be held in the Barn Theatre. Colin is planning to give us an overview of film historically at Dartington, taking in the Dartington Film Archive and the history of The Barn Theatre. He will bring us up to date, talking about the contemporary film industry including the switch to digital cinema and The Barn’s place within the cultural film exhibition sector. Please note the start time of 6.30pm. This is to enable a feature film to be shown at 8.00pm which Colin is intending to make relevant to his talk - further details of Colin’s talk and the subsequent film showing will be included in our next Newsletter in April.

Please also make a note in your diaries . . . . .

The Friends of Dartingon AGM

will be held on Saturday 18th June at 11.00am

Coffee will be available beforehand in the West Wing Lounge at 10.30

Invitations will be sent out to the Friends in April

Our costs & the ticket price at Friends of Dartington Talks We try our best to break even by balancing ticket revenue with the costs associated with putting on our talks. And we are trying our best to avoid raising the price of tickets to our talks. We have to pay the full Dartington hire charge for the room that we use for talks and this charge increases from April each year. We have been extremely fortunate and grateful that the numbers attending our talks have increased and frequently all the seats in the Upper Gate House have been taken. A couple of years ago we introduced a slightly higher price for those coming to the talks who are not members of the Friends. This reflects the fact that they have not made the commitment of making an annual membership donation. In order to retain ticket prices unchanged for a little bit longer the Committee have taken the decision that the drink we offer to you after the talk will no longer be included in the ticket price. Instead we are asking you from now on to place a donation in the bowl when you receive your drink after the talk. This will help to offset the cost we are charged for the drinks which have to be provided through the White Hart Bar. We hope you will continue to join us for that ‘social half hour’ after the talks.

Friends of Dartington Membership Renewals Everyone who receives this Newsletter (except those who have joined the Friends very recently) will have received a renewal request in December (for standing order subscribers) or in January (for cheque subscribers). We have now received nearly all the forms back for which we offer you our sincere thanks. There are a few members who have not returned their renewal yet and if you are one of these members we are enclosing with this Newsletter a copy of the form you need to return to us and a stamped addressed envelope to assist you to do so. Your current membership expires on the 31st March and those who are not paid up by that date will not receive any further Newsletters and their membership cards will be cancelled on the database at the Cider Press Shops. Please therefore would you be kind enough to complete and return the form straight away. The Friends of Dartington have been accepted by HMRC as a charity for tax purposes and we will be claiming the Gift Aid allowance from HMRC based on our membership donations received by 31st March. Again we thank all those who have completed Gift Aid Declarations and those who have generously made additional donations with their membership renewals. If anyone has a query about a membership matter please e-mail your query to or write to The Friends of Dartington, The Elmhirst Centre, Dartington Hall, Totnes TQ9 6EL, or telephone the Chair of The Friends, David Bailey on 07970 837959.

Robert Somerville’s talk in January entitled, stone, oak & lime...... Every seat in the Upper Gate House was taken for Robert Somerville’s talk describing his passion for working with natural, sustainable building materials. Robert had brought samples of all the materials and he began the evening by giving everyone a fresh-soaked reed and teaching us to plait it into a strong cord. Robert explained the uses of stone, oak, earth and lime and how they are all readily prepared on site by hand with quite straightforward tools ready for incorporation into buildings. The materials work naturally together, they have the effect of adjusting humidity within a building and provide a healthy living environment. Robert’s talk was superbly illustrated by many images of the buildings he has worked on, mostly in the areas of South Devon and Dartmoor. We saw how Robert has helped to research and rescue the traditional methods of working the materials and where appropriate has introduced modern tools or techniques alongside to provide the best pragmatic solution for each situation.

Robert Somerville is design director of Earth, Oak & Lime Ltd which has carried out a range of building and restoration projects in the South West and he has recently joined the staff team at Schumacher College where he is working with Jon Rae to design, establish and run a new range of vocational courses on ecological design, build and refurbishment.

Land Use Review - Open Space Event in Totnes on 29 Jan. In our October Newsletter we wrote about the background and purpose of the Dartington Land Use Review. Following the initial public meeting at Foxhole on the 23rd November a big-community Open Space event was held at the Civic Hall in Totnes on Saturday 29th January. The event was expertly facilitated by Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande from Transition Town Totnes and over 70 people from the community were there to voice and explore the proposals and ideas that they felt passionate about. This all-day event was also a great example of the immense benefits of the community being able to share their ideas and engage so positively with the representatives of the Trust, on this occasion led by C h a r l i e M c Co n n e l l , D i re c t o r o f Sustainability, who introduced the Review at the start of the day. There were common threads to the discussions which related to enabling community access to land, natural building using local materials, agroforestry, education and the arts, and it was noticeable as the discussions progressed how all the ideas overlapped and interweaved. Running through the key themes was the realisation that there were

