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Past Events


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A symposium at the University of Toronto, Canada (St George Campus)

Enquiries to

Hosted in conjunction with the William Morris Society of Canada
Organised by Companions Sara Atwood and Ann Gagne

This symposium will focus on the influence of John Ruskin and William Morris on craftsmanship in their own time and on those who continue to honour that legacy in their work today. Speakers will be David Latham (editor, Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies), Rachel Dickinson (Guild of St. George/Manchester Metropolitan University), Kateri Ewing (Guild of St George, artist and teacher), Ann Gagne (Guild of St George, George Brown College), and Sara Atwood (Guild of St George, Portland State University).

The symposium will take place during the annual Canadian Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, Canada’s largest academic gathering, hosted this year by Ryerson University, Toronto. We hope that the symposium will appeal to many of those assembled for the Congress. We believe that the symposium will also interest people involved in the vibrant culture of craft and the strong ‘maker movement’ in Toronto.

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6pm for 6.30pm, Friday, 12 May 2017
Gilbert Scott Lecture Theatre, Whitelands College, University of Roehampton

Whitelands Ruskin Lecture

Revd Canon Dr David Peacock OBE
My three-corneredest of Chaplains':
John Ruskin and the Revd John Pincher Faunthorp

Portrait of the Revd John Pincher Faunthorpe by Arthur George Walker (1861-1939).
Property of Whitelands College, University of Roehampton.

The Revd John Pincher Faunthorpe (1839-1924) was Principal of Whitelands College for a period of 33 years – 1874 to 1907. He struck up a relationship with John Ruskin, which resulted in the founding of the Whitelands May Day ceremonies. For a time, the two men were in regular correspondence. Ruskin commissioned Faunthorpe to assist him in a range of tasks, such as the reading and correcting of proofs, and the creation of an index to Fors Clavigera, Ruskin’s Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain.

The Whitelands Ruskin Lecture by David Peacock (himself a former Principal of Whitelands) will give an overview of Faunthorpe’s origins, leading to his eventual appointment as Principal of Whitelands College. It will then go on to chart the development of the relationship between Ruskin and Faunthorpe over the period 1877 to 1887, which encompassed a significantly broader range of issues and interests than the establishment of the annual May Queen election alone.

David Peacock was Principal of Whitelands College from 1985 to 2000. During that time he took a keen interest in the Whitelands May Day festival and went on to research its origins and history for which he was awarded a PhD by the University of Lancaster. He is currently editing his thesis prior to publication towards the end of 2017.

David is a Companion of the Guild of St George and a former trustee of the Ruskin Foundation. He was Chair of the Friends of Ruskin's Brantwood from 2001 to 2012. An ordained Anglican priest, David is Canon Emeritus of Southwark Cathedral.

David was appointed OBE in 2016 in recognition of his contribution to the rehabilitation of offenders in the community.

FREE EVENT but please email to reserve your place.

A finger buffet will be served before and after the lecture.
Printed copies of the lecture will be avilable for purchase on the day and thereafter from our shop.

The May Day Ceremony will follow on Saturday, 13 May. Dr Rachel Dickinson will present the May Monarch and his or her attendants with a selection of Ruskin's books.

Images: (left) the St Ursula window at Whitelands College, by Sir Edward Burne-Jones; (top right) Ruskin May Queen cross for May Queen Elizabeth Hughes, 1892. Designed by Arthur Severn. Whitelands College Archives; and (right) Revd Canon Dr David Peacock OBE.

Download the flier.

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Monday, 5th December, 1.30pm
'All Silk and Flame': John Ruskin and Wild Flora
A lecture by Prof David Ingram
The Florilegium Society, Sheffield Botanical Gardens

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Guild AGM and The Ruskin Lecture
Birmingham Midland Institute

This 2016 Guild AGM will be held at the Birmingham and Midland Institute on 5th November 2016 from 10.30 to 3.45. You can download the AGM papers, which includes a scheudle, agenda and booking form, by click here.

The Ruskin Lecture - The Sombre Robe': 'Ruskin and Birmingham - will be given by Companion Dr Bernard Richards, Emeritus Fellow, Brasenose College, Oxford.

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The Big Draw and Apple Day Celebration

Thursday 27th October to Saturday 29th October 11- 4

Come for ONE of three days to discover the delights of drawing, or celebrate Apple Day on Saturday in the Wyre Forest, all organised by the Wyre Community Land Trust

St Georges Farm, Ruskin Land, Bewdley.
Disabled parking only at St George’s Farm.
No dogs please. Stay for as long as you like!

