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Conservation of Books and Library Materials
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
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.
On the Graduate Diploma you typically have around 20-21 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.
Graduate Diploma: 63% of your time is spent in
scheduled teaching and learning activity.
Scheduled teaching and learning: 752 hours, Independent learning: 416 hours.
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.
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.
International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above.
Tuition fees include much more than is typical of universities, i.e. tuition fees plus basic materials, lunch, morning/afternoon tea/coffee. Included is mandatory study trip cost of £400, which typically includes tailored visits to collections/exhibitions of specific interest to the programme of study. For one day study trips lunch is provided, while for residential study trips meals are not included.
Accommodation and living expenses are additional.
Currently a third of all tuition fees are met through
bursary or scholarship funding.
In 16/17 almost 60% of students were in receipt of some support. Find out about funding here.
Graduates of the programme usually transition to the MA Conservation Studies (via the Postgraduate Diploma first stage).
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
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 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
Jane Eagan: Book Conservator Oxford Colleges Conservation Consortium
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.