Arts students can expect fully equipped workshops and studios with specialist areas and plenty of natural light. Full-time students also have a dedicated workspace, with access seven days a week, 8.30am to 10pm.

Visual Arts student facilities

All full-time Visual Arts students are provided with a large individual workspace in the Edward James Studios. There are specialist spaces dedicated to Painting and Drawing, Sculpture and Tapestry and Textile-based work. The studios also include a Seminar Room, bookable exhibition and research spaces, plus 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.

  • Large dedicated studios with plenty of natural light
  • Materials and tools store, photographic darkroom and print room
  • Exhibition, performance and research spaces
  • Design and film editing software
  • Sculpture courtyard
  • Studio dedicated to interdisciplinary tapestry and textile art
  • Access to the Dye Room, a specialist facility for the dying of yarn

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 and are encouraged to take part in the annual Open House event. The Edward James Collection is an outstanding resource for full-time students, giving you access to a range of significant, even iconic, works of art as an ongoing source of inspiration and research.

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 gives you access to a wide range of visiting tutors and specialist techniques to further enhance your 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. Find out more about the professional Tapestry Studio here.

Making Stringed Musical Instruments

In the purpose-built workshop, you will have your own workbench and storage for personal tools and equipment. Specialist facilities include a separate machine shop and varnishing room. You can also use the historic Music Room to practise and play your finished instruments.

Short course students

You will benefit from a wide range of workshops and studios, including a pottery, forge, fine-metals workshop, light and airy art studios, a sculpture courtyard and a stone carving workshop. All are well-equipped with relevant tools and equipment. On booking a short course you will receive a list of any materials and equipment you will need to bring with you.

Tutors are practicing professionals and student numbers on each course are limited so that you benefit from individual tuition and one-to-one time. Open exchange of ideas and group sessions encourage sharing of ideas with other students and new creative possibilities. Some courses, for example Summer Schools and themed courses, include swap over sessions and talks by other tutors.

Craft Shop

During your course you can pick up a variety of supplies at our on-site Craft Shop, which is open 8.30am - 2pm, 7 days a week. It is stocked with fine art supplies and craft materials as well as a variety of art and craft books and greetings cards, all from West Dean College tutors. Art materials include oil and watercolour paints, specialist brushes and papers and craft materials range from pottery tools to sewing needles and threads. You can find both major and local brands including handmade papers and sketchbooks by Khardi, made at a local paper mill in Chilgrove just minutes from the College. You can also browse bespoke West Dean College notebooks and a range of aprons, stationery and ceramics by designer Sue Timney.


The dedicated Art and Conservation Library gives you access to over 10,000 books, journals and DVDs. There is a local interest section and a general reference area. The online catalogue is available throughout the workshops, computer suite and the library itself.

Also available is a library homepage which provides access to a number of online databases, archives and other useful sources. An Inter-Library loan service is offered for any material that is not available in the library and students also have access to the University of Chichester Library and Chichester Library alongside other specialist libraries in the area.

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