Press Release: West Dean College of Arts and Conservation launch 2021 Summer Schools to escape the everyday and connect with creativity

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has just launched their hugely popular Summer School 2021 programme today (Thursday, December 3, 2020). The Summer School is the perfect opportunity to escape to the West Sussex countryside, immerse yourself in creativity and learn a new skill. Running between Friday, July 30, 2021 and Thursday, August, 19, 2021, there are 27 courses to choose from including new courses such as Mythical figurative painting with George Popesco and Quietly composed – imagery in cloth and thread with Amanda Clayton. More details can be found at

Many of the weeklong courses embrace the College’s stunning gardens and surroundings, making use of the connection between both creativity and time spent outdoors to boost wellbeing. Exploring sculptural themes – figure, landscape, abstract with Jon Edgar (July 30-Aug 5/ £915), is suitable for all and encourages students to explore sculptural form with clay, wire, wax, wood and the carved block. They will be taking inspiration from the reclining figure, the South Downs landscape, the human head, music and emotions. Painting – colour palette and stuff of place with Frances Hatch is suitable for Intermediate/advanced artists and offers the opportunity to learn how to integrate foraged material with water-based paints, with an emphasis on skilled colour mixing. A good deal of time will be spent drawing and painting in West Dean Gardens (July 30-Aug 5/ £805). 

Digital photography – the essentials with Roy Matthews is suitable for Beginners/intermediate and will also use the local surroundings in both the day and evenings (July 30 – Aug 5/ £834); while Watercolour – the floral extravaganza of West Dean Gardens with Christine Forbes is appropriate for Intermediate painters and will capture the exuberance of flower borders in West Dean Gardens. Students will paint outside using portable watercolours, recording the rainbow of colours on show! (Aug 6-12/ £803). Stone carving – inspired by the landscape with Paula Haughney is suitable for all and offers the opportunity to create a sculpture inspired by what you see. There will be some carving insitu in the West Dean landscape and all aspects of outdoor carved stone sculpture will be covered (Aug 6-12/ £800) and Stained glass – inspired by West Dean with Carole Gray is suitable for all and allows students to develop their skills and creativity making stained glass. Gaining inspiration from West Dean, they will learn all the techniques needed to make a stained glass panel or window and explore the use of decorative sandblasting (Aug 6-12/ £818).

Mixed media art textiles – marks from the land with Alice Fox is suitable for all and encourages students to explore the potential of found and gathered materials from the West Dean Estate. Students will then use these in a range of techniques for making marks on paper and cloth to record personal experiences of landscape (Aug 13-19/ £827), while Contemporary painting – abstracting the landscape with Steve Humble which is suitable for intermediate/ advanced level students offers the opportunity to work with the landscape and reference the work of Contemporary Painters, in addition to extending your own approach to painting, and your understanding of ‘abstraction’ (August 13-19/ £800).

As Alison Baxter, Head of the School of Art at West Dean, explains: “West Dean’s Summer School attracts students from all over the UK, and if you are looking for quality teaching from experienced practitioners, this is where you will want to come to develop or learn new skills. The inspiring and creative environment, and our community of students will give you a lasting and memorable experience.”  

Alongside each course, students can also sign-up for early evening drawing sessions in the gardens, hear short inspirational tutor talks, and benefit from sharing ideas and knowledge with both tutors and other students. Extra activities will be announced nearer the time to allow for social distancing.

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

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation can be found on Social Media:

Explore Categories

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