Press Release: School of Creative Arts, Student Open Day at West Dean College

Create your future is the message from West Dean as the College opens its doors to students interested in the Visual Arts incorporating Painting and Drawing, Sculpture, and Tapestry and Textile Art. The School of Creative Arts Open Day (Friday 2 December, 10am to 1pm) is an opportunity for prospective students to tour the art studios; meet the tutors; hear about funding opportunities, including scholarships and bursaries; talk to students; and tour the campus and residential accommodation.

Edward James, the founder of the College was a poet, artist, designer and patron of the Surrealist Movement. During his lifetime James sponsored emerging artist and writers including Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and John Betjeman. Today the College continues this work by supporting people to realise their creative ambitions and potential.

"I chose to study MFA Sculpture in West Dean for its unsurpassed quality of education and its multidisciplinary approach to Visual Arts. The interaction, cooperation and collaboration with other programmes at the college, coupled with the multitude range of Short Courses offered has enhanced my skills and expanded the horizons of my sculptural practice," says Hala Sabet, MFA. "We are exposed to a continuous flow of intellectual stimulation and enrichment through tutorials, visiting artists and group interactions. Studying at West Dean with its spacious studios and facilities has enabled me to work on a large scale and expand my ambitions beyond what I believed was achievable".

"To study Visual Arts at West Dean College is to be surrounded by creative opportunities," says Dr David Stent, Programme Leader. "In a unique environment - with its own connections to art history through the legacy of Edward James - students can dedicate their time to exploring and expanding their work. The college's emphasis on skills-based making in the context of contemporary p ractice is rare in arts education. In such an environment, developing artists can freely engage with traditional and innovative approaches to art making."

Students come to West Dean from all over the world, attracted by the college's international reputation and its immersive and atmospheric environment. Qualifications include a Graduate and a Postgraduate Diploma, a Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA), all validated by the University of Sussex, a leading research-intensive university currently ranked in the top 20 in major UK league tables.

West Dean College Awards include a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD) and, new for 2017, a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (DACC) a two-year part time programme delivered through intensive study blocks, through attendance on short courses to develop skills, and independent study outside attendance at the college. These programmes are focused on developing skills essential to the successful development of a sustainable studio practice, both practical and contextual, either working across disciplines or specialising in one of the three main disciplines.

Students can find out about the range of bursaries and scholarships available to help enable talented students who would not otherwise be able to study at West Dean.

Open Day Programme

Friday 2 December 2016 (10am to 1pm)

10am Registration and Open Studios

10.30am to 11am Welcome and Introduction - Francine Norris, Director of Education. Outline Visual Arts Programmes & MA Creative Writing and Publishing - David Stent, Programme Leader, Visual Arts. Student talk about life at West Dean.

11am to 12 noon Open Studios, and throughout the day

12pm to 12.45pm Tour: Library, College, Student Accommodation - Meeting point: Visual Arts Foyer

1pm Close

Student Open Days Friday 2 December 2016 and Saturday 4 February 2017. View the digital prospectus and register for one of the Open Days online at or email


Notes to editors

  • 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.
  • University of Sussex
  • For more information on Postgraduate loans visit
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • 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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Hala Saber, MFA
Hala Saber, MFA
Charlotte Arcedeckne-Butler, Postgraduate/MA Visual Arts
Charlotte Arcedeckne-Butler, Postgraduate/MA Visual Arts
Askild Winkelmann, Postgraduate Diploma, Visual Art studios at West Dean College (cr ISON)
Askild Winkelmann, Postgraduate Diploma, Visual Art studios at West Dean College (cr ISON)

Media Contact Information

For further information, high-resolution digital images of filming opportunities contact

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Officer, +44 (0)1243 811301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