The Graduate Diploma in Fine Art is a one-year interdisciplinary programme designed to provide a route into postgraduate study. As a concentrated form of an undergraduate degree, the programme gives graduates of other disciplines the opportunity to transfer existing skills to the study of Fine Arts. As you progress through the programme, you can work across disciplines or choose to specialise in areas such as Painting and Drawing, Sculpture, or Tapestry and Textile Art.
Studio Work units run continuously throughout the academic year as the core of the Graduate Diploma programme, informed and enhanced by additional theoretical and professional units.
A variety of materials-based workshops are undertaken in the first semester, focused by critical engagement with the Ronald Lee Archive, a unique archival resource of visual and material culture that promotes the production of new artworks for a 'pop-up' exhibition.
A series of lectures and seminars introduces Philosophical Aesthetics and supports the writing of a critical essay.
The second semester incorporates Contextual and Professional Research, helping students to situate their own practices in a historical and contemporary context. The year culminates in a Summer Show open to the public.
You can expect
Learn more about the course structure of each semester and the breakdown of study blocks.
|Semester 1 (18 weeks)|
|Study block 1||Formative review||Study block 2|
Unit VA G1B
|Unit VA G1B
Introduction to Philosophical Aesthetics
Unit VA G1C
Studio work 1
|Semester 2 (18 weeks)|
|Study block 3||Formative review||Study block 4|
Unit VA G3A
Contextual and Professional Research
Unit VA G3C
Studio work 2 (summer show)
You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical workshops, individual and group tutorials, critique sessions, oral and written presentations, external visits and self-directed research.
On the Graduate Diploma you typically have around 13-14 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:
When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-directed study. Typically, this will involve:
Graduate Diploma: 40% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 480 hours
Independent learning: 720 hours
Each year students stage a series of public exhibitions, including an annual fundraising exhibition and the celebrated Summer Shows that are held at the College and in London. Through these students develop skills in the requirements of exhibition management, such as production, installation and marketing.
The West Dean Summer Show offers an opportunity for students on our Graduate Diploma and MFA qualifications to showcase their talents in a diverse range of practices including sculpture, installation, print, painting, film, ceramics, and textiles.
The Artist-in-Residence programme sees a series of professional artists living and working onsite, amongst Visual Arts students. They offer tutorial sessions with students as well as public presentations on the work produced during the residency and their wider practice.
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.
Course fees are the same for UK and international students
Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional. Find out more
A £250 course fee and £200 accommodation deposit (if residential) 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.
Scholarships and bursaries are available from £2,500.
If you are a UK/EU student you may be eligible to apply for a Student Loan (tuition fees and/or maintenance loans) from the Student Loans Company.
If you only wish to apply to West Dean, please contact [email protected] for an application form. If you are applying for more than one institution, please apply through UCAS.
Commendations from the University of Sussex include:
"The high quality student experience and strength of student representation within the College."
"The changes to units so they draw on and make use of specific collections within the archive."
"The linking of theory and practice, and delivery of theory by studio technicians."
As she heads into her second year on the MFA programme, Chantal New reflects on her experiences on the programme so far, including the significance of receiving a bursary to fund her studies.
Insights into the practice of MFA student Philippa Clarke My ongoing research focuses on the areas where art and agriculture come together. By paying attention to this intersection, I aim to prompt questions about farming, food production, and the way we regard rural life.
By Robin Bray-Hurren, MFA student Law Quilt was a response to some of the materials from the Edward James Archive, where Edward James was writing about homosexuality, morality, and the law, including a description of a friends' experience of police entrapment and subsequent court case in LA in the late 1950s. There were so many potential places to take work in response to ...
By Dr. David Stent, Fine Art Subject Leader At the beginning of the year, through the support of Mary Dalton (printmaker and West Dean Short Course Tutor), it came to our attention in the Fine Art department that there was a possibility of a floor-standing etching press being donated to us. Without knowing any further details, we expressed our interest in adding to the existing printmaking f...
Earlier this Spring, current Fine Art Graduate Diploma student Phoebe Connolly was awarded the prestigious Cherryburn commission and residency, supported by The National Trust and The Society of Wood Engravers. Holding off strong competition, Phoebe secured the chance to spend time at the Northumberland birthplace of renowned artist, wood engraver and naturalist, Thomas Bewick, over a period of...
By Dr. David Stent, Fine Art Subject Leader Last month the Fine Art students and a few staff members visited the New Art Centre at Roche Court, East Winterslow, Wiltshire. As part of Professional and Contextual Research study units, the students were tasked with writing a critical review of the current temporary exhibition, Psychotropics, curated by Iwona Blazwick (Director of the ...
Subject Leader - Fine Art
Dr David Stent is an artist, writer, curator and performer. His practice has drawn on various media, from drawing and painting to film, video, sonic and sculptural installation. He holds a PhD in Fine Art from the University of Reading, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Subject Tutor - Tapestry, Fine Art
Studio Leader - West Dean Tapestry Studio
Philip Sanderson is Leader of the Professional Tapestry Studio and a Subject Tutor on the MFA in Fine Art. He is also the Tutor for the Tapestry Foundation Diploma and a short course tutor. During his time at West Dean Philip has translated the work of a number of artists into large-scale tapestries including Marta Rogoyska, John Hubbard, Tracy Emin, and Eva Rothschild.
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.
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.
Subject Tutor - Fine Art
Jon K Shaw is a writer, editor and educator based in southeast London. He teaches in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London; City & Guilds of London Art School; and West Dean College of Arts and Conservation.