Short Courses

Over 800 creative short courses

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation offers over 800 courses, tailored for all levels of ability, and ranging from a day, a weekend, or a whole week.

Learn new skills, or nurture existing talents, under the guidance of expert tutors in our fully equipped workshops and studios, including a pottery, a forge, a fine-metals workshop, spacious art studios, a sculpture courtyard and a stone carving workshop.

To top it off, our historic house and award-winning gardens promise to provide an inspiring setting for your unforgettable creative experience.

"A renowned arts school in a beautiful 19th-century house and gardens in West Sussex." - The Guardian: Christmas gift guide: 20 great travel experiences

Please see our latest information on coronavirus here.

Book something out of the ordinary

Why not treat yourself - or a friend - to a new creative experience? Many of our short courses are inspired by 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 in the next few weeks.

One day courses - you'll be amazed at what you can achieve in just one day.

Useful information and how to book

View all courses

“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

Arts and Craft Summer Schools

"One of the 10 best creative retreats in the UK and Europe", The Guardian, January 2019

Treat yourself to a creative retreat in the height of summer and immerse yourself in the discovery of a new skill or to develop your practice, surrounded by expert tutors and likeminded students.  

Special features:

  • Try out one of the other courses in a swap over session
  • Evening tutor talks and displays of their work
  • Yoga class, swimming pool and tennis courts to enjoy
  • See inside the hisotoric State Rooms on a house tour
  • Optional evening theatre trip
  • End of course celebration and dinner in one of the State Rooms.
See all Summer School courses

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

Kathy Attawell, Beginners watercolours

Accommodation and Dining

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.

Accommodation at the College

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

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

Conservation short courses

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

Find out more about Conservation Short Courses and Masterclasses

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.

Find out more


If you are a potential student who wishes to develop your skills, but are unable to afford to study on a short course, you may be eligible for a bursary.

As part of our commitment to provide access to education in the creative arts we offer bursaries for short course in arts, music and textiles as well as to support study on the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts programmes.

Read more about short course bursaries

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

Upcoming events

The Chilingirian Quartet Concert
Saturday 18 April, 8pm
Fine Art Talk - Coco Crampton
Wednesday 29 April, 5:30-7pm

School of Arts

Short courses are part of the School of 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 Arts

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