George Charman, Artichoke House 2014
George Charman, Artichoke House 2014

The history of West Dean College is steeped in innovative creative practice. Its founder, Edward James, was an influential figure in the British Surrealist movement and a major patron of numerous artists and writers, including Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Leonora Carrington and John Betjeman. Since his estate was bequeathed to the Edward James Foundation in 1964, West Dean College has formed the core of one of the greatest private legacies supporting the arts in the world.

Artists at any stage in their career are invited to apply for a residency in connection with the rich and various history of West Dean College. Applicants should be highly motivated practitioners who wish to extend and develop their practice within an experimental research-based context.

Supported by the Edward James Foundation, the residencies are awarded for a period of three weeks and will be located within West Dean College. As well as full board and lodging, residents are given access to the grounds and the award-winning West Dean Gardens. Residents will also be provided with studio space, access to skilled technical support and a range of specialist workshops, as well as other learning resources such as the library and computer suite. Studios and workshops are open seven days a week from 7.00 to 22.00. A basic material allowance of £100 will be provided to each resident, plus travel expenses up to £100. Additional requirements should be noted in the application.

Artists in Residence enrich the creative learning environment of the college by providing support to full-time graduate and postgraduate students, including a presentation on their practice and an account of the work produced during the time spent at West Dean. The amount of time expected to be allocated to these activities is equivalent to one day per week.

Please contact David Stent for more details or for an application form,

“Coming straight from finishing my MFA in painting at the Slade, being offered this residency came at just the right time. Having spent my time un-picking my practice to the point of pretty much destroying all subject matter, being immersed in the countryside at West Dean got me looking at landscape again. Landscape and natural forms are themes I continue to explore in my painting and drawing. What West Dean gave me was a bit of space and time to contemplate what it was I was really interested in, and to get on and start making new work.” Chloe Steele

Previous Artist-in-Residence include:

Blue Firth (2015): Blue used the residency at West Dean to explore questions about the nature of material and its relation to both historic and contemporary contexts. She worked closes with the Ceramics Workshop, experimenting with clay marbling techniques.

George Charman (2014): During George’s residency he developed planed for Artichoke House, a pavilion constructed in the grounds of West Dean College. The design was inspired by an unrealised project by Edward James. More info

Freya Pocklington (2014): Freya’s work uses strange and disquieting imagery such as combinations of dogs and other creatures, from insects to walking sausages, and shows them interacting in unusual scenarios where scale and species are disregarded. Freya was influenced by the historic connections to Surrealism at West Dean.

Melanie Jackson (2009): Multi-disciplinary artist has exhibited in major UK and international galleries including the Arnolfini, Matt’s Gallery, Videotage in Hong kong and BizArt, Shanghai. She was winner of the 2007 Jerwood Drawing Prize.

Chloe Steele (2008): ” I loved the specialism, the quality of workmanship and dedication of the other students, from Horologists to violin-makers and blacksmiths. It felt like there was nothing to think about but art and how life fitted into art, not the other way round. Anything mundane or practical such as cooking was taken care of. It was blissful. I spent all my time making odd bits of sculpture and drawing, at one stage drawing solidly for ten days until I thought my mind would explode.”

Thorbjorn Andersen (2007): Painter exhibited across UK and Europe including Supplement Gallery, Modtar Projects, Copenhagen and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.

Meekyoung Shin (2004): Sculptor working with soap, replicating Chinese vases. Internationally recognised artist exhibiting at the British Museum, New York Museum of Art and Design and Haunch of Venison, London.