West Dean Residency Open Call

Open call for applications to the 2024/25 West Dean Residency Programme

Co-ordinated by the School of Arts at West Dean College, our residencies are designed to support artists and writers in developing research projects and studio-based practices. The residencies are informed by the site and landscape of West Dean, as well as the cultural legacy of our founder, Edward James, renowned for his support of individual artists and avant-garde collaborations across a variety of creative fields.

Previous resident artists include: Caroline Achaintre, Sam Arye, Sonia E Barrett, Gabriele Beveridge, Linda Brothwell, Celilia Charleton, George Charman, Florence Dwyer, Tamara Henderson, Poppy Jones, Elora Kadir, Tahmina Negmat, Alicia Paz, Florence Peake, Rachel Pimm, Yelena Popova, Claire Ratinon, RESOLVE Collective, Katie Schwab, Sherie Sitauze, Renee So, Alec Stevens, Ross Taylor, Stuart Whipps.

Previous writers include: Kia Abdullah, Amer Anwar, Damian Barr, Rutendo Chabikwa, Anna Chilver, Anni Domingo, Sharon Duggal, Yvvette Edwards, Salena Godden, Michelle Green, Elizabeth Haynes, Catherine Johnson, Izabela Morska, Courttia Newland, Okechukwu Nzelu Allie Rodgers, William Shaw, Preti Taneja, Laureen Vonnegut.

The Opportunity

West Dean College is offering a unique opportunity for a creative practitioner (artist, writer, designer) to undertake a 6-week residency that explores the college’s ambitious approach to the future of its 6500-acre rural estate.

The selected practitioner will be invited to make active use of the College, Gardens, and wider Estate, using them as tools through which to investigate imaginative and critical approaches to sustainability and resilient pedagogy. We invite proposals from practitioners whose work addresses long-term thinking, materiality, and place-based research.

This residency is designed to engage with the opportunities that arise from rethinking how land is used and who it is for, sustainable materials, interspecies relationships, and how we can create innovative learning environments. The College is implementing change in each of these areas, and we invite proposals that interrogate and celebrate one or more of West Dean’s commitments, to:

  • Rethink land use across the whole estate to support a productive, farmed landscape, that mitigates against climate change and increases biodiversity
  • Plant 500,000 new trees as part of a major woodland creation scheme
  • Reduce water use by 30%
  • Serve local produce in the College and Garden’s Restaurant
  • Send zero waste to landfill
  • Design and construct sustainable new buildings
  • Be certified Climate Neutral by 2030
  • Achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050
  • Embed sustainable education within the curriculum
  • Ensure an inclusive and diverse culture, curriculum, collection, and campus

Proposals should outline how you intend to spend your time at West Dean, what facilities you require to fulfil your proposal, and the proposed outcome of their residency. Please note West Dean does not have a public exhibition space but we invite proposals for activity that can take place within the Gardens and Estate, or that aligns with existing exhibition opportunities.

  • Residency fee: the selected practitioner will be awarded a residency fee of £2000 
  • Full board accommodation at West Dean College for 6-weeks (taken in up to three blocks between October 2024 and June 2025)

The selected practitioner will deliver:

  • 2 public talks
  • 2 workshops
  • 2 days of tutorials

How to Apply

Please submit the following information via the online application process:

  • A 300-word proposal outlining your aims for the residency
  • A 200-word artist/designer/writer statement
  • Link to website or online portfolio

Due to the large number of submissions, we regret that feedback cannot be given on individual proposals.

The West Dean Residency Programme seeks to challenge the under-representation of marginalised groups and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds in arts and publishing. We encourage applications from a wide range of artists and writers.

Apply now


Sarah Hughes – Artist / Subject Leader (BA Art and Contemporary Craft), West Dean College
Dr. Geoffrey Makstutis – Head of KLC School of Design
Nastassja Simensky – Artist / Coordinator of the Archaeology-Heritage-Art Research Network, UCL 

Key Dates

Open Call Commission Launch: Monday 22 April 2024
Deadline for entries: Monday 10 June 2024
Residency to be held between October 2024-June 2025


  • Applicants must be 18 or over
  • Residencies can only be awarded to individual practitioners, not collaborative groups
  • This opportunity is not open to students in full-time education


West Dean Residency Open Call FAQs


What facilities are available?
Resident artists will have access to facilities within the Fine Art department as well as the College Library, West Dean House and Gardens. In addition, residents can request access to a range of materials workshops such as stone carving, ceramics, and printmaking. Applicants should indicate the facilities they require access to in their application.

Am I eligible to apply for the residency?
The Open Call is open to all artists/writers over 18 years of age. The residency is not available to full-time students, although PhD candidates can apply. This is an international opportunity, with travel costs covered within the UK.

What hours can I access the studio and grounds?
The studios are open from 8am to 9pm. The college grounds and wider estate are accessible 24-hours a day. 

Can I live in the studio or stay overnight?
No, residents and students must leave the studio by 9pm.

Can I send a hard copy of the application form rather than submitting online?
We only accept applications sent via the online form.

I have already completed a residency at West Dean, can I still apply?
No, there is a lot of demand for the residency programme so we restrict the residencies to one slot per artist.

Can two or more individuals apply to work on a collaborative project?
The West Dean residency is single occupancy and collaborative or join residencies are not generally supported. To discuss option, please get in touch with [email protected]

Does the artist have to contribute towards living costs?
The Residency includes room and board and covers all travel within the UK, up to £150.

What is the policy on bringing spouses or partners?
This is a single occupancy residency and spouses or partners are unable to accompany the artists.

Where do artists live during the residency?
Resident artists are accommodated in a newly renovated, historic house in the village of West Dean. The room has a private bathroom and shower area. Residents are also provided with a space to work and relax. The accommodation sits adjacent to West Dean Gardens that lead straight to the College.

Can I request special meals?
All dietary requirements can be catered for by our in-house team of chefs provided prior notice is given with details of any specific diets or allergens.

What are the teaching responsibilities of the residency and what level are the programmes?
Residents will deliver one public lecture at West Dean College during the residency and exhibition and deliver two teaching sessions. This can be one-to-one tutorials, group critique sessions, a workshop or seminar. Other formats can be discussed with academic staff.

The Fine Art department supports students studying at BA, Graduate Diploma and MFA level. All Fine Art programmes are validated by the University of Sussex.