Directors, staff & policies of the Guild

The Guild, as a charity, is run by a volunteer Board of Directors drawn from the Guild's Companionship. They serve terms of three years and each new term is endorsed by Companions at the AGM. 

Currently, the Guild's day to day business is managed by two part-time paid staff posts, an Administrator and a Communications & Memberships Officer. You can read more about each Director below.

At the bottom of the page you can access our Policies.

Current Master of the Guild

Rachel Dickinson


The 15th Master of the Guild, and the first woman to hold the post, took up the role at the Guild AGM in Sheffield on 16 November 2019


Peter Burman, Director for Craft and for International Relations

Mark Cleaver, Director for Land Management & Environmental Matters

Nichola Johnson, Director for the Ruskin Collection

Frances O'Connor

Jenny Robbins, Treasurer & Director for Properties

Members of Staff

Martin Green

Membership & Communications
Simon Seligman


The Guild's Board

(in alphabetical order)

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Dr Peter Burman, MBE, FSE

Director for Craftspeople & Craftsmanship; International Relationships - North America; Italy, especially Venice; Japan; India. Thus far ...

Became a Companion in 1996; became a Director in 2018

It has been enormously enjoyable and intellectually stimulating to me that I have been able to play a lively part in three very Ruskinian organisations which have had long and distinguished histories: Guild of St George (1871); Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (1877); Art Workers' Guild (1884). I have also been a founder trustee of a number of late 20thC organisations approaching similar challenges in new ways such as the York Consortium for Conservation and Craftsmanship and SAVE Britain's Heritage. I have found that having effective communications both within an organisation and public facing is absolutely crucial to success. My professional roles as an architectural historian and architectural conservator have all been highly congenial to me: (i) as a schoolboy I loved to explore village churches on my bicycle and, amazingly, this blossomed into my first career, with the Council for the Care of Churches (CCC) and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE). I was a member of the Wells Cathedral West Front Committee for all of its 12 years and Chair of the St Paul's Fabric Committee for 20 years. I wrote a book on St Paul's Cathedral but otherwise most of my published work has been around the architect Philip Webb (1831-1915), with whom I feel a great affinity; he was one of the closest friends of William Morris, as is shown by so much of their respective surviving correspondence. (ii) My second career was in universities, first as Director of the Centre for Conservation Studies at the University of York, and later as Professor of Cultural Heritage Management at the Brandenburg Technical University at Cottbus, attached to the Centre for World Heritage Studies. I also had a semester on the Wall Paintings Conservation Course at ICCROM, in Rome, and a semester as Visiting Professor in the History of Art Department at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. (iii) In between my academic roles I had a spell as Director of Conservation at the National Trust for Scotland during which I spoke, in and out of season, of the way in which Ruskin's ideas about stewardship and authenticity lay behind the international National Trust 'Movement'.

I live in a beautiful village called Falkland in Fife where I am a Community Councillor and a trustee of the heritage assets, buildings and landscape, of the Falkland Estate which we run on Ruskinian lines somewhat parallel to Ruskin Land. I am also a trustee and Archivist at a major country house open to the public, Hopetoun House. It would be odd if I did not mention another great passion of mine which is music, I play the piano (at one time the organ) and the recorders. Where would I most like to be, with my partner Ross who is also a Companion, other than in my turret study at our c.1600 home in Falkland - Venice, with Sicily a close second and Orkney a third!

Moving northwards has always been a great adventure for me, being a Midlander. At the University of York I was delighted to find that it was only 100 miles' drive through delectable dale landscapes to Brantwood and so I took to going there regularly, joining the committee of the Friends, hanging on to Howard Hull's lightest word, giving talks, spending two nights in the room where Ruskin died, engaging with artists and craftspeople there, learning to enjoy Ruskin's writing and taking his ideas into my teaching about conservation. But I also learned about the compassionate side of Ruskin including his support for wholesome public housing, his championing of ordinary men and women, of meaningful work, of wholesome food, his passionate defence of beautiful landscape in the Lake District and elsewhere. The more of Ruskin I read and pondered the more I began to see that he was a prophet for our time as well as his time, and a prophet who tried to do something. One Saturday I went to a poetry reading by Clive Wilmer (we had been the same college together) at Brantwood and he said: 'Why don't you join the Guild?' So I did.


Mark Cleaver

Director for Land Management & Environmental Matters

Became a Companion in 2010; joined the Board in 2021.

I am a Professional environmentalist and social entrepreneur. My interests lie in the natural environment and I have wealth of experience in the UK environmental sector gained from working in local authorities and charities on ground-breaking and award-winning projects in conservation, farming, energy, and community. My awareness of Ruskin came about through my role as the Farm Manager for the Wyre Community Land Trust in its formative period and I found resonance with the Guild’s values and aspirations.

