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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
You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, external trips and visits, work placement and workshop practicals. In addition, you have personal tutorials with your subject tutor.
On the Postgraduate Diploma you typically have around 15-16 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.
Postgraduate Diploma: 47% of your time is spent
in scheduled teaching and learning activity.
Scheduled teaching and learning: 565 hours, Independent learning: 635 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.
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.
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.
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.
The deadline for Conservation of Books and Library
Materials applications for 2018 entry is
1 February 2018.
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
"I'm currently studying for the MA, Conservation of Books and Library Materials. I found my time here really valuable and particularly enjoyed being able to work on objects from places such as the Admiralty Library and all the objects in general we've been given to work on. The external links have been really beneficial; I was able to utilise my tutor's links with the British Library and that secured me a place in January for my work placement.
Recently I have been accepted to work for Parliamentary Archives which will be located in the Houses of Parliament. Hopefully I'll be working on a lot of parchment including Acts and Bills that have passed through parliament and are now currently in the Act Room, including the death warrant of Charles 1 which will be really interesting. I will probably be doing a lot of conservation treatment of objects like that and doing some re-housing, as well as exhibition loan work and travelling to other museums."
Postgraduate Diploma/MA Conservation Studies
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.