Fine Art

Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts

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Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts
Duration: Two years of 10 three-day intensive blocks of study taken each academic year
Application deadline for equal consideration: 15 January 2020

Register now for Open Day on Saturday 8 February 2020.
Find out more about funding opportunities.

If you are looking to progress from a Foundation Diploma towards professional practice as an artist,
or to further your studies in higher education, the Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts is designed for you.

The two year part-time programme is focused on developing skills essential to the successful development of a sustainable studio practice, both practical and contextual.

You can work across disciplines or choose to specialise in areas such as Painting and Drawing, Sculpture, Printmaking, Textiles, Ceramics, Wood, Metal and Jewellery.

This course is designed to provide further development for students completing the Foundation Diploma and wishing to progress to professional practice as an artist or to the Graduate Diploma in Fine Art.

You can expect:

  • To develop an understanding of the underlying concepts and principles of establishing a creative practice.
  • To have gained relevant working knowledge of historical and theoretical contexts, and understood techniques of critical research, to inform the development of your own practice.
  • To develop an understanding of processes and materials in relation to your chosen discipline(s).
  • To learn from expert tutors who are practicing professionals and have creative arts industry experience and knowledge.

Programme Content

The curriculum is delivered through 10 three-day intensive blocks of study taken each year, attendance of short courses, further self-directed study blocks in the dedicated studio space and monthly tutorials with specialist tutors. Course modules cover a programme of critical, practical and theoretical studies across the broad field of contemporary arts and crafts.

Visiting teaching staff from different specialisms will support you in the development of your skills. Residential modules are supported by self-directed study offsite, and written assignments.

Contact Hours


On the DACC you will typically have between 15 - 18 contact hours per study block, consisting of:

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Group critiques
  • Written and oral presentations

Students will also have the opportunity to have an individual tutorial between study blocks either
on-site or remotely.

Skills development

To develop practical skills relevant to your area of interest each year you will attend short courses equivalent to a total of 84 hours.

Independent learning

Alongside attendance of study blocks and short courses, you will be expected to undertake
independent learning to foster self-direction and autonomy. The management of each set assignment provides a framework for individual study and self-motivation.

You are also encouraged to read journal articles and books, visit galleries and exhibitions and to engage in group and peer collaboration and support.

Overall workload

Scheduled teaching and learning: 504 hours
Independent learning: 1614 hours

Programme structure

Year 1
Sept Oct Nov Dec*  Jan Feb Mar Apr May* Jun
Intro 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days

Induction Unit (comprising 4 days in attendance and 122 hours independent study)

15 credits

Outcode completed - PROJECT ONE

Skills Development (comprising 8 days in attendance, 12 days attendance on Short Courses and 410 hours independent study)

55 credits

Outcome - completed PROJECT TWO and PROJECT THREE which will include a portfolio of work and a reflective journal

Project Development Unit (comprising 6 days in attendance and 258 independent study)

30 credits

Outcome - Completed PROJECT FOUR, final outcome development work and statement of intent (500 words)

Critical Studies (comprising 6 days in attendance and 158 hours independant study)

20 credits

Outcome - ESSAY ONE, 500 word essay and research journal, ESSAY TWO, 1000 word essay and research journal

Year 2
Sept Oct Nov Dec* Jan Feb  Mar Apr May* Jun
Intro 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days

Context Unit (comprising 5 days in attendance and 165 hours independent study)

20 credits

Outcome - Completed PROJECT FIVE

Skills Development (comprising 6 days in attendance, 12 days attendance on Short Courses and 220 hours independent study)

40 credits

Outcome - Completed PROJECT SIX which will include a portfolio of work and a reflective journal

Final Project Development Unit (comprising 9 days in attendance and 337 hours independent study)

40 credits

Outcome - Completed SELF DIRECTED PROJECT, final outcome, development work and reflective statement (1000 words)

Critical Studies (comprising 4 days attendance and 172 hours independent study)

20 credits

Outcome - ESSAY THREE, 1000 word essay and research journal, ESSAY FOUR, 2000 word essay and research journal

* optional study block

Entry Requirements

West Dean Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD) or Arts Foundation course, or A Level 3 Arts Foundation course or equivalent.

Applicants can be considered if they can provide evidence of prior learning with an appropriate portfolio of work.

You will be invited to a Portfolio interview and will be asked to present a concise overview of the development and current focus of your practice, including sketchbooks, journals, documentation and an example of written work.

International applicants can provide a digital portfolio.

Find out more about the fdad

Fees and funding

Course fees are the same for UK and international students

  • £5,110 per year

Additional costs

Lunch for DACC students costs £284 per year

Student bursaries

Bursary awards are available for students who have accepted an offer to study at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Applicants for a bursary award are required to demonstrate financial need.

Find out more about funding opportunities


Alison Baxter

Head of School of Arts

Alison Baxter started working at the College as a jewellery tutor, then as Head of Short Courses before taking on the Head of School role in 2017. She has many years experience in developing and implementing creative programmes in several Art Schools, as well as teaching across a broad range of subjects. 

Mark Cazalet

Mark had an eclectic training which has influenced his broad range of media and working processes. He is particularly interested in colour and markmaking which he has explored in glass, textile, printed books, murals and traditional materials.

Frances Hatch

Frances completed a post- graduate teachers' training course at Goldsmiths' College and an MA in Printmaking at Wimbledon School of Art. Frances works on location with local materials and water based paints.

Louisa Taylor

Louisa Taylor studied an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the RCA, London (2004-2006). She is based in Brighton where she produces her ceramic tableware range for shops, galleries and collectors in the UK and internationally. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton and a member of the Crafts Potters Association and Contemporary Applied Arts.

Joseph Jones

DACC Programme and Contextual Studies Co-ordinator

Joseph Jones is an artist and lecturer based in London and Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex. He has taught at the University of the Arts London, Wimbledon College of Art, Brighton University, Falmouth University and University Centre Hastings. His academic research focuses on modern and contemporary art, investigating in particular aspects of late nineteenth and twentieth century art that relate to the emergence of modernism.

George Charman

George Charman is an artist and lecturer based in London. Charman's practice-led research focuses on embodied social knowledge, exploring connections between dialogic social experiences and physical sensation in modes of creative production/fabrication.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this course or would like further information please contact admissions either by enquiring online or calling the number below. To make your application you will need to download and fill out our application form.

Open Day - register today

Come and find out what makes West Dean College of Arts and Conservation such an amazing place to study. Explore the studios, take a tour with students, discuss your study options, and find out about funding at our next Open Day on: 

Saturday 8 February 2020

Register your place and find out more