Fine Art

Graduate Diploma Fine Art

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Graduate Diploma Fine Art
Duration: 1 academic year (36 weeks pa) full time


Register now for Open Day on Friday 6 December.
Find out more about funding opportunities.


The Graduate Diploma in Fine Art is a one-year interdisciplinary programme designed to provide a route into postgraduate study. As a concentrated form of an undergraduate degree, the programme gives graduates of other disciplines the opportunity to transfer existing skills to the study of Fine Arts. As you progress through the programme, you can work across disciplines or choose to specialise in areas such as Painting and Drawing, Sculpture, or Tapestry and Textile Art.

Studio Work units run continuously throughout the academic year as the core of the Graduate Diploma programme, informed and enhanced by additional theoretical and professional units.
A variety of materials-based workshops are undertaken in the first semester, focused by critical engagement with the Ronald Lee Archive, a unique archival resource of visual and material culture that promotes the production of new artworks for a 'pop-up' exhibition. A series of lectures
and seminars introduces Philosophical Aesthetics and supports the writing of a critical essay. The second semester incorporates Contextual and Professional Research, helping students to situate
their own practices in a historical and contemporary context. The year culminates in a Summer Show open to the public.

You can expect

  • Low student : tutor ratio
  • Dedicated individual studio space with access from 8.30am-10pm, seven days a week
  • Access to advanced facilities, workshops and expertise
  • Support in developing both interdisciplinary and specialist studio work
  • Support in developing critical thinking and contextual knowledge
  • Opportunities to display work in various contexts
  • Support for developing transferable skills such as self-management, communication, collaboration, IT and research skills
  • Increased independence and self-reliance applicable for further study, practice or employment

Learning environment

  • A stimulating and supportive learning environment in which to develop your creative practice
  • A specialised programme of lectures, seminars and workshops
  • Input from regular visiting lecturers and artists
  • Expert support for a dedicated team of workshop technicians
  • Professional development provision for gallery visits and other external events
  • Contact with a regular series of professional artists-in-residence based in the studios throughout the academic year
  • An immersive environment with rich connections to art history, particularly Surrealism, through the legacy of college founder Edward James

Facilities

All full-time Fine Art students are provided with a large individual workspace in the Edward James Studios. In addition to specialist spaces dedicated to Painting and Drawing, Sculpture and Tapestry and Textile-based work, the studios also include:

  • a seminar room
  • a materials and tool store
  • a small photographic darkroom
  • bookable exhibition and research spaces
  • an IT suite with digital editing software.

A self-contained print room offers specialist facilities for etching, aquatint, monoprinting, woodblock and linocut. Students can work on a large-scale in the Sculpture Courtyard, which is also suitable for work in stone carving.

Students are encouraged to collaborate with other College departments - particularly the full-time programmes in the School of Conservation - making the most of the wide range of specialist knowledge, materials and equipment that is available. The Short Course programme also allows students to access a wide range of visiting tutors and specialist techniques that can further enhance their studies.

West Dean House and Estate offers students access to ambitious exhibition opportunities and unique research material. Students are able to submit site-specific proposals throughout the year. The Edward James Collection is an outstanding resource for full-time students, given them access to a range of significant, even iconic, works of art as an ongoing source of inspiration and research.

The College's Arts and Conservation Library gives students access to thousands of specialist books, journals and databases to support their studies.

The Main House also contains West Dean Tapestry Studio, one of the world's leading producers of hand-woven tapestry. As well as having close contact with the expertise of Master Weavers and designers, students have access to the studio's Dye Rooms, a specialist facility for the dyeing of yarn.

Contact Hours

Teaching

You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical workshops, individual and group tutorials, critique sessions, oral and written presentations, external visits and self-directed research.

On the Graduate Diploma you typically have around 13-14 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 2 hours of lectures
  • 1-2 hours of seminars
  • 2 hours of one-to-one/group tutorials
  • 1 hour of critique sessions
  • 6 hours of practical workshops
  • 1 hour of external visits (on average)

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-directed study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working in the studio
  • developing supporting material and research portfolios
  • undertaking research in the library
  • reading journal articles and books
  • working on specific unit assignments
  • preparing presentations and self-assessments.

