New partnership between West Dean College and art organisation Outside In announced

Two award-winning Chichester charitable organisations have announced a new partnership to help support artists.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 7:20 am
Marc Steene
Marc Steene

The collaboration by West Dean College of Arts and Conservation and Outside In, which has been made possible by a successful Arts Council bid worth nearly £15,000, will also help shape the college’s accessibility and participation strategy.

Marc Steene, founder and director of Outside In, said: “Outside In’s Step Up courses are all about developing artists’ skills and opening doors. To host Exploring Collections with access to West Dean’s stunning collection is such an exciting opportunity and partnership.”

Francine Norris, director of education at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, said the college was ‘thrilled’ and that she hoped the project would mark the start of ‘a long-lasting relationship’ between the organisations.

She said: “Outside In has national reputation for ground-breaking work creating a more inclusive environment for artists who may not otherwise have the opportunity to showcase their work. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them and hope that this leads to a long-lasting relationship.”

The grant will enable six Outside In artists, who would otherwise find it difficult meaningfully to engage in the art world, to take part in a 16-week training course encompassing two exhibitions. One will be as part of West Deans Arts and Crafts Festival (Friday, May 31-Saturday June 2).

Marc added: “Step Up: Exploring Collections is Outside In’s two-stage training and professional development programme. It will comprise of a ten-week course, starting on Monday, March 25, where participants will be equipped with the skills to research and respond to items from West Dean’s internationally significant art and cultural collection and archive.

“Participants will then be supported and encouraged to develop independent research themes and produce personal interpretations, such as a visual response, creative writing piece, audio work or film for the remainder of the course.”

Tiffany Robinson, access and participation lead for the college, explained: “Through working in partnership with Outside In this project will also support development of our widening participation strategy to actively engage artists who find it difficult to access the art world for reasons including health, disability, social circumstance or isolation.”

The course is open for applications from Outside In artists now, deadline March 14.

Full details can be found at

Outside In was founded in 2006 by Marc Steene at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester. Its aim then, as it is now, was to provide a platform for artists who face a significant barrier to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstances or isolation.

In 2013, Outside In won the Charity Award in the Arts, Culture and Heritage category.

In 2016, Outside In became an independent charity in its own right and in 2017 it joined the Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.