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March 27, 2019

West Dean students embark on fascinating placements

West Dean CollegeStudents from West Dean College of Arts and Conservation have made the most of their opportunity to work with the top conservators and experts in the field of conservation.

Second-year Conservation students have taken part in 6-8 week work placements at world famous museums and collections such as the V&A, Leiden University Library, Lambeth Palace Library, the Book & Paper Studio (Dundee), Oxford Conservation Consortium, Bodleian Libraries, the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum (Bournemouth) and the Royal Museums Greenwich – all fantastic experiences that will aid their future career progression as conservators.

As Lizzie Neville, Head of School of Conservation at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, says, “Placements provide our students with opportunities to translate their taught experience into real-life work situations, to build up professional relationships and open doors for future employment.”

Leiden University Library, the Netherlands: David Plummer, who is studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation of Books and Library Materials, travelled to Leiden University Library in the Netherlands. While there, he worked on the conservation of the Yemeni manuscript – a 17th century Qur'an.

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth: Dale Sardeson, who is studying for a MA Conservation Studies (Clocks & Related Objects), went to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth. He comments, "From early on in the year I knew that I wanted to go to the Russell-Cotes Museum. The college has a good working relationship with the Russell-Cotes, and I had seen a number of objects from the collection on fellow students' benches. It might seem like an odd choice for a student specialising in horology, since the museum doesn't necessarily have the range of clocks on display that other, larger museums might, but it does have a few very interesting pieces that I was keen to get a closer look at."

Royal Museums, Greenwich: Zora Sanders, who is studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Metalwork, worked at the Royal Museums in Greenwich. She worked on a wide variety of projects from replacing the frame on a sundial to dismantling and cleaning a flintlock pistol.

V&A, London: Rosie Blay, who is studying for a MA Conservation Studies (Ceramics & Related Material), secured a 6-week placement at the V&A in the Ceramics and Glass Conservation Studio. She says of her experience there: "One object that I have been able to work on is a set of three Fritware tiles with Persian inscriptions and floral ornaments from the 14th century… I particularly enjoyed working on this object as I find previous repairs fascinating because they provide so much information about an object's history."

Oxford Conservation Consortium: Maria Borg, who is studying for an MA in Books and Library Materials, did her work placement at the Oxford Conservation Consortium. She explains, “The focus of my placement was the cleaning, re-housing and repair techniques on parchment. Apart from the practical work and the numerous external visits to different libraries and archives in Oxford, one of the best aspects of my placement was having access to the Chantry Library… For a student such as myself, the library provides an inviting and comfortable space where I was able to consolidate my learning in the studio.”

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is still accepting applications for 2019 entry.

Find out more about MA Conservation Studies at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation.

Looking for funding for postgraduate studies? Check out the exclusive bursaries on offer from Postgrad Solutions.  

Content added on 27th March 2019. 

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