Ruskin To-Day is an informal network devoted to promoting wider knowledge and understanding of the ideas of the great Victorian writer, reformer and artist, John Ruskin (1819–1900).

2019 sees the bicentenary of Ruskin’s birth on 8th February, 1819. This site has been set up to provide as much information as possible about Ruskin-related events that are taking place between now and the close of 2019.

There is a calendar of events that will be updated regularly, and a map that will help you find events near you.

There are also links to the many organisations that make up the Ruskin community. There is another website dedicated to the Bicentennial www.ruskin200.com 

On Thursday 11 June 2019 at the preview of The 5th John Ruskin Prize shortlist exhibition; Agent of Change held at The Holden Gallery, Manchester School of Art, the prize organisers, visual literacy charity The Big Draw announced the 3 winners of The John Ruskin Prize 2019 where they were presented with their share of this year’s £5000 prize fund.

The John Ruskin Prize 2019 Prize Winners:
1st Prize (£3000): Juliette Losq, 2nd Prize (£1000): Shanti Panchal, Student / Recent Graduate Prize (£1000): Chao Wang

Following a challenging winner selection for the 2019 panel, artist Juliette Losq was selected by the panel as the 1st Prize Winner for her hand painted 3D installation ‘Proscenium’ – an immersive installation based on a ‘Teleorama’ optical device. Measuring an impressive 3 metres in height and width the intricately layered work defies belief as the restrictive boundaries of watercolour are boldly rejected. The 2019 selection panel were taken by the form and content of the work, the elegant brushwork at odds with the brutality of urban decay brought full circle as nature reclaims its rightful place.

 

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

 Mohandas K Gandhi, regarded by Indians as ‘the Father of the Nation’ was born on 2 October 1869. This year is therefore the 150th anniversary of his birth: a nice coincidence that it should fall in Ruskin’s bicentennial year. There is an official website for the anniversary, set up by the Indian government:

https://gandhi.gov.in/gandhi-celebration.html.

Gandhi attributed his change of heart to the influence of Ruskin. He wrote of Ruskin’s Unto this Last that it ‘brought about an instantaneous and practical transformation in my life …. I translated it later into Gujarati, entitling it Sarvodaya (The Welfare of All). I believe that I discovered some of my deepest convictions reflected in this great book of Ruskin, and that is why it so captured me and made me transform my life. A poet is one who can call forth the good latent in the human breast. Poets do not influence all alike, for everyone is not evolved in equal measure. The teaching of Unto This Last I understood to be: 1. That the good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
2. That a lawyer’s work has the same value as the barber’s inasmuch as all have the same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
3. That a life of labour, i.e., the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living.
The first of these I knew. The second I had dimly realized. The third had never occurred to me. Unto This Last made it as clear as daylight for me that the second and the third were contained in the first. I arose with the dawn, ready to reduce these principles to practice.’ M.K. Gandhi, An Autobiography or The Story of my Experiments with Truth (1927-1929), trans. Mahadev Desai, part IV, ch. XVIII.

Sarvodaya is really an adaptation of Unto this Last for an Indian context. There is a ‘retrotranslation’ of it in English, Unto this Last: A Paraphrase, translated by Valji Govindji Desai. It can be found on the internet, and a few copies are available from Peter Miller of the Guild of St George:  peter.miller30@btinternet.com

In 1949, just after Gandhi’s assassination, George Orwell wrote this of him: ‘regarded simply as a politician and, compared with the other leading political figures of our time, how clean a smell he has managed to leave behind!’

Clive Wilmer

 

 

Upcoming events and exhibits: 2019

18 Oct
Ruskin Seminars: ‘Close Looking - Nature’s Microcosm as seen through Ruskin’s Lens’
The Ruskin, Lancaster

The 2019/20 Ruskin Seminars will explore the relevance of Ruskin’s thinking to topics ranging from ecological crisis to evolutionary theory.

The series opens on Friday 18 October with artist and researcher Franziska Schenk, who casts a close eye on Ruskin’s nature-centric artwork to extend the Victorian’s vision into the contemporary nano-realm in ‘Close Looking – Nature’s Microcosm as seen through Ruskin’s Lens’.

Seminars begin at 4.15pm and are free to attend (online booking required).

21 Oct
Dinner talk: Athenaeum Club
Athenaeum Club, London

Professor Dinah Birch and Professor Francis O’Gorman will deliver a dinner talk on ‘Remembering John Ruskin: A Great Athenian’ at the Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London. Items from the Club’s Library by and about John Ruskin will be exhibited in the Drawing Room and the Smoking Room display cases.

Members and their guests only

23 Oct
Ruskin Live: Jane Beck
The Ruskin, Lancaster

On Wednesday 23 October, join us for Ruskin Live: Jane Beck, who will introduce the textiles she has loaned to The Ruskin from her private collection. This event celebrates the first in a series of exhibitions connecting Ruskin’s ideas to other artists, designers and makers, in his time and our own.

In partnership with Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts.

The evening will begin at 6.00pm and is free to attend (online booking required).

24 Oct
Lecture: Riding the Storm: the political legacy of John Ruskin
Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield

6.00-7.15pm

Speaker: Howard Hull, Director of the Ruskin Foundation and Brantwood Trust
For more details and free tickets, visit jhwhitley.eventbrite.co.uk
31 Oct
Ruskin Live: Sophie Thérèse Ambler with Nicholas Vincent
The Ruskin, Lancaster

We celebate the launch of a new publication on Thursday 31 October at Ruskin Live: Sophie Thérèse Ambler with Nicholas Vincent. ‘The Song of Simon de Montfort: England’s First Revolutionary and the Death of Chivalry’ is written by Sophie Thérèse Ambler, Lecturer in Later Medieval History at Lancaster and Deputy Director of the CWD. The book will be introduced by Nicholas Vincent, Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia and a Fellow of the British Academy.

In partnership with the Lancaster University Centre for War and Diplomacy.

The evening will begin at 5.30pm and is free to attend (online booking required).

31 Oct
Ruskin Seminar: ‘Divine and Defiled Waters - Ruskin, the Wandel, and Victorian Ecocrisis’
The Ruskin, Lancaster

Mark Frost, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth, joins us to present the second Ruskin Seminar of 2019/20, on his research into waterways and ecocrisis in Victorian Britain, titled ‘Divine and Defiled Waters – Ruskin, the Wandel, and Victorian Ecocrisis’.

Please note, Mark’s seminar will take place in Bowland North, SR06.

Seminars begin at 4.15pm and are free to attend (online booking required).

07 Nov
Special Event: Open Mic Night
Brantwood, Coniston

Join poet Geraldine Green and other Cumbrian creative talent at the annual winter open mic night at the Terrace at Brantwood. Supper at 7pm followed by readings. Open mic slots available. Tickets £14. Pre booking essential.