09 Nov 2021

Feature: Specialist Careers Teaching in Conservation

Join West Dean College to help train the conservators of the future

In partnership with West Dean College of Arts and Conservation


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Books & Library Materials


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Metals Conservation



Dear Conservator

Thank you for your interest in considering a role working and teaching at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation.  Hopefully you have enjoyed watching our video and seeing the valuable work we do here to teach the conservators of the future.

At West Dean we are internationally recognised for excellence in conservation and arts education.  We offer a rich conservation environment and a focus on craft skills with vocational application,  with the assurance of a university qualification, through our partnership with the University of Sussex. 

At West Dean we believe there is a need to make the conservation of our heritage and historical objects a real priority. We are a small College community and across the School we endeavour to maintain a low student staff ratio of 8:1. Our own on-site collections, archive and historic interiors are central to supporting students. They provide conservation projects, survey work and real-life situations for environmental monitoring and management, all of which feeds into our programmes. Our links with external museums and libraries and connections with over 100 different visiting lecturers means that our curricula are enriched not just by our core team of tutors but with external professional input.

Thanks to an expansion in our student numbers we need new talented conservators in to join our existing teaching teams in the School of Conservation, particularly in Metals and Books and Library Materials. If you are interested in teaching and are a conservator from a different discipline we would still very much like to hear from you, as we are always considering the conservation qualification opportunities that we can offer to students.

Teaching at West Dean means you will be able to bring your hands on conservation experience and skills to contribute to the future success of the School of Conservation and help teach the conservators of the future.   I very much look forward to receiving your application for the positions that we are recruiting for.

Yours sincerely,

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Lizzie Neville - Head of School of Conservation


Background and History

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West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is part of The Edward James Foundation, a registered charity which also comprises of West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio. 

The idea for West Dean College, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021, was conceived in a series of letters between Edward James and Aldous Huxley, beginning with a missive to the novelist on Christmas Day 1939. In it, James wrote that he had been inspired by Huxley’s 1937 book Ends and Means to decide to hand over his family home and estate to be run as centre of artistic practice and education, in the way Huxley outlined in his book.

In the words of Edward James:

My suggestion would be to make this community a group of people working to preserve and teach certain crafts.

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Our Mission

The Foundation's mission is to provide, through West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, the highest quality education in arts and conservation, and our vision is to be internationally recognised as a centre of excellence.

Through our work we aim:

To inspire creativity, champion traditional art and craft practices and advance the care of heritage objects.

Underpinning this is a commitment to:

  • Celebrate our heritage and Edward James' legacy to inspire and teach; using the house, archives and collection, gardens and estate.
  • Preserve an inspiring, creative and peaceful environment; for our students, visitors, guests and staff.
  • Be a great place to work where people share a common goal and feel respected and cared for; we listen, involve, communicate and develop.
  • Collaborate with partners who share our vision to enable each other to achieve our goals; including academic and cultural partners, donors, suppliers and clients.
  • Be resourceful and efficient in all areas to secure a sustainable future for the College; through stewardship, innovation, excellence and enterprise.
  • Be inclusive by ensuring we are welcoming to all; offering public access, bursaries and scholarships.


Career Opportunities


We also welcome applications from EU and International applicants who may wish to join us in the future and bring their skills and experience to a conservation teaching role in the UK (any application will be subject to Visa requirements and Certificates of Sponsorship granted by the Home Office).

You can find out more about the School of Conservation https://www.westdean.org.uk/study/school-of-arts/facilities

Informal enquiries and discussions are welcomed by myself [email protected] Head of School of Conservation or to our Human Resources Business Partner [email protected]



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