Bring a picnic. Tea, juice and cake for sale.
Make charcoal and draw big horses.No experience necessary!
Fun for all the family.

On Saturday, make juice and identify apples.
Paint, draw and print with apples.
Booking essential : 01299488083

Click or tap on the poster below to watch a short video.

Monday, 3rd October 2016, 1pm
John Ruskin and Flora
A lecture by Prof David Ingram
Museums Sheffield

Companion Professor David Ingram will bring together his research and thoughts over recent years on the Guild's annotated botanical books (purchased in 2015), the Lancaster flower drawings, the gardens at Brantwood and Ruskin's study, Proserpina.

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Craftsmanship To-Day
A Symposium on Modern Making

Venue: Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT

Date: 24 September 2016
Cost: £25* (full price) includes refreshments and buffet lunch

*A concessionary rate of £20 is available to students and unwaged guests under the age of 65.

Troubled by the sense of an economy running ‘on thin air’, and by a trade system that routinely divides the design of a product from its production, a new generation of thinkers and makers are turning their attention to the human and material value of craftsmanship. Recent books on this subject include Paul Greenhalgh’s The Persistence of Craft (2002), Glenn Adamson’s Thinking Through Craft (2007), Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman (2009), Matthew Crawford’s The Case for Working With Your Hands, and Tanya Harrod’s The Real Thing: Essays on Making in the Modern World (2015). This symposium is designed to explore and extend such debates.

We will discuss the big questions (What is ‘craftsmanship’, and what do craftspeople stand for? Is craftsmanship a matter of the hand and the eye, or can it work in partnership with machines and computers? Is craftsmanship a matter of nostalgia, or can it survive in the modern world?). But we will reflect also on these matters in their practical dimension, as we hear modern craftspeople discuss the opportunities and challenges posed by different materials, and by different qualities of finish. In this way, the event combines the insights of theorists and thinkers with reports on the continuing experience of making.

The event is inspired by the ideas and ideals of John Ruskin, a Victorian art critic and social prophet, whose views on the ethical and human value of craftsmanship inspired William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. Ruskin was interested not only in the past of the crafts, but in their present practice: his stirring personal motto, ‘To-day’, is echoed in the title of this event. Organised by the Guild of St George, a charity for arts, crafts and the rural economy originally founded by Ruskin in 1871, it follows several successful symposia held in recent years:

  • How to Build an Ethical Economy: A Practical Conference for Life in the 21st Century (Mary Ward House, October 2015);
  • Education for Education’s Sake? (Toynbee Hall, October 2014)
  • Who Pays for the Environment? (Art Workers’ Guild, February 2012)
  • John Ruskin and the Modern World: Art and Economics, 1860-2010 (Art Workers’ Guild, February 2010).

Previous speakers have included Frank Field M.P., Prof. Dinah Birch, Melissa Benn, Sara Parkin, and Andrew Simms.

Programme Organiser: Dr Marcus Waithe, Magdalene College, Cambridge (

Event Organiser: Jenny Robbins (


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THE RUSKIN LECTURE 2016 — Prof. Sara Atwood: “‘A pile of feathers’: Valuing Education in a Market Society”

  • Thursday, September 1, 2016
  • 7:00pm 9:00pm
  • Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

The Ruskin Lecture — “‘A pile of feathers’: Valuing Education in a Market Society”

In recent years, the market has extended its reach ever more alarmingly into schools, universities, and educational reform initiatives. More and more, education is equated primarily with national and global economic success. Increased emphasis on testing, standardization, and measurement, a decrease in fine arts programs, and a growing tendency to treat students as consumers, point to a disturbing shift in our understanding of the value of education. At the same time, there is a growing lack of preparedness, curiosity, and cultural literacy amongst students. Today, disagreement persists about access, curricula, standards, teacher training and other subjects. Sara Atwood will consider how Ruskin’s ideas might productively inform our educational debates.

