Press Release: NEW Historic Craft Practices Foundation Degree at West Dean College

West Dean College has announced a new two-year Foundation Degree* for students to develop craft skills in conservation, restoration and heritage making. The new FdA Historic Craft Practices means that students can specialise in Clocks, Furniture or Musical Instruments and combine their interest in heritage with practical hands-on skills development. The course, which offers an alternative to the traditional University route to a career, balances practical and academic skills and includes a period of work placement.

On successful completion of the course students will be able to work in a range of heritage craft contexts, as designer-makers or within antiques restoration or heritage conservation. The Foundation Degree will offer a recognised qualification. For those wishing to undertake further study, the course prepares students to progress to a specialist Graduate Diploma at West Dean or other Level 6 qualification such as the final year of a BA degree.

"The arts and crafts underpin the UK's world-leading creative industries sector, which is worth £71.4 billion a year," says Francine Norris, Director of Education at the College. "According to figures the craft sector alone currently employs over 100,000 people while with growth of 10 per cent, the creative sector is outstripping all other industry sectors in terms of recovery."

Past West Dean Graduates have gone on to careers as musical instrument makers, clocks restorers and furniture designer makers. Many work for leading antique dealers and institutions such as the National Trust and major national museums, including the British Museum, the V & A Museum and the National Maritime Museum.

West Dean College has an international reputation for teaching in conservation and the creative arts, including an MA Creative Writing and Publishing*. Other qualifications include Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, MA and MFA and many are validated by the University of Sussex.

To Apply for the new Foundation Degree

Students will need Level 3 qualification, for example A-Levels, BTEC or Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. Applicants will also be considered if they can provide evidence of prior learning with an appropriate portfolio of work. International applicants should provide digital portfolio, evidence of English language to Level B (IELTS 6.0) as well as equivalent Level 3 qualifications.

Funding opportunities and study options are in the full time digital prospectus at West Dean College.


Notes to editors:

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation, an educational charitable trust established in 1964, also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • *Subject to validation
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in attending a short course or event for news or review purposes, high res images or information on filming opportunities should contact the Media Relations Team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

Media contact information

For media accreditation or high-resolution digital images, please contact:

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College and Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ


Help preserve our future

We are part of a registered charity and rely on the support of generous donors, members and legacies to help us deliver world-class education in conservation, design and the creative arts and maintain our award-winning gardens.

Find out how to support us