Overall workload

Graduate Diploma: 40% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 480 hours
Independent learning: 720 hours

Programme Structure

Programme Structure

Entry Requirements

  • A qualification equivalent to a second year of successful undergraduate study e.g. HND, DipHE
  • A relevant Foundation Degree in Fine Art or related subject
  • Portfolio: presenting a concise overview of the development and current focus of your practice, including sketchbooks, journals and an example of written work
  • English language: CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) Level 2 or IELTS.

Fees

Course fees are the same for UK and international students

  • £3,600 per term (£10,800 per year)

Includes 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. Find out more

Student Scholarships and Bursaries

Approximately 60% of students receive some form of funding. ​Find out more

Find out more about funding opportunities

Exhibition opportunities

Each year students stage a series of public exhibitions, including an annual fundraising exhibition and the celebrated Summer Shows that are held at the College and in London. Through these students develop skills in the requirements of exhibition management, such as production, installation and marketing. View the 2019 Summer Show Gallery

As well as being encouraged to exhibit externally, both locally and nationally, during their studies students also have the unique opportunity to propose installations within West Dean House, as part of the annual Arts & Craft Festival, to build upon their existing practices and enhance their professional profile. Project proposals are encouraged to reflect the rich heritage of West Dean and the legacy of College founder Edward James. See the 2018 installations

Artists in Residence Programme

The Artist-in-Residence programme sees a series of professional artists living and working onsite, amongst Visual Arts students. They offer tutorial sessions with students as well as public presentations on the work produced during the residency and their wider practice.

Find out more

"The space in the studios at West Dean and the opportunity to do such large-scale work is unique. There's amazing space here - it blows my mind!"

Emma Rimer, Graduate Diploma student

School of Arts blog

Banner Culture at the British Textile Biennial 2019

A banner made during a workshop at West Dean College is currently on exhibition as part of the British Textile Biennial 2019. Banner Culture presents a retrospective history of protest in the UK, from traditional processional banners from heritage collections to contemporary DIY messages from local campaign groups. The exhibition is open in the iconic Brierfield Mill, Lancashire, from 3rd... Find out more

Visual Arts MA Show 2019

The MA Show 2019 showcases artworks by graduating students from the Visual Arts MA programme at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. The free exhibition, held in the College's Edward James Studios, will display painting, sculpture and textiles from Emma Hurst, Dennis Joroen and Emma Straw.

Preview: Thursday 12 September, 5-7pm Open: Friday 13 September - Sunday 15 September... Find out more

Visual Arts Exhibit in Margate

The Visual Arts programmes were recently showcased with an exhibition on Margate seafront, hosted by a brand new space, Artgame, a short walk from Turner Contemporary. This was the latest iteration of the 'external' show staged by West Dean Visual Arts - including work from graduating students from the Graduate Diploma and MFA programmes - which have in previous years taken place in various... Find out more

Finalist for Prestigious Australian Tapestry Award

by Emma Straw, student

Every two years the Australian Tapestry Workshop announces an open call, The Kate Derum and Irene Davies Award for Emerging Tapestry Artists. When the award was announced earlier this year I had just completed the Creative Research Strategies module on the MA Visual Arts programme here at West Dean College; the research module gave me access to the extensive... Find out more

Meet the Artists - West Dean Summer Show 2019

The West Dean Summer Show 2019 will showcase original work by emerging artists studying for their Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts, Graduate Diploma and MFA qualifications. The free exhibition, held in the College's Edward James Studios, will display a diverse range of practices including sculpture, installation, print, painting, film, ceramics, and textiles. The Visual Arts students... Find out more

Delve into School of Arts department news, events, and student and staff work on the School of Arts blog.

Tutors

David Stent

Visual Arts Subject Leader, Dr. David R J Stent is an artist, writer, curator and musician. His diverse practice draws on various media including drawing, photography, digital and print publishing, film and video, sonic and sculptural installation.

Philip Sanderson

Philip Sanderson studied both at Middlesex University and the Royal College of Art before joining the Professional Tapestry Studio at West Dean College in 1993, and his current role is as a Master Weaver Designer. Philip has designed tapestries for numerous clients, notably for the New Parliamentary Buildings in Westminster.

Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is a Subject Tutor on the full-time Fine Art programmes and Curatorial Assistant in the College's Collections Department. She is a practicing artist, performer, and composer with a long standing interest in alternative modes of living, creative agency, and acts of resistance.

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:

Friday 6 December 2019

Register your place and find out more