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The Levan Institute Lecture — Los Angeles, CA, LA.
Prof. Sara Atwood: "'From the king's son downwards': Modern Education and the Wisdom of the Hands"

  • Wednesday, August 31, 2016
  • 11:30am 1:30pm

“‘From the King’s son downwards’: Modern Education and the Wisdom of the Hands

During the 1990s, a calculated process of ‘de-skilling’ was aimed at preparing students for employment in the ‘information age,’ in which technology would supersede hand work. Today, this deliberately-imposed division between thinking and doing has only widened. This is of course a false and artificial division that ignores the vital importance of tactile learning—an essential element of education that complements, extends, and enriches academic study. The rejection of hand work is related to our utilitarian, market-driven educational model and to our faith in the power of technology. Ruskin proposed an alternative, integrative program of education in which intellectual, manual and ethical elements combine to form men and women capable of seeing the world around them clearly, governed by affection and fellowship, and well-fitted to work towards “a better world than this.” Today, our preoccupation with how to educate—with curricula, standards, targets, content delivery, and assessment—has skewed our understanding of why we educate. Sara Atwood will discuss the importance of hand work in education and the negative effects of its absence in modern mainstream schooling.

Co-sponsored by the Ruskin Art Club and the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics at the University of Southern California.

Lunch will be provided.

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Ruskin, Morris, and Beauty: The Importance of Arts and Crafts

A Roycroft Campus Mini-Conference

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The purpose of this mini-conference is to make the links between John Ruskin, William Morris, and the American Arts and Crafts Movement, begun at Roycroft in the 1890s by Elbert Hubbard, concrete. In modern times, these critical ties have been largely overlooked, but the truth is that, without Hubbard's intense study of and admiration for these two 19th Century Victorian giants, the Arts and Crafts Movement which currently thrives in North America all but surely would never have happened. All of the presentations and discussions at this event are designed to make these connections clear. A description of the conference events is below.

1:00-2:00 PM:

"Ruskin, Morris, Hubbard and the Beautiful Printed Word": a presentation by Alan Nowicki (Roycroft Campus) and Dr. Joseph Weber (Roycroft Campus) intended to explain how Hubbard's dedication to the production of the world's greatest books in beautiful editions, a need first championed by Ruskin and put into practice by Morris, helped transform the publishing industry in the United States. The talk will be held in the new Roycroft Print Shop which, over the course of the last half decade, has been recreated by Dr. Weber and his staff to resemble, as closely as possible, Hubbard's original Print Shop at Roycroft. Newly printed editions of Roycroft Press books will be on display and for sale.


"For the Love of Beauty: John Ruskin and the Alps": In this talk, Professor Emeritus of Sociology Jim Spates (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York) will explain how Ruskin's deep love of Nature motivated his life-long commitment to teaching those who read his books and attended his lectures not merely what Beauty was, but to generate in them a similar love of Nature and dedication to preserving it before the forces of modernity destroyed it altogether. The talk will be profusely illustrated with images of the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps (recently visited by Dr. Spates) which served as prime sources of Ruskin's inspiration.

3:45-5:00 PM:

"The Fortunate Fall: John Ruskin, William Morris and the Revival of Craftsmanship": The origin of the Arts and Crafts movement and its insistence on the necessity of beauty can be traced to John Ruskin’s book The Stones of Venice and its central chapter ‘On the Nature of Gothic’. Clive Wilmer, who teaches at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, will be arguing that Ruskin’s insistence on our innate imperfection as humans as the motive force behind all creativity derives from St Augustine’s doctrine of Original Sin. Strange though it may seem, this conviction leads ineluctably to William Morris’s conviction that ‘art is the expression of man’s pleasure in labour’ and, from that, to the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and North America.

Clive Wilmer is the current Master of The Guild of St. George, the organization created in the 1870s by Ruskin, the intent of which was to counter the ravages of rampant industrialization, while, at the same time, creating humane, environmentally friendly communities across the UK.

5:15-6:00 PM: Reception and Discussion.

A wine and cheese gathering, affording a chance for those attending to talk with the presenters will follow Clive Wilmer's lecture.

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Saturday, 25th June 2016, 10am-4pm
Working Towards a Sustainable World:
Inspired by Ruskin

No. 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH.

Tickets £5 per person (catering included)
Book Online
A roundtable event in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University.

This full-day roundtable features six speakers who are making a difference. They will share their stories of working to make a better, more sustainable society. The Victorian thinker John Ruskin has inspired each one.

Ruskin looked to the medieval past for inspiration and had a real impact on British – and global – culture in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. He inspired the arts and crafts pioneers Morris & Co.; the early Labour Party named him a major influence; Gandhi changed his life after reading Unto This Last. He was an early proponent of environmental awareness and ethical consumerism.

