Student Case Studies

Students share their experiences, talk about the projects they have worked on and what it is like to study at West Dean College.

Visual Arts

"Generous studio space, freedom to experiment, along with expert tuition in the forge, print room and ceramics studio gave me the skills and confidence to realise some ambitious ideas. I have taken advantage of the West Dean College short courses to gain experience with processes and materials that are generally not available through standard university programmes.
The main problem I have encountered is not having enough days in the week and weekend to pursue all the exciting experiences available here. As a result, I have had to schedule rest time into my diary!" Sarah Cliff, Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts

"After studying for a BA in Fine Art, I wanted to further my education and gain more manual skills. West Dean College seemed a perfect choice because of its interdisciplinary teaching and access to workshops and short courses.
My art practice is based on materiality and the variety of teaching available and importance put on making, has been amazing. I have introduced ceramics, textiles and printmaking into my art practice, all because of the access that I have had to real experts in these fields.
I have found the last two years studying at West Dean a stimulating and diverse experience and I know that having an MFA qualification is going to be life changing." Nicole Ferrie, MFA

"West Dean is an amazing place to live and study and I can't recommend the Visual Arts programme highly enough. There are very few colleges where I could combine large scale drawing, feltmaking and blacksmithing during an MFA.
The studio spaces, facilities and tutor support in the Visual Arts Department are world class. Having access to the studios from 8.30am until 10pm, 7 days a week with full technician support, means that I can fully immerse myself in my work and prepare for life as a practicing artist. The connections made with contemporary artists on both the full-time programme and short courses are already proving invaluable for my future prospects as a practicing artist." Kate Boucher, Postgraduate Diploma in Visual Arts

Art and Design

"Undertaking the FDAD course has been a life changing experience for me. Without being awarded the bursary I would have been unable to afford to undertake the course. I feel that I have blossomed with the excellent tutoring at West Dean and am incredibly proud of my progress. I have successfully used this course as a spring board to access undergraduate education and am overjoyed to be leaving permanent employment to become a full-time art student.

Not only have I been taught drawing and painting skills but I have learnt to research and apply techniques to my own work and to believe in myself and my capabilities as an artist. Although I am sad to be leaving West Dean after such a short space of time, I hope to return - potentially for postgraduate studies" Bryony Adams, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

FdA Historic Craft Practices: Musical Instruments

"The level of learning is higher here which is why I and many students from Europe come to West Dean College. We're making in an authentic way, using hand tools, learning about materials, looking at original instruments and building a wide knowledge. We've had specialist trips and access to renowned experts. But what I most enjoy is the pure focus on full-time making and all day workshop access.

Our tutor is a professional well-known instrument maker who teaches us methods to maximise productivity, alongside high level skills. We're all interested in guitars and enjoy the same music, so the workshop is a great environment.

When I graduate I will work first in a violin or cello repair workshop, before going into private practice to focus on making and restoration.

Funding made studying at West Dean possible for me and it has been totally worth it. I applied for bursaries in Holland then, in my second year to The Edward James Foundation at West Dean and private foundations in the UK. I advise any student not to be put off by fees as it is all possible." Fons Vogel, Musical Instruments

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West Dean is part of a registered charity and relies on the support of generous donors, friends, legacies to help us deliver world-class education in conservation and the creative arts and maintain our award-winning gardens.

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