Press Release: Embrace Autumn at West Dean

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has just launched 300+ short courses including many that are inspired by West Dean’s wonderful surroundings and their award-winning gardens. From October 2020 to April 2021 a wide variety of courses will be on offer including Winter landscapes; Creative photography – twilight landscapes; Digital Landscape Photography – autumn colour as well as Ceramics with found objects and natural materials. Among the Gardening courses will be Creating a sense of place in your garden; Create your own planting plan; Growing apples, pears, plums and cherries and Simplifying the rules – easier ways to a successful vegetable and fruit garden.

The College offers the perfect opportunity to escape and recharge; get hands on with arts and craft skills and boost your wellbeing in the process. Set in the heart of the South Downs National Park, in a stunning location, the College’s rural setting makes it particularly attractive as more of us take the opportunity to reconnect with and discover the restorative power of the natural environment. The tutors are experts drawn from across the UK and there are several new tutors for the new season. Courses range from painting and drawing; gardening; metalsmithing; ceramics; creative writing; textiles; sculpture; jewellery; woodworking and basketry and new courses include Crime Writing; Letterpress and Japanese woodblock printmaking. Many of the courses are suitable for all levels and prices start at £85.

Among the courses that allow students to celebrate the countryside in the cooler months through walking, drawing and painting are Wild textiles – foraging and natural dyeing with Sarah Burns (October 25–27/£299/ Beginners/Intermediate) and Winter landscapes with Melanie Rose (January 19–22/ £396/ Intermediate/Advanced). The Autumn and Winter landscape also inspires Printed landscapes in lino and monotype with Mark Cazalet (December 6-11/ £624/ Suitable for all); Slab built Ceramics – responding to place with Anna Lambert (January 31- February 5/ £684/ Suitable for All); Land art using natural materials with Dan Lobb (March 14-16/ £260/ Suitable for all) and Painting autumn landscapes in oils with Tom Benjamin (October 1–4/ £393/ Suitable for all). Other courses include Botanical painting – autumn colours with Sandrine Maugy (October 18-21/ £393/ Suitable for all); Silver autumn leaf pendant with Sarah Macrae (November 13/ £148/ Beginners); Digital Landscape Photography – autumn colour with Roy Matthews (October 30- November 1/ £271/ Intermediate/ Advanced) and Millinery silk flower making autumn leaves and berries with Anne Tomlin (December 4-6/ £270/ Suitable for all). 

There will also be a week in February (14-18) devoted to Sustainability titled RE-SEEN, Make more. Waste Less. that encourages students to reclaim or reinvent through courses including Ceramics with found objects and natural materials with Elaine Bolt (£546/ Beginners) and Sustainable weaving with found and upcycled materials with Rita Parniczky (£519/ Suitable for all).

To complement the awe-inspiring gardens of West Dean are a series of informative Gardening and Growing courses including Creating a sense of place in your garden with Emily Erlam (October 21 – 23/ £260/ Suitable for all); Create your own planting plan with Annie Guilfoyle (November 6 – 8/ £260/ Suitable for all); Designing your own garden with Annie Guilfoyle (January 7 – 10/ £381/  Suitable for all); Growing apples, pears, plums and cherries with John Nash (November 7/ £128/ Beginners/Intermediate) and Simplifying the rules – easier ways to a successful vegetable and fruit garden with Charles Dowding (January 23/ £85/ Suitable for all).

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 https://www.westdean.org.uk/coronavirus

For full details, plus information on accommodation, please visit www.westdean.ac.uk Bookings can be made online or by calling +44 (0)1243 818300.

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Notes to Editors:

  • 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’.
  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has an international reputation and offers a wide selection of short courses a year, as well as part time and full time diploma and degree programmes to Masters level.
  • 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:
Email: rachel.aked@westdean.org.uk
Telephone: 07790 732448

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

Millinery silk flower making autumn leaves and berries with Anne Tomlin, 4-6 December
Simplifying the rules – easier ways to a successful vegetable and fruit garden with Charles Dowding, 23 January
Digital landscape photography – autumn colour with Roy Matthews, 30 October - 1 November