Scholarships and Bursaries

Scholarships and bursaries are a lifeline for emerging artists, makers and conservators who show great talent but who can't afford the cost of study. The Edward James Foundation Scholarship and Bursary Fund was created to ensure that financial hardship is not a barrier for talented students to study here. This would not be possible without the generous supporters who donate to this fund with gifts of all sizes.

Your support could be the vital piece in the jigsaw for a young person who needs help to turn their gift into a career.

Support emerging talent

Your gift to the scholarship and busary programme will change lives. It will give talented students the opportunity to study at West Dean College without worry of financial problems and increasing debt. Together we can support the most talented students today to be the next generation of cultural leaders, artists and conservators.

You can fund an entire scholarship for a student that can be tailored to your interests and named after an individual or your organisation. You'll also have the opportunity to meet your scholar and follow their progress. This can be a very rewarding experience.

If you would like to make a lasting gift to West Dean College to fund this programme or provide a source of funding for a particular area of study over a longer period, talk to us about endowment or legacy gifts.

Email the Development Team or call us on 01243 818265 to find out more information.

Hear from some of our recent Scholars

In February we held our annual Scholars Lunch to enable funders to meet the students whose lives they are transforming through the education and skills development that will underpin their future careers.

We are pleased to share the speeches from the event, delivered by Francine Norris, Director of Education and three current students. They spoke passionately about the importance of craft skill in education, and what impact this will have on their future lives.

Read the speeches

Joanna's story

"Thanks to the bursary I received for the FDAD programme my whole outlook and direction as an artist has changed and now anything is possible."

Largely self-taught since leaving school, 24 year old Joanna was searching for creative guidance and development when she came to West Dean College.

"Having studied textiles and art at school, illness changed my university plans. I studied Art History with the Open University but realised I wanted a more hands-on career as a working artist. My textile art was exhibited and I won an award for a piece of my embroidery. But my lack of knowledge was restricting me and I just couldn't move forward. I needed something to breathe new life into my work.

I got a place on the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD) programme, which I started alongside the final year of my degree. It's just fantastic and there isn't a course like it at any other institution. The short course format means I can focus on the skills, techniques and areas of interest that I want to try out and incorporate into my art.

Being a part-time course meant I could finish my degree and continue to work whilst studying. This made it financially doable. However it didn't work out as planned. I just wasn't able to balance work with the FDAD, the final year of my degree and a chronic health condition.

It is only thanks to the bursary that I could complete the FDAD and it has changed my whole outlook and direction as an artist.

Read more of Joanna's story

When I started the programme, I planned to develop my textile art, but everything changed the moment I came to the College.

The introductory weekend reawakened my passion and excitement for drawing and painting and I haven't stopped drawing since.

Last year I took a course with Caroline Wendling. We walked through the West Dean estate, sketching the landscape as we went, drawing from memory how the landscape made us feel. At the time, I was working on A3 paper and Caroline suggested I work bigger, taping two A1 sheets together. My drawings are expressive but the small scale was restricting me. The size was daunting but once I started I realised how the space gave me much more freedom.

I believe that the final picture I drew on her course is one of the best drawings I've done. Without her support and encouragement I would never have tried it.

I've come to realise that my art is a process and I need to allow myself to draw and paint naturally instead of being constrained by a pre-determined image of how I expect the final piece to look. I tend to have a strong idea of the finished picture but know that it doesn't always work out that way. I've learnt that my pictures evolve and I'm trying to be much looser and free to let my pictures develop. To do this I need to trust my art and not be influenced by how others do things. But that's really hard to do.

I'll complete the FDAD in July. I want to continue to study as this gives me space to experiment and grow as an artist. I have a room at home in Cornwall where I can work but I'd really like to find a studio and somewhere to exhibit my work. My aim is to be a working artist and the FDAD has given me choice in what I do next.

Do you need funding to support your studies?

If you wish to enroll on any of our education courses but lack of funds is holding you back, click to read about the range of bursaries available to help you access the training you need.

Student funding

Contact us

For more information please contact the Development Team:

Tel 01243 818256
Email fundraising@westdean.org.uk