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Research policy

West Dean Collegeis committed to sustaining and enhancing the quality of its educational provision by implementing and supporting policies that enable students and staff to develop to their full potential.Research and scholarly activity is essential to the achievement of this aim and also for the enrichment of the teaching provision.

The College’s definition of research denotes a specific form of activity characterised by:

An investigation of an identified chosen subject. Research has a coherent form and direction, and this allows written work and other forms of presentation to be encompassed within its definition.

Outcomes should increase public knowledge and awareness. The outcome of aesthetic and intellectual enquiry can take a variety of forms.

The questions under investigation, an appropriate methodology and context must be open to verification by others. The College’s approach to practice-led research in Conservation and Visual Arts is enquiring, investigative and experimental. West Dean’s facilities and infrastructure for research provide support for discourses around conservation, painting, sculpture and fine art media.

Research and scholarly activity

All teaching staff and postgraduate students are actively engaged in research and scholarly activity as a reflection of their commitment to their particular practice and/or discipline.The College accepts that this might include approaches that do not take the form of ‘traditionally’ accepted definitions of research and the following categories are bona fide aspects of research and scholarly activity:

Pure research

Experimental and theoretical work designed to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.

Applied research

Projects undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge, directed primarily toward practical aims or objectives.


Work which investigates and explores existing knowledge within and across disciplines by in-depth analysis and interpretation of ideas and information and by making use of rigorous and documented methodology.

Research by means of creative work

The interrogation, invention and generation of ideas, images and artefacts, including design.In addition to the product outcomes, the work will have outcomes which fall within the criteria above.

Consultancy based research

Work in which the deployment of existing knowledge for the resolution of a specific problem presented by a client is used as the medium for a methodological investigation.In addition to the solutions provided for the client, the work will have outcomes which fall within the criteria above.

The research environment at West Dean is significantly enriched by a continuous programme of visiting research fellows and artists-in-residence. The majority of these are post MA/MFAor current postgraduate students from the Slade, RCA, Goldsmiths, Rhode Island School of Design, USA, who have wished to take full advantage of the college environment and facilities. Here they have ready access to specialist workshops and tuition through which they can complete short-term projects or progress with the wider aims of their continuing studio and workshop practice. All students, research fellows and artists-in-residence have their own dedicated studio space together with immediate access to specialist facilities as well as the College’s full range of learning resources.

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West Dean College and Gardens are situated in South East England, six miles north of the historic city of Chichester and 12 miles from the south coast.

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