Research Degrees at Dartington

MPhil and PhD qualifications in partnership with University of Westminster

– Applications welcome throughout the year, but please refer below to key ‘apply by’ dates

in partnership with:


Interested in applying for a research degree? We offer research degrees leading to the awards of MPhil and PhD in partnership with the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), University of Westminster in the areas covered by researchers at Dartington and CREAM.

Dartington Trust is a centre for arts, ecology and social justice, based on a 1,200 acre estate near Totnes, Devon in southern England. The research focus of contemporary Dartington is imagining, visioning, prototyping, and living ecological futures with a particular emphasis on food production, land use, and culture.

CREAM/Dartington Node

PhD supervisory teams are drawn from both centres and draw on the two research cultures at CREAM and Dartington.

CREAM is the Centre for Research in Education, Arts and Media, based in University of Westminster’s School of Arts. It is recognised as a leading research centre in the areas of art and society, film and media, music and photography. CREAM runs a highly successful and innovative doctoral programme for practice and scholarship. It has a programme of exhibitions, screenings, seminars, conferences and symposia, and visiting speakers reflecting the diversity and originality of its international research culture. CREAM and Dartington have shared visions, methods and rigour and are working in partnership for practice-based research excellence.

Dartington Researchers

Our researchers have expertise in a wide range of topics including arts practice-led research; animism; medieval literature; modernism; story and myth; arts, design and ecology; ecology and spirituality; Goethean science; regenerative economics, farming and food; social work with adults and children; social enterprise.

Research Degrees – key details


Research Context

Dartington Trust is a centre for learning, arts, ecology and social justice based on a 1,200 acre estate near Totnes, Devon in southern England. We carry out research and offer research degrees in our focus areas in partnership with CREAM, University of Westminster.

As a small, independent HE provider, registered with the Office for Students, Dartington Trust offers master’s programmes and undergraduate programmes in partnership with University of Plymouth. Dartington’s taught programmes are delivered through two faculties – Schumacher College and Dartington Arts School, which offer study in contemporary arts practices and production, holistic science, innovative learning for ecological and social change, regenerative economics, and regenerative food and farming.

Our academic staff research includes publications and research projects in the above areas. See Dartington Researchers for details on individual researchers. Our other areas of research activity on the estate include regenerative land use, social work with adults and children, through our Research in Practice project and social enterprise through our partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. We have over 150 tenants on the estate, who include independent organisations carrying out activities aligned with Dartington’s own mission. We often work in partnership with these organisations, which include Soundart Radio, Art.Earth, Aller Park Studios, and Landworks, as a few examples.

The Dartington Hall estate has a long history stretching back to the 11th century Domesday Book and beyond. In the early 20th century, the estate was bought by Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst who were significant patrons for many important modernist artists and progressive thinkers and educators. Visitors and residents included Rabindranath Tagore, Bertrand Russell, Michael Young, William Lescaze, Mary Wigman, Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada, Yanagi Soetsu, Mark Tobey, Beatrix Ferrand, Elizabeth Peacock, Kurt Jooss, Michael Chekhov, Marianne de Trey, Merce Cunningham, Victoria Ocampo, Nirmala Patwardhan, John Cage, Igor Stravinsky and many more. Dartington was in dialogue with the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College and with other progressive education experiments.

Our archive houses significant material on the modernist era at Dartington and is expanding to cover the experimental arts and education projects on the site from the 1960s through to the present with the work for example, of Mary Fulkerson, David Harding, David Williams, Bob Gilmore, Ric Allsopp, Emilyn Claid, Martin Shaw, Caroline Bergvall, and John Hall.

Schumacher College was established in 1990 and its researchers and visitors have included Satish Kumar, James Lovelock, Brian Goodwin, Fritjof Capra, John Lane, Henri Bortoft, Stephan Harding, David Abrams, Lynn Margulis, Kate Raworth, Vandana Shiva, Rupert Sheldrake, Merlin Sheldrake, and its current Head, Pavel Cenkl.

Dartington runs a programme of short courses and events in arts, crafts, ecology and wellbeing. Our arts programme includes films in the Barn Cinema, designed by Walter Gropius, and the renowned Dartington Music Summer School & Festival.

Entry requirements

All applications are assessed on an individual basis and in some cases, you may be required to meet higher entry requirements than the minimums outlined below.

Applicants should normally have a minimum classification of an upper second class honours degree (2:1) or equivalent and preferably a master’s degree (or master’s degree pending). For practice-based arts proposals you will be required to submit a portfolio of recent work. Selected applicants will be invited for interview.

All applicants must meet the University of Westminster English Language requirements. Further details can be found here.

Fees and Funding

CREAM/Dartington PhD students are enrolled as University of Westminster students and have access to the University of Westminster library, research training and resources. Details on tuition fees can be found here.


There are no studentships available for the Dartington/CREAM, Westminster Node in 2021/22. We hope to have some on offer for 2022/23 entry.

Doctoral Loans

A postgraduate doctoral loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD. Find out more and check your eligibility on the UK Government website.

Application Information

How to apply

In the first instance you should contact Dr Tracey Warr, Head of Research

We can only accept applications in our focus research areas and where there is an appropriate supervisory team available between University of Westminster and Dartington. See Dartington Researchers and CREAM, Westminster for potential PhD supervisors at the two institutions.

Developing a robust research proposal can take time and is best done in dialogue with us. See Westminster’s guidance on how to write a proposal.

When to apply

  • You may apply at any time of the year, however, we ask that you refer to the recommended ‘Apply by dates’. These are the latest dates by which you will have enough time to complete all the pre-arrival stages in time for your preferred start date.
  • You may start your Research Degree in either January or September.
  • The assessment of your suitability and the availability of supervision can take some time, typically between two and three months from submission of your application.
  • If you are an overseas applicant, we advise you to apply well in advance of your preferred start date as the Student Visa application process can be very lengthy.
  • If you do miss the relevant ‘apply by’ date we will do our best to process your application in time, but you may have to consider a later starting date
September 1 May 1 May
January 31 August 31 August

For further details on preparing an application, click here for guidance via the University of Westminster website.

You can also contact Dr Lucy Reynolds, CREAM PhD Coordinator for advice on submitting an application:

When your proposal is ready you can apply via the University of Westminster PhD Application Portal, stipulating CREAM/Dartington Node on your application.

You may also find these links helpful:

After you apply
Research degrees FAQs