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West Dean College of Arts and Conservation: Fine Art

Institution West Dean College of Arts and Conservation
Department School of Arts
Telephone 01243 818291
Study type Taught


Develop your passions and reach your potential in a small, welcoming environment within a community of like-minded people.

Why choose West Dean College of Arts and Conservation?

An international reputation for excellence in conservation and arts education. 94% of students studying at the College felt the programme had enhanced their skills and abilities (2019 student survey) A rich arts environment and a focus on craft skills with vocational application. Be inspired by the unique historic character and beautiful South Downs setting. Located close to Chichester and the South Coast, with easy access to London.

The Course

The Master of Fine Art programme at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation provide a stimulating and supportive environment for you to develop your capacities in practical, theoretical and professional domains, with an emphasis on specialist studio practice. Students are provided with generous studio space, weekly tutorial support, access to a broad range of visiting artists and lecturers, and year-round access to exhibition spaces. The two-year structure provides students with sustained periods of studio-based activity, with dissertation requirements coming early in the second year of study. Programmes are delivered through a combination of seminars, lectures, workshops, individual and group tutorials, critical sessions and self-directed research.

Students can choose to specialise in one of three main disciplines of Painting and Drawing, Sculpture, Tapestry and Textile Art, or to explore interdisciplinary practice. With access to excellent workshop facilities and unique opportunities to engage with other college departments, you will develop your practical, theoretical and professional skills in relation to a variety of different materials, methods and ideas.

Students have the opportunity to engage with West Dean House, Collection, Archive and Estate, are given support from highly skilled technical staff and a range of specialist facilities, plus assistance for visiting exhibitions, events and developing professional opportunities.

MFA students can expect

Support in consolidating studio practice to a level appropriate for accomplished practitioners Access to facilities, workshops and expertise for the fabrication of artworks Opportunities to employ innovative approaches to studio practice through which conceptual ideas are tested and informed by use of selected media To develop originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the Visual Arts To consolidate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current debates in contemporary art practice To further develop aptitude for professional practice, independent research or employment, including opportunities for public exhibition To possess independence, self-reliance, as well as promotional enterprise skills, motivated toward professional practice or employment


You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical workshops, individual and group tutorials, critique sessions, oral and written presentations, and external visits. You will typically have around 11-12 contact hours per week.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-directed study. Typically, this will involve:

working in the studio developing supporting material and research portfolios researching in the library reading journal articles and books working on assignments preparing presentations and self-assessments.

Overall workload

33% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity Scheduled teaching and learning: 785 hours Independent learning: 1615 hours

Master of Fine Arts - MFA (PG)

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