We live in very interesting times for the planet and society. As someone passionate about the environment I am looking forward to working with the Board and Companions to be bold, creative and innovative in meeting the challenges posed by the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

I bring to this role, not only my professional expertise, but an intimate knowledge of Ruskin Land and its role within the landscape and communities of the Wyre Forest.

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Dr Rachel Dickinson

Master of the Guild

Became a Companion in 2011; joined the Board in 2014; elected Master 2019.

Ruskin’s vision for what the Guild — a group of individuals passionate about fighting for true wealth and against what Ruskin calls ‘illth’ — can accomplish resonates. I want to be part of that change for the better. 

I am a Reader in Interdisciplinary Studies/English at Manchester Metropolitan University.  My current research fuses my home discipline in English literature with skills as a textiles practitioner and experience gained by volunteering in the Guild to consider how Ruskin’s use of clothing and cloth merges with other fields to frame transdisciplinary models which can address pressing concerns in our time. Ruskin offers potentially transformative inspiration. Just as he looked to Gothic and medieval models to frame solutions to nineteenth century aesthetic, economic, environmental and social problems, so we can use his ideas to frame responses to our own problems.

Web link:


Nichola Johnson

Director for the Ruskin Collection

Became a Companion in 2012; joined the Board 2018.

I am a former academic and museum curator. Currently, I am Visiting Professor in Curation at Norwich University of the Arts, trustee of Brantwood and a member of the board of the Clore Cultural Leadership programme.

My first (student) exhibition was on 'Ruskin and Luxury' and I've long been particularly interested in 'introducing' Ruskin to students of the fine and decorative arts and to graduates developing careers in the heritage sector. Another long-standing interest is in Utopian communities, and I'm also a singer, lurcher-lover and VW camper van owner who would love to have the courage to live properly 'in the margins'!

I became a Companion because I was flattered to be invited! More importantly, I was drawn to the Guild's increasing activity in community engagement and skills-development, particularly in the areas of the environment and social policy.


Frances O'Connor


Became a Companion in 2017 and joined the Board in 2023

I was born and brought up in Birkenhead in a family of artists. Having studied Medicine at Oxford University and St Thomas’s Hospital, London, I had a career as a GP in Sheffield for many years.

Always passionate about the Arts I studied part-time at Sheffield Hallam University and obtained a Degree in the History of Art, Design and Film. I retired from General Practice to start a Master’s Degree in the History of Venetian Art at Warwick University. As part of this course, I was lucky enough to spend three months studying in Venice, and it was here that I began to learn about Ruskin. I wrote my final dissertation on the St. George’s Museum in Walkley and in particular on the collection of Venetian art that Ruskin gave to the museum for the education of the workers in Sheffield. It was during my research that I discovered the Guild of St. George and became a Companion. After completing my degree, I volunteered at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield and catalogued the books in the Ruskin Study Room.

I am a keen photographer and my own photographic practice is influenced by Ruskin’s methodology. I enjoy walking in the Peak District and travelling, above all to Italy. I am never failed to be amazed by how Ruskin’s writing has so much relevance for our society today; from environmental concerns, to social issues. Ruskin follows me in my explorations.

I am honoured to join the Board of the Guild of St. George as a Director and hope that my enthusiasm for inclusivity in education, the countryside and the visual arts will be a positive contribution to the Guild. I am proud to live in Sheffield and of my city’s place in the history of Ruskin and his Guild, which I will continue to champion.


Jenny Robbins

Treasurer and Director for Properties

Became a Companion in 2014; joined the Board in 2015.

In 2007 I became a Director of the Wyre Community Land Trust, working to restore the orchards and meadows in the Wyre Forest. The project is now based at Ruskin Land and through this work I was introduced to the work of Ruskin. I became a Companion and subsequently a Director in 2014. I have responsibility for the Guild property portfolio both in Wyre and Westmill in Hertfordshire, and from 2021, as treasurer. I worked with the WCLT to deliver the Ruskin in Wyre project culminating in 2019.

Guild policies

As part of our good governance as a charity, the Guild formulates policies that guide our deliberations on a wide range of matters. You can access these by clicking on the titles below. Please note that all are reviewed and updated from time to time, and as circumstances require.

Complaints Policy

Director Recruitment Policy

Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Employee Recruitment Policy

Environment Policy

Fundraising Policy

GDPR Policy

Grants Policy

Investment Policy

Property Lettings Policy

Register of Interests Policy

Risk Management Policy

Safeguarding Policy

Subscriptions Policy

Tree Safety Policy

Volunteering Policy