tremendous opportunities here for education, training and employment for all age groups in areas such as forestry, construction, food produc tion and energy efficiency; also the potential for research and the development of models for replication elsewhere. In the consideration of the uses of the land for farming and growing there was a desire to be experimental both in terms of what might be grown but also in terms of the organisation of groups and the opportunities for participation by local schools and local residents, bringing together the people and the land to engender health and fulfillment as well as the produce from the land. With respect to woodland products and forestry there would be potential to explore a ‘twig to root’ comprehensive approach to the usefulness of trees as well as the recreational and artistic opportunities of woodland areas. The Review Steering Group includes representation from DHT, TTT, Soil Association and Duchy College. They will be working towards report submissions to the Dartington Hall Trustees.

For more detailed information and notes of the Open Space Day go to the relevant section of the website at : and follow the links to further information from this page.

.........and a Call for New Members to join the Friends Committee Everyone who is interested is asked to talk with David Bailey, our Chair, on 07970 837959 or by sending an e-mail to

or by speaking with Jean Hardy, our past Chair, on 01803 762482, or Neil Leighton, Christine Lyons and Janet Mitchell who are on the Friends’ Committee.

We would still like to welcome more members of the Friends onto our Committee, to help share the work and develop new ideas. We also need new members to become involved to allow for rotation of the Officer roles and to allow for the eventual ‘retirement’ of those who have given many years of service to the Committee! The organisation will thrive on new people with new ideas who bring new energy and enthusiasm to our work.

Co m m i t t e e M e m b e r s h ave t h e opportunity to join the excellent Introduction to Dartington training days that are put on for the Trust’s own staff, we meet with Vaughan Lindsay on a regular basis and we receive updates on the work and new initiatives of the Trust. And, importantly, we derive a lot of enjoyment from this involvement and the presentation of events and activities for the Friends.

Publication of ‘A Wiser Politics’ by Dr Jean Hardy Jean Hardy is known to many at Dartington and was Chair of The Friends of Dartington from 2005 to 2008. Jean has been a university teacher for most of her life and continues to write, edit and teach, actively working towards social change. She is interested in the relationship of psychology and spirituality to politics, ecology and economics in the search for a more whole world. Jean’s new book explores how a radically revised view of the nature of the person can be linked more intelligently to the social system, and how both require an awareness that we live in a mysterious and awesome universe. Jean Hardy will be speaking on the subject matter of her new book in an Open Evening Talk at Schumacher College on Wednesday 30th March, starting at 8.00pm. £4 donation for admission. All are welcome.

Friends of Dartington help for Dartington Gardens In February the Committee made a donation on behalf of The Friends of Dartington to cover the cost of eight new cedar-framed Dutch Lights to be constructed to fit the large cold-frames in the walled garden just ‘below’ Lower Close. These frames will then be brought into use for ‘hardening off’ plants which have been raised in

the greenhouse. They will also be of great use in teaching propogation methods to the students on the Sustainable Horticulture course which is run at Schumacher College. Graham Gammin has written to thank the Friends for their generosity without which these frames could not have been brought back into use.

Graham Gammin has asked us to remind members of The Friends that the Dartington Gardens will be open on Sunday 5th June as part of the National Gardens Scheme open day. All are welcome to come that day and anyone who could spare time to offer to assist as a volunteer to welcome members of the public on arrival please contact Graham Gammin by phone on 01803 862367 (direct) or by e-mail at

The Dartington Hall Trust : Report & Accounts 2010 For those who would like to read the comprehensive Annual Report and Accounts of The Dartington Hall Trust their 2010 Report and Accounts are now available on the Charity Commission website. This 41page document includes the Trusts’s statement of their Achievements in 2009-2010 and their Aims for 2010-2011 as well as the statement of their accounts. To download this document go to, enter ‘The Dartington Hall Trust’ in the Search box at the top of the page, then click on ‘The Dartington Hall Trust’ to open its overview page and select ‘View Accounts’ on the menu in the left hand column.

Membership of The Friends of Dartington If you are reading this Newsletter and you are not already a member of The Friends of Dartington you can obtain an Application Form by writing to us at : The Friends of Dartington, The Elmhirst Centre, Dartington Hall, Totnes TQ9 6EL or by making a request by e-mail to The current cost of membership is £12 p.a or £18 p.a. for two members living at the same address. This edition of the Newsletter was compiled by David Bailey (Tel.07970 837959)

Friends of Dartington Newsletter March 2011  


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