Conservation of Books and Library Materials

Graduate Diploma Conservation of Books and Library Materials

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Duration: 1 academic year (36 weeks) full time

The programme has an international reputation for developing book conservation skills.

The Graduate Diploma is the start of your transition into conservation studies if your undergraduate degree was not in a related field, and offers you the chance to specialise in your chosen field. Learn how to assess and record the condition of books to produce a complete record of work. Develop a repertoire of conservation treatments for books ranging from simple enclosure, to repair and reinstatement of the parts.

You can expect

  • To develop excellent practical skills
  • To study the history of papermaking, materials science, storage and environmental issues, leather and image materials
  • To perform historical research and interpretation of the objects you work on
  • To work with materials from library and archive collections

Learning environment

  • High tutor: student ratio
  • Workshop access 7am-10pm, 7 days a week
  • Interdisciplinary environment
  • Teaches students to understand and apply Icon's Professional Standards in Conservation Visits to collections

(Subject to re-validation)

Contact Hours

Teaching

On the Graduate Diploma you typically have around 20-21 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 5-6 hours of lectures
  • 1 hour of seminars
  • 11 hours of supervised workshop practicals
  • 2 hours of external trips & visits (on average)
  • 1 hour of one-to-one meetings/tutorials

Independent learning

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.

Overall workload

Graduate Diploma: 63% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity.
Scheduled teaching and learning: 752 hours, Independent learning: 416 hours.

Programme Structure

Programme Structure

Facilities

You will work in a purpose-built space for book conservation with two workshops as well as a bindery with individual student work benches and a demonstration bench. The bindery is fully equipped with sewing and forwarding equipment, board chopper, light boxesfinishing room and science lab. Students each have their own benches with storage and can access the studio from 7am to 10pm, allowing them to take full advantage of their time at West Dean. You will also have access to facilities shared with other departments, including the analytical laboratory, photography space, IT suite, and specialist library.

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 facilities here

Entry requirements

Degree or qualification at equivalent level to a second year of undergraduate study (e.g. HND or DipHE). You will be able to demonstrate significant interest in conservation and books, and good manual dexterity and observational skills. The Graduate Diploma is accessible to students from both humanities and science backgrounds.

International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above. Applicants are interviewed and required to undertake practical and observational tests.

Fees

UK/EU:

  • £4,130 per term (£12,390 per year)

International:

  • £4,130 per term (£12,390 per year)

Included is mandatory study trip costs of £400, which typically includes tailored visits to collections/exhibitions of specific interest to the programme of study.

Additional costs

Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional, available on request.

Find out about funding here.

Careers

Graduates of the programme usually transition to the MA Conservation Studies. Others pursue entry level positions in the heritage sector.

Work as a conservation professional in a museum, library or archive, with public and private collections, pursue a career path into collections care and management or as an independent book conservator. Graduates have gone on to work on books at The Bodleian Library in Oxford, Admiralty Library, Portsmouth, Wimborne Minster Library, Chichester Cathedral Library Collection and the Dutch National Archive.

"West Dean has given me the opportunity to work with exceptional objects while enhancing my conservation knowledge and preparing me for a successful career in conservation."

Noah Smutz, Postgraduate Diploma, Conservation of Books and Library Materials

Tutors

Mariluz Beltran de Guevara ACR

Mariluz Beltran de Guevara ACR - Subject Leader Conservation of Books

Mariluz Beltran de Guevara has been an accredited book and paper conservator since 2008, and joined West Dean College in 2017 after many years at the British Library.

Abigail Bainbridge MA

Abigail Bainbridge teaches book conservation at West Dean and worked in the book conservation lab at Columbia University and as a freelance conservator at Paper Dragon Books in New York City

Program advisors

Jane Eagan: Book Conservator, Oxford Colleges Conservation Consortium

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.

Apply now for Degree and Diploma study

Applications are welcome from UK/EU and International students.

The deadline for applications for 2019 entry is 1 March 2019 (with the exception of Conservation of Books and Library Materials, which is 1 February 2019).

Learn more about applying and entry

Find out about funding opportunities