50th Anniversary Exhibition

West Dean Gardens

To celebrate our 50th Anniversary, we published an Open Call, inviting everyone who has studied at West Dean College to share their experience of learning, through a single image and short description.

We are thrilled to present over 140 varied and personal responses, which we are immensely proud to have been a part of. Each response has been printed on a weatherproof synthetic paper called Teslin and are now on display in the kiwi/passionflower glasshouses within West Dean Gardens. They’ll remain there for most of our anniversary year before becoming part of our Archive.

Please click here for seasonal ticket prices. RHS members get free access to the gardens. Free entry for children under 16. Dogs on leads are welcome.

Read more about our 50th anniversary celebrations

50 years of creativity

In October 1971, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation opened its doors as a centre for the study of conservation, arts, crafts, writing, gardening and music. It offered students of any ability the chance to learn new skills and discover new passions through both full-time and short courses.

The College was founded by Edward James, poet, patron of the arts and visionary of the 20th century who donated his family home and estate to fulfil his desire to nurture music, traditional crafts, and the fine arts. 

This legacy lives on today.

Now, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is an internationally renowned centre of excellence, attracting students from all over the world to study a wide range of subjects in arts, craft and conservation, surrounded by award-winning gardens and in the inspiring setting of the South Downs. 

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