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Conservation of Books and Library Materials
An international reputation for book conservation skills.
Working on live projects, you will apply professional book conservation treatments and critical analysis of treatments. Study of historical book structures will entail research in order to make an accurate model of a chosen historical book structure. In Conservation theory and practice you will explore exhibition issues, metal components of books, paper conservation, disaster response and materials science.
You can expect
From the Postgraduate Diploma students often progress to MA Conservation Studies.
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.
"I am working as a book and paper conservator at Temple Bookbinders in Oxford. In my first month alone, I've repaired dust-jackets, prepared books for re-sewing, patched up damaged leather, and re-backed a number of books for a variety of clients.
I know for certain that without the diploma from West Dean College, I would have struggled to get the work I now have, and I have been told by my new employer that the reputation of the college was a significant factor in his decision to take me on."
Benjamin Pointer, Postgraduate Diploma, Conservation of Books and Related Materials
To join the PGDip/MA programme you will need to have a good first degree in Conservation or a closely related field; or have completed a Graduate Diploma in a closely related subject; or demonstrate an equivalent proficiency in basic conservation science, academic skills (research, writing and critical analysis) and practical hand skills, including manual sensitivity and dexterity. Progression to the MA is subject to the successful completion of the first semester and the identification of an appropriate MA project. Students may choose to exit the programme at the Postgraduate Diploma stage.
International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above.
You will work in a purpose-built space for book conservation with two workshops as well as a finishing 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.
New Postgraduate Loans
If you are a UK student and plan to take a postgraduate Master's course you may be able to get a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 to help with course fees and living costs.
Programme Tutor 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.