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Conservation of Furniture and Related Objects/MA Conservation Studies

Course Description

Still accepting applications for 2016/17

The Postgraduate Diploma brings together practical, theoretical, scientific and technical studies into a unified approach to the treatment and preservation of furniture and related objects. Further develop your specialist craft and conservation skills. Evaluate methodologies, critique and propose new hypothesis. Plan and implement technically complex projects. Completion of the first component of the course can serve as a pathway onto the MA Conservation Studies.

::You can expect::

- To develop excellent practical skills through object-based treatments
- To work on technically complex projects
- To study preventative conservation
- To work on live historic projects

::Learning environment::

- High tutor: student ratio
- Workshop access 7am-10pm, 7 days a week
- Interdisciplinary environment
- Teaches students to understand and apply Icon's Professional Standards in Conservation
- Visits from specialists from the heritage and private sectors
- Visits to museums and active links with heritage bodies

Programme Aims

The aims of the programme are to provide:


1. A context for the analysis, assessment and treatment of historical furniture and related objects

2. The opportunity to further develop existing specialist craft and conservation skills

3. A research environment for the development and public dissemination of innovative
approaches to the conservation of furniture and related objects


1. The opportunity to contribute to the development of historical, cultural and contextual
understanding of furniture through primary research and investigation

2. The opportunity to evaluate methodologies, develop critiques and propose new hypotheses

3. A context for individual inquiry and informed debate across conservation specialisms


1. A context for the development of a range of verbal, written and visual skills appropriate for the
communication and documentation of conservation projects and research

2. A context for the development of, and critical reflection upon, personal and professional codes
of practice

3. Opportunities to plan and implement a range of projects that are increasingly technically
complex, and which present challenges of a compound nature


From the Postgraduate Diploma students usually progress to MA Conservation Studies - https://www.westdean.org.uk/study/school-of-conservation

Graduates go on to work as conservators with public and private collections within the heritage sector nationally and internationally, with conservation businesses or as independent conservators, furniture-makers, designers or restorers.


You will work in our specialist Furniture workshop and have access to an analytical laboratory. Collaboration with other conservation specialisms makes for a uniquely enriched learning environment.

The on-site Art and Conservation Library puts thousands of specialist books and journals within your reach and you can access specialist databases in the IT suite.

Visit the Conservation of Furniture and Related Objects/MA Conservation Studies page on the West Dean College website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Cathy Silverman

"I chose to study at West Dean as it has such a good reputation in the industry. I like having so much access to the workshops and working on quality objects, as well as the small class sizes. A highlight has been tuition in applied science from an Associate Lecturer one day a week and learning from his practical experience working at the V&A."


Entry Requirements

To join the PGDip/MA programme you will need to have a good first degree in Conservation or a closely related field; or have completed a Graduate Diploma in a closely related subject; or demonstrate an equivalent proficiency in basic conservation science, academic skills (research, writing and critical analysis) and practical hand skills, including manual sensitivity and dexterity. Progression to the MA is subject to the successful completion of the first semester and the identification of an appropriate MA project. Students may choose to exit the programme at the Postgraduate Diploma stage.

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Recipient: West Dean College

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