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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 16:25 GMT
Top artists battle college move
Dartington
The estate was founded as an experiment in rural regeneration
Leading artists have joined a campaign against a world-renowned Devon college being forced to move.

Owners of Dartington College of Arts near Totnes say the establishment must go because they cannot afford a 20m repair bill.

But Lord of the Flies film director Peter Brook called the college "more than priceless" and urged a rethink.

Dartington College of Arts was founded in 1961 out of a social experiment in rural reconstruction.

It is part of the 850-acre Dartington estate which was created in 1925 by Leonard Elmhirst and his wife, US heiress Dorothy.

The estate is also home to arts centres, a summer arts festival and the Schumacher College which teaches ecology, spirituality and the arts.

Peter Brook
My deepest hope is that everything possible be explored
Peter Brook
It is now owned by the Dartington Hall Trust which leases buildings to the college, one of the smallest of its kind in the UK with 680 students.

Nevertheless the college has taught or employed some of the biggest names in the arts, including Benjamin Britten, Ravi Shankar and John Cage.

Mr Brook said: "Dartington College of Arts is more than a priceless institution, it is a living, evolving presence.

"My deepest hope is that everything possible be explored and implemented to enable this work to continue in its present context and location."

Dartington students
Dartington students face a 90-mile move to Falmouth in Cornwall
Composer Gavin Bryars said: "I am horrified that the idea of uprooting one of the healthiest and most vigorous educational environments should ever have been considered and I cannot imagine that this is for educational reasons."

Dartington Hall Trust say a merger with University College Falmouth in Cornwall may be the only way to secure the institution's future.

Chief executive Vaughan Lindsay said he did not want the college to leave the estate but the protests "don't change the facts".

"We believe that to stay on the Dartington Hall estate, however attractive in the short term, will lead to the decline and possible closure of the college," he said.

"It is better to consider moving from a position of strength."




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