Research at West Dean

West Dean College has an international reputation as a centre of excellence for the Creative Arts and Conservation. Across both these Schools, research is essential in underpinning the college’s academic ambitions, helping West Dean to be at the forefront of the specialisms its supports, making a positive impact on our teaching and learning environment. Research projects are key to establishing new and innovative practices, emphasising the importance of skills-based making and conservation, as well as demonstrating the value and scope of interdisciplinary collaboration. Research at West Dean not only benefits students, staff and specialist audiences but also wider academic communities and the public.

West Dean College is privileged to be based within a site of historic significance, both in relation to the heritage of the West Dean Estate and its more recent associations with the life and work of its founder Edward James. It is a small, specialist college whose core concerns are the practice, history and theories of creative arts and conservation. The College is dedicated to supporting research in and across the subject areas of Conservation, Making, Visual Arts and Creative Writing, as well as engaging with the wider research community both nationally and internationally.

Our core goals are to:

  • Create a research environment that supports staff and students in making significant impact in their discipline and beyond
  • Provide students with research-led teaching that is at the forefront of specific disciplines, supporting graduates to becomes leaders in their field of study
  • Ensure excellent teaching by supporting staff development in terms of pedagogical research practices, as well as maintaining a curriculum that reflects the research interests of academic staff
  • Enable the college’s academic staff to maintain and expand their research interests and develop new skills, both individually and collaboratively
  • Support students at all levels to actively engage with the research community at West Dean College
  • Develop sustainable relationships with external partners, supporting collaborative projects that further research in a range of subjects
  • Support discourse and development through themed research groups, research fora, symposia, colloquia, conferences and other events
  • Support leading research by providing high standard facilities and resources, including Library services, scientific analytical equipment, specialist studios and workshops
  • Foster research partnerships and collaboration through Artist-in-Residence programme and Conservation Fellowships
  • Identify strategies to enhance research, training, income and collaborative opportunities