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West Dean College of Arts and Conservation: Collections Care and Conservation Management

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


Study at a specialist college with the assurance of a university qualification. 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

This two year MA course provides the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary for a lead role in collections care and management within a historic house context. It is aimed at conservators and curators with significant collections care responsibilities, as well as graduates from conservation or other museum related disciplines intending to develop their careers in this area. The course offers a flexible study path delivered over eight five-day study blocks in themed units, spread out over the two year programme.

Programme units cover a comprehensive programme of theory, coupled with practical conservation exercises and visits that focus on key aspects of contemporary collections care and management practice. Students also undertake off-site professional practice assignments and a dissertation.

Areas of study include:

Understanding, monitoring and managing agents of deterioration Emergency/salvage planning Collections surveys, risk assessment and management Managing staff and budgets Collections care and the fabric of the building Security Introduction to grant-writing Loans, handling and packing Housekeeping and care of typical object types


You will have around 30-35 contact hours per study block, typically consisting of:

26-30 hours of lectures 2-3 hours of seminars and peer to peer presentations 2 hours of external trips and visits (on average) 30 mins of one-to-one meetings/tutorials

Independent learning

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

Reading journal articles and books Working on individual and group projects Undertaking research in the library Preparing coursework assignments and presentations.

Overall workload

40% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning and work-based learning activity. Scheduled teaching and learning: 280 hours Work-based learning: 504 hours Independent learning: 1016 hours


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