Short Courses

A centre of excellence and creativity

Learn new skills or nurture existing talents under the guidance of expert tutors. Choose from over 700 creative short courses from Scuplture to Printmaking engaging subjects tailored for your ability, from beginner to advanced.

Take advantage of our fully equipped workshops and studios, with a pottery, forge, fine-metals workshop, spacious art studios, a sculpture courtyard and a stone carving workshop. The historic house setting and award-winning gardens promise a stimulating environment.

Immerse yourself in creativity for a day, a week or a weekend.

“The best course I have ever attended - challenging, supportive, well-structured and presented by a world class tutor. I have never learned so much in such as short space of time. ”

Caroline, Italics - basics, flourish and experimental

Release your creativity this autumn

Back to school doesn't have to be just for the kids, grab a fresh sketchbook and learn a new skill on a short course this month. Many courses are inspired by the rich colours and landscapes of the season, and you'll take home ideas, techniques and your finished artwork or handmade item to treasure.

Late availability - Take a look at last minute places on art and craft courses this month and next.

One day courses - You'll be amazed at what you can achieve in just one day. If you're already thinking ahead to the gifting season, many November and December courses have a festive theme.

Mexican Week

21-25 October 2018

Let the vibrant colours and patterns of Mexico energise your ideas and creations on a week-long course. From designing clothing with Mexican panache, to sculptural artworks and silk painting, immerse yourself in a rich and exciting culture.

Inspired by College founder Edward James' love of Mexico, this themed week also offers talks from tutors revealing their current practice. All tutors either live in Mexico or create work influenced by the country.

Discover Mexican Week courses

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD)

Develop your portfolio of art and design skills for entry onto a related degree programme. The FDAD includes 10 short courses during which you will create a rich and varied portfolio of work. The course will help you ensure your portfolio reflects your talents and areas of interest and focus on your future career aspirations.

Turn your passion into a career path

"The excellent teaching pushed us beyond expectations; individual advice was very helpful as was being in such a beautiful setting."

Kathy Attawell, Beginners watercolours

Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (DACC)

The West Dean College Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts is a two year part-time programme delivered through intensive study blocks throughout the year, through attending short courses to develop skills and through independent study outside attendance at the College. The programme is focused on developing skills essential to the successful development of a sustainable studio practice, both practical and contextual.

Learn more

Residential accommodation

Stay and dine with us

Make your creative experience truly immersive by staying with us during your course. As a residential student you can choose a traditional or more modern room, and wake up to the characterful charm of this period property set in acres of parkland.

Start the day with a traditional English or continental breakfast in the bright and airy dining room. For lunch and dinner, you will find a tempting new menu each day, with two seasonal hot dishes, salad bar and a range of puddings. Dinner on the first night and lunch through out your courses is included in your course price. Breakfast and dinner are included in your stay.

Escape to West Dean College

Foundation Diploma in Tapestry Weaving

The Foundation Diploma in Tapestry Weaving is awarded in recognition of the successful completion of the two year, part-time programme of six, three-day units, self-directed study and making, and a final 1500 word essay. It aims to offer tapestry weavers a broad insight into the technical and creative techniques of tapestry weaving, necessary for developing skills and building your own creative language. It is aimed at weavers who have completed a beginners' course at West Dean College or elsewhere, and are looking to commit to an extended and intensive programme of study.

Learn more

Gift vouchers

Give the gift of creativity with a West Dean College gift voucher

Treat a creative friend or a loved one to a gift voucher. Give the gift of creativity and the chance to learn a new skill while making something to wear, use or display proudly in the home or garden.

You can buy £10, £25, £50 or £100 vouchers, which can be used for full or part payment of a course.

Buy your vouchers from
or 01243 818300. You can also request vouchers from Reception.

Find out how to book and redeem your vouchers

Events and Talks

Escape the everyday

Listen to a concert or recital, pick up some top tips at a garden talk or enjoy a day out for the whole family.

View the complete event calendar

Conservation short courses

Refresh your skills and update your knowledge of developments in materials, techniques and current practice through continuing professional development in conservation. Ideal for conservators, our conservation short courses are made up of Building Conservation Masterclasses and Object and Materials Conservation courses.

Learn more about Conservation CPD

School of Creative Arts

Short courses are part of the School of Creative Arts, which also offers full-time programmes in Visual Arts from Foundation to Postgraduate Diplomas, MA and MFA. Within this rich, immersive environment the vision of founder and Surrealist patron Edward James connects today's students with a rich heritage of art.

Learn more about the School of Creative Arts

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Help preserve our future

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.

Find out how you can help support us