Fine Art

BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place

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Applications open
Duration: 6 academic years part time
School: Arts
Location: West Dean
Scholarships and bursaries: See available funding

This pioneering low residency programme is designed for the student who is ambitious about developing their studio practice, wants to maintain a sustained engagement with an artistic community but whose life and work demands flexibility.

The whole BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place course is 6 years part-time study, however flexibility is offered through a number of stepping on and off points, depending on your individual circumstances, prior experience, qualifications, needs and aspirations.
 

BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place
validated by University of Sussex
HE Certificate HE Diploma BA (Hons)
2-years part-time 4-years part-time 6-years part-time

Experiment with a range of

materials and processes whilst

expanding your contextual

knowledge.

Consolidate your practice, making the most of the unique setting of West Dean. Refine your ideas and work toward a public exhibition of work, preparing you for life as an artist.

 

Course structure

BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place runs 2-4 years (part-time) consisting of 10 three-day study blocks per academic year + online tutorials support. Learn more about the course structure, delivery and entry requirements.

Course structure and delivery

Course structure
The BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft explores the rich intersections between Fine Art practice and contemporary craft, offering you the opportunity to develop material knowledge whilst exploring new and innovative approaches to studio practice.

The course uniquely honours conceptual and material approaches, embracing traditional techniques and experimentation, enabling you to gain an advanced, in-depth understanding of your work and its related contexts. As well as celebrating interdisciplinary approaches to making, the programme teaches an integrated approach to art and craft theory, enabling you to explore ideas within a critical framework whilst generating a rigorous professional profile.

You can work across disciplines or choose to specialise in a set of key practices, including Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, Ceramics, Textiles, subjects that have a longstanding history at West Dean College. The outstanding location and rich cultural heritage of West Dean is a central feature of the programme, offering a unique setting in which to explore the crossovers between contemporary art and craft, and the role of the radical imagination in both local and global contexts.

Within the programme, students can opt to undertake the following qualifications: Certificate of Higher Education and the Diploma of Higher Education. Please get in touch to discuss options and find out which programme of study is right for you.

Course delivery
The curriculum is delivered through 10 three-day intensive blocks of study taken each year, attendance of short courses, and monthly tutorials with specialist tutors. Course modules cover a programme of critical, practical and theoretical studies across the broad field of contemporary arts and crafts. Visiting teaching staff from different specialisms will support you in the development of your skills. Residential modules are supported by self-directed study offsite, and written assignments.

What you'll study

Practical (70% of the course)

  • You will attend a wide range of workshops, developing both material and contextual knowledge
  • We’ll set projects that provide unique opportunity to work with the location and legacy of West Dean
  • Your work will become increasing more self-directed as you move through the programme, and you’ll graduate with an independent studio practice
  • You’ll receive access to six-days of the West Dean short course programme per year to help you further advance your skills

Theoretical (20% of the course)

  • You will gain advanced knowledge of relevant historical and theoretical contexts to inform the development of your creative practice
  • You’ll receive guidance on essay writing from academic staff and dedicated support tutors

Professional (10% of the course)

  • You’ll have opportunities to display work in various contexts
  • You’ll learn how you communicate your work to a range of audiences
  • We’ll provide guidance on a range professional practice opportunities
  • You’ll have access to a range of artists talks and the College’s residency programme
  • We’ll support the development of transferable skills such as self-management, communication, collaboration, digital technology, and research skills

Contact hours

On the BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft you will receive around 21 contact hours during the study blocks, typically consisting of:

  • 2 hours of lectures
  • 5 hours of seminars
  • 1 hours of one-to-one or group tutorials
  • 6 hours of critique sessions or external visits
  • 7 hours of practical workshops

Independent learning
Outside of the study blocks you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-directed study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working in your studio, or equivalent
  • developing supporting material and research portfolios
  • undertaking research
  • reading journal articles and books
  • working on specific unit assignments
  • preparing presentations and self-assessments

Overall workload per year
BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: 40% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 250 hours
Independent learning: 350 hours

term dates

Course structure for HE Diploma and HE Certificate

HE Diploma Art & Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making And Place
Duration: 2-4 years (part-time) consisting of 10 three-day study blocks per academic year + online tutorials support.

Course structure
The HE Diploma in Art and Contemporary Craft celebrates the unique setting of West Dean, with materials workshops designed to engage with the landscape, as well as a broader engagement with place in contemporary art and craft practice. The programme will advance your engagement with project-based activity and support you to move toward self-directed study.

The outstanding location and rich cultural heritage of West Dean is a central feature of the programme, offering a unique setting in which to explore the crossovers between contemporary art and craft, landscape, place, and socially engaged practice.

On completion, students can either select to receive a Diploma of Higher Education or progress on to the BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft, or the one year full-time Graduate Diploma programme.

HE Certificate Art & Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making And Place
Duration: 2 years (part-time) consisting of 10 three-day study blocks per academic year + online tutorials support.

Course structure
The HE Cert is based around a series of workshops and projects designed to develop your material knowledge whilst providing a comprehensive taught programme of art and craft history and contemporary practices. It will increase your confidence, develop your contextual and conceptual knowledge, and prepare you for further study or independent practice.

The programme is designed to introduce you to a range of disciplines, including Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, Ceramics, Textiles – all subjects and materials that have a longstanding history at West Dean College. The theoretical components of the course are taught through practice, with the application of the ideas explored in lectures and seminars applied in workshops and through the development of material knowledge.

