The Dartmoor ecosystem research is beginning its consultation with local stakeholders. We are working with key stakeholder organisations to co-determine the frame of the study, which will also emerge from consulting cultural organisations and community groups, and from mapping participatory activities. Dartmoor National Park Authority, Teignbridge District Council, West Devon Borough Council and South Hams District Council, Community Council of Devon, Arts Council England SW and the Culture Module at the South West Observatory. Dartmoor National Park Authority circumscribes the geography of this eco-system, and is to partner the research project and participate in the project through supporting staff as co-researchers.
MED Community Theatre performing ‘Brown Hare’, a site-specific dance-drama piece, on the high moor (image credit: MED Community Theatre)
The consultation includes cultural organisations within this geographical boundary including: Wren Music Trust, Dartmoor Arts, Aune Head Arts, MED Community Theatre, the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Okehampton Acoustic Club, the Two Moors Festival, and The Husbandry School in Ashburton. It also spans external organisations whose work is relevant to Dartmoor, including: RAMM in Exeter, The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington and Beaford Arts in rural north Devon. Research themes emerging from consultation include rural isolation, however Dartmoor is rich in community practice and participatory activity including, for instance, Chagford Film Festival, Widecombe Fair, Lustleigh May Queen celebrations, Tavistock Arts Market, Dartmoor Folk Festival, The Sticklepath Fireshow, South Zeal Carnival, Belstone Pantomime, and the Cosdon Run. Mapping these grassroots practices and activities is an urgent task, not least in order to identify community and participatory practitioners as co-researchers in the participatory action research process.