West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has an international reputation as a centre of excellence for the Creative Arts and Conservation. Across the Schools of Arts and Conservation, the role of research is essential in underpinning the College's academic ambitions. It helps West Dean to be at the forefront of the specialisms it supports, positively impacting it as a teaching and learning environment. Research projects are key to establishing new and innovative practices. They emphasise the importance of skills-based making and conservation, as well as demonstrating the value and scope of interdisciplinary collaboration. Research at the College not only benefits students, staff and specialist audiences but also wider academic communities and the public.
The College is privileged to be on a site of historic significance, concerning both the heritage of the West Dean Estate and its more recent associations, with the life and work of its founder, Edward James. As a small specialist college, its core concern is the practice, history and theories of creative arts and conservation practice. Both the Schools of Arts and Conservation characterise the academic infrastructure and support the College in both discipline-specific and interdisciplinary discourse and development. West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is dedicated to supporting research in and across the subject areas of conservation, making, fine art and creative writing, as well as engaging with the wider research community, both nationally and internationally.