Dover Arts Development instigates projects of excellence within the visual arts, poetry and music in Dover District, across South East England and Europe. DAD has established a successful, impactful and recognisable design language and continues with graphic designer Edda Jones, to adapt future project-specific design work in line with DAD branding.

After initially operating as an unincorporated 3 way partnership for 2 years with Christine Gist , DAD incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (not for profit) in 2008 with artists Joanna Jones and Clare Smith as directors.

In the Kent Creative Awards 2016, DAD won the Arts Organisation of the Year Award.

“We are committed to producing contemporary art of excellence, supporting artists’ practice, stimulating cultural activity and feeding into Dover’s economy. We aim, with values of inclusiveness, thoughtful partnership and emotional responsibility, to strengthen communities and widen perspectives through creative thinking and actions.”

For Dover Arts Development, Dover is central. Dover may be on the periphery of England and the most iconic border between England and Europe, but the centre or centrality of Dover in relation to its identity is key to the philosophical perspective of DAD.

Dover Arts Development are:

  • Cultural producers, acting as catalysts for cultural/artistic activity (innovation)
  • Developing long-term relationships to nurture inclusive cultural partnerships (collaboration)
  • Inspiring an arts and cultural approach to building community resilience (sense of place)
  • Nurturing the talent in individuals (development/growth/sustainability)

“Your energy, dedication and enthusiasm is extraordinary – and captures the imagination of others….You are masters of bringing people from varied, and one might assume opposing, parts of society together to bring energy to new ways of thinking about how we see the world and its possibilities. Your generosity with shared contacts, time and energy is extraordinary and makes others generous with each other”. Helen Lindon (Artist)

“DAD have proved themselves to be a trusted partner that has worked tirelessly to enhance the Arts and Cultural scene in Dover through active engagement with the Community.”   Nadeem Aziz   Chief Executive (Dover District Council)

“DAD has been brilliant in getting all sorts of people in Dover (who don’t “do” the Arts) involved in some brilliant and rather lovely projects. From wild planting on the seashore to giant round tables and miles of knitted bunting, Clare and Joanna have made Dover a better and brighter place to be. Behind the fun are 2 serious arts practitioners who bring gravitas and wonderful connections which Dover wouldn’t otherwise benefit from. We have been working together for nearly five years and look forward to many more.”  Allison Burton Town Clerk (Dover Town Council)

“The more I work with DAD, the more I see how everything they do fits together and complements each other. They are working towards a vision that is intrinsically linked to, and embedded in, a number of tourism, heritage, regeneration and art initiatives through which DAD are committed to working with and for the benefit of their local community. It is exciting to reveal another piece of this picture each time I learn more about the work of DAD.”  Sarah Corn (South East Museum Development Programme)

“Kent Arts and Culture Service have worked with Dover Arts Development (DAD) over a period of nearly 10 years in a highly productive partnership that has achieved significant growth and resilience in the Dover cultural sector. DAD have always delivered added value to projects beyond initial expectations of delivery and are one of the County’s outstanding creative producers. We highly recommend their work.”   Tony Witton  Arts and Culture Manager (Kent County Council)

I am delighted that ever increasing recognition is being given to the cultural and heritage base across the area and the contribution that this offers to the sense of place and coastal living for incoming investors and employers, businesses and visitors alike. Tim Ingleton, Head of Inward Investment (Dover District Council)

DAD now works with a range of business partners including Culture Kent, Turner Contemporary, Jasmin Vardimon Company, University for the Creative Arts, Dover Museums and Arts Group (DMAG), Up On The Downs Landscape Partnership Scheme, Port of Dover, National Trust, Kent County Council, Dover District Council, Dover Big Local and Dover Town Council, DFDS Seaways. Supporting artists’ practice and stimulating cultural activity are at the core of DAD’s work.

“Dover is the closest I’ve got to having ties to a place. DAD has provided a way of making art practice, including public realm work, part of my life, and a way of bringing together my emotional and cerebral worlds. The non-verbal has found a place”. Clare Smith

Dover occupies an important place in my own story. When I left England as a child every summer for France, we left via Dover. It was the place my mother began to let go of her reserve and regained her vitality. The gateway to another world, an indelible memory brought into the NOW with DAD.” Joanna Jones

DAD is joint custodian, with Dover Museum, of The Dover Cultural Survey and Framework prepared by muf art/architecture consultants and which provides the guidelines and principles for the delivery of projects and activities that enrich the cultural life of the town. In this role DAD acts as an advocate for arts and culture.

Listen to Joanna’s interview with Julia George on Radio Kent on 19 June 2012

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The DAD Chalk Up 2016 film production Weathertime was screened in the cosy, dry and atmospheric Folkestone Sea Sports during the 2016 SALT festival which was blessed with heavy rain and beautiful sunshine. The [...]

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Up on the Downs grants panel outing

DAD has enjoyed working with the Up on the Downs Landscape Partnership Scheme, a £2.5 million Heritage Lottery funded project aimed at making a significant difference to the easily recognisable and iconic landscape of the [...]