On completion, students can either select to receive a Certificate of Higher Education or progress on to the Diploma of Higher Education.

Eilis O'Connell sculpture in West Dean Gardens

Why study Art and Contemporary Craft

  • The programme provides an innovative part-time study option for the student whose life and work demands flexibility
  • You will study and make art in a stimulating, supportive, dynamic, and intellectually ambitious environment
  • You will benefit from a low student:tutor ratio and be supported by staff who are practicing artists and industry professionals
  • We will support you to explore a range of skills, from traditional crafts to innovative new approaches to making
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of historical and contemporary contexts, whilst developing your understanding of how they inform your own work
  • You’ll be supported to refine a self-directed studio practice and to understand how your work contributes to your chosen field of study, preparing you for further study or a career in the arts
     

A unique learning environment

Japanese ceramics short course with Shozo Michikawa in the West Dean Pottery Studio

Facilities

All part-time BA students are provided with workspaces in the Carrington Studios, with access from 8.30am-9pm during the study blocks. Other facilities in the studios include:

  • Materials and tool store
  • IT suite with digital editing software
  • Self-contained Print Room
  • Seminar room
  • Specialist Arts and Conservation Library

Access to short courses
Part-time Art and Contemporary Craft students receive 6-days of West Dean short courses per year as part of the programme. In addition, students can book short courses with a 50% discount, and can join last minute places free of charge (subject to availability, material fees may apply).

See more of our Arts Facilities
RESOLVE Collective at West Dean College 2021

Artists in Residence

The Artist-in-Residence programme sees a series of professional artists living and working onsite, amongst students. They offer tutorial sessions with students as well as public presentations on the work produced during the residency and their wider practice.

Artist in Residence
Phoebe Connolly Degree Show 2019

Careers and alumni

The Art and Contemporary Craft programme's opens up a range of career options, and the programme’ professional practice delivery ensures that students are well equipped to find and apply for suitable opportunities. Students graduating from West Dean have gone on to develop careers as professional self-employed artists, selling their work through galleries, online, and working to commissions.

West Dean alumni have also gone on to successful careers in the creative sector, working in galleries or in museums and heritage. These roles can include ‘behind the scenes’ positions such as curating and management, or public facing roles such as education, outreach and engagement. Student have also gone on to teaching roles at a variety of levels, from workshops to Higher Education.

Read our alumni profiles
School of Art Credit Thom Atkinson.jpg

School of Arts

Explore and expand your work in a uniquely immersive environment with its own connections to art history. Our School of Arts students enjoy specialist studio spaces dedicated to painting and drawing, sculpture and tapestry and textile-based work as well as exceptional exhibition space.

School of Arts

Fees and funding

Course fees for the BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place

  • £1,916.6 per term (£5,750 per academic year)

Lunch for part time BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place students is £312 per academic year, accommodation and other living expenses are additional Find out more

A £250 course fee is required to secure your place. Details will be provided to you in your offer. Fees are billed termly in advance. Please see the Terms and Conditions for further information.

Funding 

 

Scholarships and Bursaries are available, based on individual needs.

Find out more about funding

Entry requirements

Entering at BA (Hons)

For current West Dean DACC students or DACC alumni.

Entering at HE Diploma

Completion of a Level 4 qualification, including: HE Certificate in Art and Contemporary Craft; Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design; West Dean Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD) with Level 4 equivalent portfolio; SELT CEFR level B2 or IELTS 6.0 overall.

Entering at HE Certificate

UCAS 120 tariff points; completion of a Level 3 qualification, including Foundation Diploma in Art and Design;  West Dean Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD); or equivalent portfolio;  SELT CEFR level B2 or IELTS 6.0 overall.

How to apply

Applications for this course can be made by submitting a completed application form and emailing it to: [email protected].

Any questions?
Email [email protected]; call us on: (01243) 818 300 and select option 1, or read more about our Admissions processes.

Application form

Tutors

Sarah Hughes Tutor at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Sarah Hughes

Programme Coordinator - BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft
Subject Tutor - Fine Art

Sarah Hughes is the Programme Coordinator for the BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft, and a subject tutor on our Fine Art programmes. Sarah, is an artist and composer with an interest in spatial practice.

George Charman teaching at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

George Charman

Subject Tutor - Fine Art & Art and Contemporary Craft

George Charman is an artist and lecturer based in London who teaches on the GD and MFA programmes at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Charman's practice-led research focuses on embodied social knowledge, exploring connections between dialogic social experiences and physical sensation in modes of creative production/fabrication.

Michelle Ussher - Tutor at West Dean College

Michelle Ussher

Subject Tutor - BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft
Short Course Tutor

Michelle Ussher is a transdisciplinary artist working across painting, textiles, ceramics, text, sound, and performance. Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne in 2002, Ussher's work has been exhibited in the UK, Italy, Switzerland, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. In 2021 she completed an MA in Aesthetics and Art Theory, supervised by Catherine Malabou at the Centre of Research in European Philosophy, Kingston University. 

Melanie Rose

Subject Tutor - BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft
Subject Tutor - Online Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Short Course Tutor

Dr Melanie Rose explores landscape and place through painting. Working with traditional materials, sympathetic to the environment, her current focus is the landscape set within the bounds of the South Downs National Park, which forms the heart of her PhD research.