Academic Schools


The School of Conservation is internationally recognised for its specialist programmes in the conservation of books and library materials, metals, clocks, furniture, and ceramics. Its vibrant portfolio creates a unique learning environment that fosters interdisciplinary research, supporting graduates to become leading practitioners in their field.
West Dean House and the Edward James Collection and Archive represent the cumulative acquisitions of almost 400 years of family ownership of the West Dean Estate, offering an unparalleled educational resource for students and staff.  They provide both conservation projects and a unique learning environment that offers a greater understanding of current debates around collections care and management.

The School of Creative Arts has a dynamic portfolio of programmes that are internationally respected for their critical evaluation of the role of skills-based making in contemporary practice, questioning the boundaries of craft and supporting dialogue and collaboration across the disciplines of Visual Arts, Creative Writing and Musical Instrument Making.
West Dean has a rich heritage of creativity owing to the forward-thinking activity of its founder Edward James. Each area of the School of Creative Arts builds on one of James’ passions, from his support of artists, his numerous writing projects, to his vision, supported by Yehudi Menuhin, in founding a programme dedicated to the making of stringed musical instruments.

The Schools of Creative Arts and Conservation:

  • Create opportunities to support collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects, symposia and events;
  • Enable staff and students to widen their knowledge and understanding through collaboration across academic Schools;
  • Supports staff and facilitates career development and interdisciplinary research opportunities;
  • Provides research-led teaching in support of furthering the reputation of the College as a centre of excellence;
  • Promote events that make research at West Dean accessible to the public;
  • Create a network among students and staff to ensure that forums are available to discuss research and career development with peers;
  • Build links with national and international institutions with shared passions and interests;
  • Creates opportunities and awareness around the availability of internal and external funding opportunities