Come and find out what makes West Dean College of Arts and Conservation such a unique place to study with an international reputation.Find out more
Craft Practices - Metalwork
Develop well-rounded metalworking theory and skills that will enhance your employment prospects or allow you to continue your studies in higher education. Projects become more challenging as the course progresses and encompasses both silversmithing and blacksmithing. You will be encouraged to understand historic craft practice in order to place your own work in a broader context and gain a keen understanding of the time needed for a piece of work in a creative, problem solving environment.
You can expect
You will work in our well-equipped metals workshop with areas for photography, analysis, chemicals, hot work (casting, soldering, and welding) and a machine shop. Adjacent to the workshop is the newly-built forge to which you will have access. Collaboration with other conservation specialisms makes for a uniquely enriched learning environment. Shared facilities include:
The on-site Art and Conservation Library puts thousands of specialist books and journals within your reach and you can access specialist databases in the IT suite.find out more about the facilities
You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, external trips and visits and workshop practicals. In addition, you have personal tutorials with your subject tutor.
At level 4 you typically have around 18-19 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:
At level 5 you typically have around 16-17 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:
When not attending lectures, seminars and workshop or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and preparing coursework assignments and presentations.
Level 4: 53% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 633 hours
Independent learning: 567 hours
Level 5: 50% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 600 hours
Independent learning: 600 hours
UCAS tariff points: 120 Completion of a level 3 qualification, for example: A-Levels, BTEC or Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.
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.
International applicants should provide a digital portfolio, evidence of English language ability to Level B2 (IELTS 6.0), as well as equivalent level 3 qualifications.
Course fees are the same for UK and international students
Included is mandatory study trip costs of £400, which typically includes tailored visits to collections/exhibitions of specific interest to the programme of study.
Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional. Find out more
Student scholarships and bursaries
Scholarship and bursary awards are available for students who have accepted an offer to study at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Applicants for a scholarship award should show outstanding potential and a commitment to their studies and future career in their chosen subject. Applicants for a bursary award are required to demonstrate financial need.
Graduates have gone on to work in the sector, both as employees and self-employed, to pursue their studies in higher education, and some have established a high profile for their own designs and craftsmanship. In 2018, 75% of students were in work or study six months after graduation.
"There were probably three main reasons I chose West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Firstly, the small class sizes, which offer a high degree of personal tuition. Secondly, the unparalleled access to facilities including the forge, hot work and chemicals areas, which because of the small class sizes you get plenty of time to use. Thirdly is the location - it is unique!
One of the highlights of the course so far has been a project to make a pewter box. Part of the brief was that before construction the box we also had to make the tools to do the repoussé. It allowed us to learn and experience the whole process, from design and methodology to realisation of the final object. I also found great satisfaction from the integrity of hand-making the tools and ensuring they were specialised to create the desired finish."
Mary, metalwork student
Grant McCaig is an internationally recognised Silversmith and educator. His work is in several major collections including National Museums of Scotland, the Goldsmiths' Company, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and Aberdeen Art Gallery. He has taught in Japan and Colombia, is a selector for Cockpit Arts and mentor for the Crafts Council.
Subject Leader FdA Historic Craft Practices
Nick specialises in instruments inspired by Viennese guitars of the early and mid-nineteenth century, including those with extra bass strings, and the mid-twentieth-century guitars of the North American 'golden era' of acoustic guitar making. In recent years his passion has led to him studying the instrument's development and societal history.
Hazel Newey: former Head of Conservation at the Science Museum
Richard Rogers: Richard Rogers Conservation
Alistair Dickenson: specialist in precious metalwork
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.