Press release: 100 new short courses announced for Spring and Summer at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Is 2019 the Year of Creativity?

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation encourages you to focus on self-development and experience a new skill in 2019, with the launch in early January of more than 400 Spring/Summer 2019 Short Courses. More than 100 new courses, with 30 new tutors, have been introduced, ranging from Animation Studio - develop a creative project to mammal taxidermy.

Course trends for 2019 see a strong emphasis on the environment with Creative papermaking with natural colours with artist and papermaker Julie Ponsford and Making ceramic glazes from found materials with environmental potter Miranda Forrest. Students will be encouraged to use their senses in a totally different way by tutor/composer Jez riley French through 'Field recording' - the art of located sound.

Vibrant coloured glass is combined to create Glass-kiln striped vases and coasters with designer-maker Aline Johnson. Across mediums, colour is ever-important this year, whether trying your hand at indigo dyeing or Painting, colour and expressionism, exploring intense colour with tutor Nick Bodimeade. Weaving will come to the forefront with a variety of courses such as Willow basketmaking - beyond the basics with acclaimed contemporary basket maker Mary Butcher.

West Dean is known for its award-winning garden and landscape, so there is no surprise that there are courses relating to gardening, photography and painting outdoors as well as those inspired by the surrounding flora; whether it be through painting, flower arranging or textiles. Courses include Connecting landscape to practice - for artists, writers and makers with Katie Sollohub, Botanical photography with Kevin Dutton and a Garden design masterclass with garden designer and TV presenter James Alexander-Sinclair.

Alison Baxter, Head of School of Arts, commented: "Whether you are inspired to try something new this season or want to transform your practice learning new techniques and exploring new ideas, the courses at West Dean offer a huge variety of choice. With courses ranging from experimental printmaking to weaving willow baskets, the College offers the opportunity to learn traditional and contemporary arts and crafts in fully-equipped professional studios. For some, a short course can set them on the pathway to further study such as the part-time Foundation degree, Diploma in Art and Contemporary Craft, or even an MFA - it is never too late to explore a new career or develop a life-long ambition and these courses are a wonderful starting point."

West Dean College is the perfect place to escape to. It is situated in the beautiful surroundings of the West Sussex countryside and there is the opportunity to stay in historic West Dean House, home to the College. Edward James, the Surrealist patron and poet, founded the College, ensuring his beautiful house and estate would support crafts education for future generations.

The courses are open to everybody (over the age of 16 years) from the complete beginner to seasoned practitioner, who can learn to create, craft and grow under the tuition of expert professionals in their fields. Prices start from £83 upwards.

Not only does West Dean have 1-7 day courses, from beginner to advanced levels, they also have summer schools aka creative retreats! So if you are looking for a different type of break this summer, courses vary from The art of play - making automata and narrative sculpture with Rachel Larkins to Woven tapestry as sculptural forms and objects with Cos Ahmet. You get the opportunity to stay in the magnificent house and meet new people; you can attend talks, have an afternoon taster session of another course taking place at the same time, take advantage of the wonderful 240 acres grounds and even pop into nearby Chichester to visit the world-famous Chichester Festival Theatre or visit Pallant House Gallery.

As part of the College's commitment to provide access to education in the creative arts they offer bursaries to people who cannot afford to study on a short course. Bursaries come from their own funds and the support of generous donations from a number of trusts and individuals. They also offer 50% bursaries to art teachers and lecturers at schools, FE and HE institutions.
For full details of each course and to browse the latest digital brochure, please visit

The full Spring/Summer 2019 range of courses will be live online in early January and more details available to media now by request. Bookings can be made online or by calling +44 (0)1243 818300. Gift vouchers of £10, £25, £50 or £100 can be used as full or part payment towards a short course.

Notes to Editors:

  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the 'the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century'.
  • The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio. All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within 
easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

For all media enquiries please contact:
Rachel Aked
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 07790 732448
West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