Dartington International Summer School 2015

Dartington International Summer School Launched

I’ve been a little quiet of late on the updates front – not because I haven’t been working, but because I’ve been in the middle of one of my biggest projects yet, which went live last week.

Not just any webdesign and development project, this latest adventure included linking up systems, creating a booking interface and customization of the back end of a booking system to deliver a product that would punch above it’s weight in terms of the limited budget available.

The background…

Dartington International Summer School had it’s 60th anniversary last year, and each summer turns Dartington into a hub of musical activity where aspiring students rub shoulders with international musicians of high acclaim.

It’s a complicated beast – students get a variety of accommodation types to choose from, close to 100 courses over a four week period as well as 80 concerts which they could attend – these concerts are also available to the public to come and watch, giving the summer school a dual function of a music festival as well as place to learn and improve musical technique.

The Summer School this year spans a 4 week period, with participants able to come for either one week or multiple weeks. Alongside the vast majority of courses which are available to people of any ability (including some for those with no musical experience at all), are a series of advanced courses and masterclasses. Students for these advanced courses are selected in advance by audition, or the submission of a cv and contrasting recordings.

It is a very labor intensive process taking all the bookings for this four week festival, which brings me to the brief.


The Brief…

To enable online booking for the first time ever for the Dartington International Summer School.  To link bookings taken online to the Spektrix box office system to enable real time reporting, as well as valuable data for analysis in helping shape the summer school in future years. To launch the Summer School earlier than ever before (on November 26).


The Project…

Unlike most of my work, this project required a lot of collaboration, so big thanks to ATWORK who provided visual guidelines for the website, as well as creating the print brochure, and super big thanks to Logo Design who created the bookings interface, and had the technical knowledge to help really push the boundaries on what is normally available through this box office system.

For my part, the website itself was a pretty standard affair, Dartington’s website is currently built using a relatively clunky CMS system which provides some unique challenges, but the real challenge was to look at the what is on offer to participants and then shoehorn it into a box office system which is more used to dealing with cinema and theater bookings on a day to day basis – not a bespoke package, made up of multiple items for each booking. I’ve lost count of how many items I have loaded to the back end of the box office system, as well as the number of new attributes created to enable the system to work. Needless to say, my fingers have been frantically bashing at the keys to get it all done, as well as help the Summer School team understand what decisions have been made and why for the system to work.

Take a look and see what you think – www.dartington.org/summer-school – although there are ways that I already know to improve the system if there was budget to do so, I am still impressed at what has been created, and it is fantastic to see bookings coming though the new website.