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Conservation of Books and Library Materials
We are still accepting applications for all subjects for 2019 entry. Find out more about funding opportunities.
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
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) and an interest or experience in object conservation and cultural heritage.
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.
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, available on request.
Student Scholarships and Bursaries
Approximately 60% of students receive some form of funding. Find out more
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
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.
Associate Tutor, Books
Abigail Bainbridge co-owns Bainbridge Conservation, specialising in the conservation of books and paper for private clients and institutions. She has worked as a conservator at Columbia University and taught Conservation Science at Camberwell College of Art, as well as actively teaching workshops in bookbinding and book conservation internationally.
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.