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School of Arts

A centre of excellence and creative possibility

Be challenged and exposed to a stimulating mix of ideas and knowledge in the immersive environment of the School of Arts. Study options range from short courses (from beginner to advanced) to Foundation and Graduate Diplomas, and the MFA.

The School has a strong practical as well as academic focus. Those on a full-time programme will develop advanced making and craft skills appropriate to their discipline and undertake original theoretical and contextual research to inform practice. Short course students will learn new skills and techniques or nurture existing talents.

The vision of founder and Surrealist patron Edward James connects today's students with a rich heritage of art. Students have the opportunity to engage with site-specific subjects, individual objects or references to the College's history relating to Edward James, Surrealism and beyond.

Benefit from an artistic community and inspiring rural setting, conducive to focused study. Close proximity to the historic city of Chichester means access to local cultural activities such as the famous Chichester Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery, which holds one of the most significant collections of Modern British Art. Further afield galleries and arts venues in Brighton (36 miles) and London (60 miles) are easily accessible. 

MFA - Blended Delivery

MFA Craft Practices at West Dean

MFA Craft Practices

MA in Creative Writing and Publishing Credit: Chris Ison

MA Creative Writing & Publishing

Graduate Diploma Fine Art

Students in a creative writing tutorial at West Dean

Graduate Diploma Creative Writing

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

BA (Hons) Craft Practices

Foundation Degree Arts - Books and Binding

Foundation Degree Arts - Clocks

Foundation Degree Arts - Furniture

Foundation Degree Arts - Metalwork

Foundation Degree Arts – Musical Instruments

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Foundation Diploma in Ceramics

Foundation Diploma in Tapestry Weaving

Online Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design

Certificate in Crime Writing Course West Dean

Certificate in Crime Writing

Fiction Writing Short Course at West Dean

Certificate in Fiction Writing

Certificate Writing Short Course at West Dean

Certificate in Life Writing


Large art studios for MFA students at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Study in fully equipped workshops and studios, with plenty of natural light and your own dedicated workspace. The onsite craft shop is open to students for supplies and all students have access to the specialist Arts and Conservation Library and the computer suite. Each subject area then has specialist facilities and equipment.

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West Dean Summer Show 2022. Pictured work by Ruth Heaton.

West Dean Fine Art Summer Show

The West Dean Fine Art Summer Show showcases original work by emerging artists studying for their Graduate Diploma and MFA qualifications. The free exhibition, held in the College’s Edward James Studios, displayed a diverse range of practices including sculpture, installation, print, painting, film, ceramics, and textiles.

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Student case studies

Hear from current and past students on their experiences at the College, what it's like to live and study here and more about the subjects they studied.

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Alec Stevens, Maker-in-Residence 2020


The West Dean College residency programme provides professional artists, writers, makers, and researchers the opportunity to work onsite for a period of one to three weeks. Resident artists engage with students studying at the College, providing tutorial support, leading workshops, and giving presentations on their practice.

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West Dean School of Arts Credit-Thom Atkinson

School of Arts

Explore the exceptional facilities, courses, and vibrant student community offered at our prestigious School of Arts.
School of Arts
School of Arts blog news events

Latest news

Discover inspiration, ideas and our latest student stories from our School of Arts
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