Taking the first step

Being a student at West Dean College is full of challenges and surprises. When I participated in my first Short Course in 2010 little did I realise that in 2015 I would be studying full time for the Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts. The journey has many similarities to the landscape of West Dean, comprised of highs and lows, but also full of variety and interest at every turn.

After thirty years as a Healthcare Scientist the time was right for change. During a tranquil walk in the snow, in the Arboretum at West Dean, I was inspired to try-out the notion of a more creative life. The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD) provided an opportunity for me to test, broaden and develop my skills on a part time basis. As a lover of nature, the surroundings provided an ideal environment for study. The facilities and equipment are of the highest standard and being able to access the historic house was an immense privilege. Drawing days provided a good opportunity for networking with fellow students and gave access to tutorial support from practising artists, giving an insight into the professional and contextual development required. I achieved my diploma and gained the confidence to build my portfolio and apply for the Visual Arts course.

Karen Swann, Graduate Diploma Visual Arts, West Dean College

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Life changing

The full time commitment of the Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts is life changing. The path is very steep and difficult in places. The course is providing me with a unique environment in which to experiment and explore. Having a dedicated studio space and access to many tutors and visiting artists for seminars and tutorials enables self-directed creativity to develop in a supportive atmosphere. The contextual and academic elements of the course provide a framework for me to find my voice and become an independent practitioner. Articulating your practice is a challenge for any artist, resolving this in such a unique inspirational environment is a fulfilling and rewarding experience.