Press Release: Conservation and Visual Arts in action, Student Open Day (2016/17 intake)

The internationally renowned West Dean College will be opening its doors to prospective students on Saturday 7 November (10 am to 2.30pm). The Student Open Day is an opportunity to see conservation in action behind the scenes in the School of Conservation and to explore the School of Creative Arts. Students who are interested in developing a career in the heritage sector and creative arts will be able to; tour the workshops and studios: talk to tutors, admissions staff and students; learn about funding; and tour the residential accommodation. Francine Norris, BA (Hons) MA FRSA, Director of Education will talk about the professional currency of the college's degrees and diplomas. Shayne Rivers, MA (RCA), world renowned expert in the conservation of furniture and Asian lacquer and Head of Conservation will talk about conservation opportunities.

"Considering the options for further study and what career opportunities their degree will open up to them, is a major decision for prospective students" says Francine Norris, Director of Education at West Dean College. "For example, our new two-year Foundation Degree in Historic Craft Practices means that students can specialise in Clocks, Furniture, Metals or Musical Instruments and combine their interest in heritage with practical hands-on skills development. It balances practical and academic skills and, for most students, includes a period of work placement."

Graduates of the FdA programme will be equipped to enter the field or to pursue further qualifications. The Foundation Degree offers a recognised qualification and will also appeal to international students.

Conservation of Books and Library Materials graduate, Noah Smutz, completed his MA this year and says, "West Dean has given me the opportunity to work with interesting objects and exceptional tutors to enhance my conservation knowledge, preparing me for a successful career in conservation".

Students come from all over the world, attracted by the college's international reputation, exciting live projects and the unique environment with its connections to the Surrealist Movement.

Other study options include Graduate Diploma specialising in books, clocks, ceramics, furniture or metalwork. The Master of Arts (MA) Degrees include MA Conservation studies, a part-time MA Collections Care and Conservation Management* and MA Creative Writing and Publishing, and MA Visual Arts, and Master of Fine Arts (MFA). In addition to specialist conservation and arts library and dedicated workshops, students have access to the School of Conservation's Analytical Laboratory where they can undertake technical analysis alongside their practical and academic work. Courses are validated by the University of Sussex.

The Visual Arts programme includes Painting and Drawing, Sculpture and Tapestry and Textile Art. The college is the former home of Edward James, poet and lifelong patron of the Surrealist Movement, and contains artworks, artefacts and papers which inspire the students on the full time Visual Arts programmes.

In recognition of the increasing difficulties in funding for postgraduate education the college offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships for talented students who would not otherwise be able to study at West Dean College.

Open Day Programme

Saturday 7 November 2015 (10am to 2.30pm)

10.30 Open workshops and studios

11.00 to 12.00 Presentations:

  • Welcome by Francine Norris, BA (Hons) MA FRSA, Director of Education
  • Shayne Rivers, MA (RCA) FIIC, Head of Conservation
  • Matthew Read, Programme Leader, Clocks and Related Objects Conservation talking about the FdA
  • Dr David Stent, Programme Leader, Visual Arts
  • Martine McDonagh, Programme Leader, MA Creative Writing & Publishing
  • Followed by Q&A

12.15 to 13.15 Tour of the college facilities and accommodation

13.50 to 14.30 Presentation and welcome as above

15.00 Close

For more information and if you would like to attend the Student Open Day please call
+44 (0)1243 818291 or email your full name and address, contact telephone number and the programme you are interested in applying for, to To view the digital prospectus visit


Notes to editors

  • The arts and crafts underpin the UK's world-leading creative industries sector, which is worth £71.4 billion a year.
  • West Dean College has seen an increase of 23% in student intake in the last two years.
  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • New appointments in 2015 included Professor Paul O'Prey, Vice-Chancellor of Roehampton University, who was appointed a trustee of The Edward James Foundation. Shayne Rivers, world renowned expert in the conservation of furniture and Asian lacquer was appointed Head of Conservation.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in viewing the college in action for news purposes, including filming at West Dean, should contact the Media Relations Team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

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Media Contact Information

For further information and high-resolution digital images, please contact

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