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Furniture and Related Objects

If you've ever dreamt of working with furniture look no further with: Our programmes are for anyone wishing to pursue a career in conservation or furniture making.

Still accepting applications for 2015 entry.

I fell in love with the furniture workshop and was accepted onto the Graduate Diploma, despite not having a background in woodwork or cabinet making. After spending the year receiving in-depth teaching from tutors and industry professionals, I’m amazed at what I’ve been able to achieve.”
Kate Aughey, Conservation of Furniture and Related Objects student

“I am keen that students take advantage of the many learning facilities at West Dean, including visits to historic houses, museums and other professional workshops. A good balance of the above prepares the students for securing employment as professional conservators soon after graduating.”Norbert Gutowski, Programme Leader


Graduates go on to work as conservators or makers. They work with public and private collections within the heritage sector nationally and internationally, with conservation businesses or as independent conservators or furniture-makers, designers or restorers.

Foundation Degree in Historic Craft Practices

Newly developed for 2015 September intake is a Historic Craft Practices (with your chosen focus of Clocks, Furniture or Stringed Musical Instruments) (subject to validation)

Find out more here

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

Learn about structural and surface stabilisation, cleaning, consolidation, restoration of losses, materials and techniques, theory and practice. Through practical work develop your tool skills and become confident in a variety of techniques and trades.

Graduate Diploma, one academic year - University of Sussex award

Through practical work develop your tool skills, learning a variety of techniques and trades through historic craft practices. Learn about interventive treatment, structural and surface stabilisation, cleaning, consolidation, restoration of losses, materials and techniques, and theory and practice.

Develop an understanding and appreciation of the history and cultural context of furniture and related objects and the architectural interiors they were created to be part of. Study wood and other decorative art materials associated with furniture including surface coatings: transparent, gilded, painted or lacquered. Study preventative conservation, non-interventive care, exhibition, storage and related good practice.

Entry requirements
Degree or qualification at equivalent level to a second year of undergraduate study and significant interest in furniture.

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

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Postgraduate Diploma, one academic year - University of Sussex award

The Postgraduate Diploma builds on the Graduate Diploma with the melding of the practical, theoretical, scientific and technical studies into a unified approach to the treatment and preservation of furniture and related objects. The successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma qualifies you to progress to the MA in Conservation Studies.

Entry requirements
A degree in a relevant subject, or successful completion of West Dean’s Graduate Diploma in Furniture, and significant experience and interest in object history, technology and design.

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

View the courses documentsAdobe Acrobat

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

All Postgraduate Diplomas at West Dean can be transferred into MA Degree programmes, extending 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
Candidates registered on the Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation have fulfilled the entry requirements for the MA, subject to the negotiation of an MA project.

Furniture Making, one academic year - West Dean College Diploma

Entry requirements
A good general education combined with a desire to attain the appropriate level of woodworking.

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 considerable 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.
Programmes are supported by BADA.

Your tutors

Furniture Tutor, Norbert Gutowski, is a specialist in traditional and modern woodworking techniques and decorative finishes with many years’ experience as a commercial conservator-restorer. He was director of the HND courses at former Rycotewood College and Thame, Oxfordshire, and has been Programme Tutor at West Dean College since 1996.

Associate Tutor: Tristram Bainbridge, works as a contract furniture conservator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and in private practice. He has lectured in conservation at the City and Guilds of London and at Camberwell College of Art. He achieved an MA in Conservation from West Dean College and a BA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Programme Advisor, Christopher Claxton Stevens, Decorative Arts Scholar and Consultant
Richard Coles, Antique Furniture Dealer
Kate Gill, Textile Conservator
Tom Kealy, Furniture Designer Maker
Toby Winteringham, Furniture Designer Maker

Programme Leader, David Dorning MA ACR

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

Related information

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