Press Release: West Dean College of Arts and Conservation launch new 12-month programme of Object and Materials Conservation Masterclasses

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has just launched its latest programme of courses focussing on Object and Materials Conservation running from November 2021 – September 2022. Targeted at those already working in conservation, including conservators, curators and gallery assistants in museums and historic houses; the courses cover a vast range of areas of object and material conservation ranging from plastic; to leather to dust; object handling and environmental monitoring.

The programme includes a variety of onsite conference-style courses, practical and workshop-based courses, as well as live online courses. They are led by tutors, who have come from far and wide and are experts in their fields having worked at prestigious institutions such as National Museum of Denmark; the V&A; National Trust; the Leather Conservation Centre and Cardiff University.

Elements of the courses have been adapted to correspond with changes in the various fields. For example, Yvonne Shashoua, Research Professor of Environmental Archaeology and Materials Science at the National Museum of Denmark will be running the course on the Conservation of Plastics from Monday, March 21 – Thursday, March 24, 2022. She explains: “A new addition to the 2022 course is an introduction to how new generation plastics degrade, that is bioplastics, biodegradable and recycled plastics that are already entering collections and will increasingly replace traditional oil-based materials.”

The live/online courses give delegates the flexibility to attend from wherever they are based. The first of these in the programme is An Introduction to Plastic Materials on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. Led by Brenda Keneghan, who is a conservation consultant in modern materials. She recently retired from the V&A where she was the specialist in plastics in their conservation Department for 27 years. The course is aimed at anyone with an interest in plastics in the context of museum and gallery collections ranging from recent graduates to more experienced professionals as well as collectors and designers. Through lectures and visual example, the courses offer the opportunity to discover how the stabilities of the materials may differ from one another.

While Preventive Conservation Adviser, Helen Lloyd who will be leading on the one-day course devoted to Housekeeping and Dust on Friday, February 11, 2022, will be discussing the outcomes of the research commissioned by the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Royal Palaces with UEA Environmental Sciences. She explains: “the content of the course will be new to everyone attending, as I am not aware of another forum in which this material is taught.”

As Lizzie Neville, Head of School of Conservation commented: “We are very pleased to be offering this varied and possibly unique programme of courses, which allows conservators to attend a series of hugely informative workshops with experts in their fields.”

Other courses include:
Monday, April 4-Thursday, April 7 2022 - Conservation of Leather with Mike Redwood and Rosie Bolton

Monday, May 9- Friday, May13, 2022 - Art and Object Handling with John Bracken

Monday, July 11 – Thursday, July 14, 2022 – Managing Environmental Monitoring with Phil Parkes

To ensure a safe and welcoming campus, the College has put in place measures operating on a principle of the same as, or better than, national guidelines. This includes social distancing, self-opening doors, less students in workshops, and extensive cleaning and sanitising protocols to protect students and staff. For more details on Social Distancing and COVID-19 measures, please visit

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Notes to Editors:

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is an educational charity whose mission is to provide the highest quality education in arts and conservation. Alongside the academic provision, the College supports an annual programme of residencies designed to provide research and development opportunities to artists and writers whilst enhancing the learning environment of the College.

• West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the ‘the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century’. 
• The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
• 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. 

For all media enquiries please contact Rachel Aked:
Telephone: 07790 732448

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