West Dean College

Degree level: Undergraduate
Awarded by: University of Sussex

Craft Practices - Books & Binding

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Course summary

Official Course Title: Foundation Degree Arts – Books and Binding 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? 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 Foundation Degree in Arts, specialising in books and binding, is designed to give you well-rounded theory and craft skills in using papers, cloths and leathers to bind books so you can set up as a maker and craftsperson, continue your studies in higher education in crafts or conservation, or find employment in the creative industry sector. In the first year students develop bench craft skills in paper and leather. Project work focuses on using appropriate materials, processes and techniques. Core studies include materials technology, technical drawing and historical/contextual studies. During this stage of the course students begin to develop an understanding of the relationship between material, technique and meaning. In the second year of the course, students further develop their skills and begin to explore the development of historically inspired new work and/or an introduction to the conservation of books. Core studies focus on business and professional skills such as pricing, record-keeping, tax and insurance, marketing and intellectual property. Most students will have the opportunity to complete a period of work placement. You can expect To develop excellent practical skills To learn how material properties influence practice and making To learn about historic book-making techniques and their application in contemporary contexts To learn from dedicated and experienced tutors who are practicing professionals and well-connected in the sector Learning environment Low student: tutor ratio Workshop access 8.30am-9pm, 7 days a week Interdisciplinary environment Visits from practicing crafts-persons and specialists from the heritage and private sectors Visits to museums and active links with heritage bodies Work placements and work-related projects Exceptional facilities You will work in our specialist books and binding workshop which is equipped with a full range of tools and individual workspaces. Collaboration with other disciplines makes for a uniquely enriched learning environment. Facilities: Dedicated book binding workshop, Photography space, IT suite, Specialist library Teaching You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, external trips and visits and workshop practicals. In addition, you have personal tutorials with your subject tutor. At level 4 you typically have around 18-19 contact hours per week. At level 5 you typically have around 16-17 contact hours per week. 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 and preparing coursework assignments and presentations. Overall workload Level 4: 53% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity Scheduled teaching and learning: 633 hours Independent learning: 567 hours Level 5: 50% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity Scheduled teaching and learning: 600 hours Independent learning: 600 hours


HC-M1 Materials Technology: delivered in pathway workshop and cross-curricular, HC-D1 Drawing and Aesthetics, HC-R1 Study/Research Skills, HC-M2 Materials Technology: delivered in pathway workshop and cross-curricular, HC-H2 History of Craft, HC-C2M1/C/F/ME Craft Skills, HC-P3 Professional Skills incl. work placement, HC-C3MI/C/F/ME Applied Projects, HC-P4 Professional Portfolio Modules may be subject to change.

How to apply

Application codes

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West Dean College
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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course


Additional entry requirements


Applicants will be invited to a portfolio interview.


Applicants should provide a portfolio that evidences their commitment to the discipline. It could include sketchbooks, technical and material exploration, design work, project development from start to finish, detailed images of finished work. Where possible, applicants are encouraged to include a video of working on a practical exercise as part of the portfolio, of which the College can provide guidance if required.


If applicants cannot provide a portfolio, the College will provide a practical exercise that can be done remotely to asses mental agility and dexterity and suitability for this skills based programme.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, or you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language ability. International applicants should provide evidence of English language ability to Level B2 (IELTS 6.0).

Find out more about the English language requirements at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation.


Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students

There is no data available for this course. For further information visit the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

EU £14280 Year 1
International £14280 Year 1
England £14280 Year 1
Northern Ireland £14280 Year 1
Scotland £14280 Year 1
Wales £14280 Year 1
Channel Islands £14280 Year 1
Republic of Ireland £14280 Year 1

Additional fee information

Course fees are the same for UK and international students. Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional. To find out more visit: https://www.westdean.ac.uk/degrees-and-diplomas/admissions#living-costs

Sponsorship information

Funding opportunities are available to students applying to study at West Dean and we encourage students to explore funding options. In 2019 up to 60% of students received bursary/scholarship support. For more information visit:https://www.westdean.ac.uk/degrees-and-diplomas/funding

Craft Practices - Books & Binding at West Dean College - UCAS