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Ceramics and Related Materials

Train to become a professional conservator in ceramics and related materials at West Dean. Theory and practice are integrated and we provide a range of objects from public and private collections. Each student has their own workbench, access to a well-equipped analytical lab and a pottery for weekly evening sessions on new-making.

Still accepting applications for 2015 entry.

"Whereas in other institutions you may only work on one or two objects and it is more theory than practice, in less than one year I have worked on 11 very different objects, including objects from prestigious collections.

Ronnie Kam, Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation of Ceramics and Related Materials

For more insights from Ronnie and other students please see the 2015 prospectus.

“We focus on live projects. The working conditions and small class sizes give our students the time and space to develop at their own pace in a supportive environment.”
Lorna Calcutt, Programme Leader


Graduates of the programme are now working as conservators in museums nationally and internationally or have their own private conservation practice. Some follow a career path into collections care and management.

Graduate Diploma, one academic year – University of Sussex award

Start with basic treatments while being introduced to a diverse range of objects, then undertake progressively more complex conservation projects. Study:

  • Ceramic technology
  • Including the making of ceramics in a pottery evening class
  • Produce accessible conservation reports supported by access to lectures in material culture
  • Materials science
  • Visits to collections and sites
  • Professional Practice IT and library-based research builds a professional approach to documentation. Practice is extended through client liaison, interpretation and investigation of historic objects and their environments, and supported by an awareness of preventative conservation measures.

Entry requirements
Degree or qualification at equivalent level to a second year of undergraduate study e.g. HNC, HND, DipHE and significant interest in conservation and conservation of ceramics.

English language:
CEFR (Common European Framework of
Reference for Languages) level B1 or ILETS 6.0

View the course documentsAdobe Acrobat

Postgraduate Diploma, one academic year – University of Sussex award

Combining theory and practice you will undertake advanced projects in the conservation of ceramics and related materials. Enjoy visits to collections and conservation workshops and take part in work experience, which often includes a placement at a museum or a private workshop.

Entry requirements

Successful completion of West Dean’s Graduate Diploma in Conservation of Ceramics and Related Materials, or appropriate experience and a degree in a relevant subject.

We arrange an exhibition of students' work from both Diplomas for invited guests, including those in the professional conservation field.

English language:
CEFR (Common European Framework of
Reference for Languages) level B1 or ILETS 6.0

View the course documentsAdobe Acrobat

MA Conservation Studies, one calendar year – University of Sussex award

All Postgraduate Diplomas at West Dean can be transferred into the MA Degree programmes, extending your study from one academic year to a full calendar year. In February, students on postgraduate programmes start MA units in addition to the remainder of their Postgraduate Diploma.

On successful completion of the full academic year in July, students will have finished their Postgraduate Diploma and completed a significant amount of MA introductory study. In July students start their major projects for the MA degree which involve a further 10-weeks of study with a final assessment towards the end of September.

Entry requirements

Students registered on the Postgraduate Diploma have fulfilled the entry requirements for the MA subject to the negotiation of an appropriate MA project.

MA Collections Care and Management

MA Collections Care and Management (Subject to validation)

Professional Development Diploma, one academic year – West Dean College award

Students wishing to carry out a Professional Development Diploma in their chosen subject should have experience in a relevant industry or successful completion of a relevant diploma or degree and the submission of a project proposal and /or research project. This programme is supported by BADA.

Your tutors

Programme Leader Lorna Calcutt MA ACR has a background in Art and Design, the History of Fine and Decorative Arts and ceramics and glass conservation. Lorna runs the Ceramics Conservation programmes and is the lead MA Conservation Studies tutor.

Associate Tutor, Penny Caldwell ACR, has 30 years' experience running a small conservation of ceramics business, working for clients worldwide. Penny is involved with the professional development of ceramics conservators and training students.

Programme advisers include Reino Liefkes - Curator of Ceramics, the Victoria and Albert Museum. Errol Manners - BADA member; Specialist in European & English Porcelain. Loretta Hogan - Senior Ceramics Conservator.

A career in conservation
West Dean students have an excellent employment record, and have undertaken work placements in prestigious institutions such as The British Museum, The V&A, The Ashmolean Museum, The Metropolitan Museum, National Museums; Liverpool, Cliveden Conservation, Plowden and Smith Ltd. and Sarah Peek Conservation, amongst others.

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To find out more call our Academic Office + 44 (0)1243 818 291, or email us at diplomas@westdean.org.uk

Related information

Download a Prospectus

Download a Prospectus

Conservation Blog

Conservation Blog