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Friday June 10th — Saturday June 11th 2016

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the gift by Margaret Knight of St George’s Field, a wildflower meadow in the Gloucestershire village of Sheepscombe.

The visit will start on Friday, June 10th. It will include a short talk about the history of the field, a guided walk with Companion Professor David Ingram and Natural England’s Kate Gamez. This will culminate in the unveiling of a new sign to commemorate 80 years of the field being in the Guild’s care. Commissioned by the Guild, it has been made of Wyre oak by carpenter Max Wassell, with lettering by Robert Cox. Companions are invited to a buffet dinner that evening at the Ruskin Studio at Uncllys Farm on Ruskin Land near Bewdley in the Wyre Forest.

On Saturday, June 11th we will take a tour of Beaucastle, the Gothic mansion built by the Guild’s patron and second Master, George Baker. The day will also include a visit to St George’s Farm, where Companions can see the newly-planted orchard of 150 trees, and hear an update on research and plans for forthcoming events on Ruskin Land from Companions Neil Sinden and Lynne Roberts.

As always we thank Director John Iles and his team for their hospitality.
(Car-parking is available at each location.)


Visit to Sheepscombe
Friday June 10th

12.15 Arrival. Park at the Ebworth Centre (National Trust) The Ebworth Centre is located on the B4070 road between Birdlip and Stroud, and is signposted from this road near the Foston's Ash pub. The postcode is GL6 7ES.

12.30 Lunch at the Ebworth Centre (£7.50 pp).
This will be followed by a short presentation about the history of the Field.

13.30 ½ mile walk to St George’s Field for a tour guided by Companion, plant scientist Professor David Ingram, author of Gardens of Brantwood, and Kate Gamez of Natural England.

15.00 Unveiling of the new sign to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the gift of the wildflower meadow to the Guild. Made of Wyre oak by Mac Wassell with lettering by Robert Cox.

15.15 Return to the Ebworth Centre for tea & cake and closing remarks.

16.00 Departure.

19.00 Buffet dinner in the Ruskin Studio, Uncllys Farm (£20pp)
(Uncllys Farm, Tanners Hill, Ruskin Land, Bewdley, Worcs, DY12 2LR.)

NB. Can anyone with mobility difficulties please let us know when booking so that we can arrange transport from the Ebworth Centre to St George’s Field..

Visit to Bewdley
Saturday June 11th

10.45 Arrival at Beaucastle for coffee and welcome.
(Beaucastle, Longbank, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY12 2QS.)

11.00 Beaucastle’s owners, Dale and Alex Parmeter, will lead a guided tour of the property.There will be an opportunity to see the carvings by sculptor and early Companion, Benjamin Creswick, and to learn more about George Baker who commissioned Beaucastle and donated land to the Guild in the Wyre Forest.

13.00 Lunch at the Ruskin Studio, Uncllys Farm (£7.50pp).
(Uncllys Farm, Tanners Hill, Ruskin Land, Bewdley, Worcs, DY12 2LR.)

14.00 Short walk to St George's Farm to see the property and progress on the planting of the new orchard of 150 trees. The visit will include updates from Companions Neil Sinden (on research into the early Wyre Companions) and Lynne Roberts (on the development of a Ruskin Land cultural programme)

15.30 Return to the Ruskin Studio for tea and cake, closing remarks and departure.

Download the PDF here.
Download the BOOKING FORM here.

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In Victorian England a favorite event was the Public Lecture. Topics of every kind were presented, and enjoyed by people of all kinds, gathering in city halls and library auditoriums. Some of the most celebrated lecturers could ensure that every seat was occupied, and among the most celebrated was John Ruskin (1819-1900), whose lectures on art and architecture (he was an early champion of Turner) educated audiences everywhere. He was a spell-binder - speaking with an attractive Scots burr - whose accepting an invitation to give a lecture was a feather in the cap of the successful sponsor. In 1864 the movers and shakers of the wool town on Bradford in Yorkshire invited him to speak as a critic of architecture about the Wool Exchange they proposed to build. The first sentences of his lecture must have taken them by surprise. The rest of the lecture must have been simply bewildering. Its message is as importat now as it was then. It is about the worship of "The Goddess of Getting-on."

The lecture, later published as "Traffic," lasted the customary 50-60 minutes; this abridgment takes about 20 minutes. It comes with an introduction, and a Q-and-A postlude. There is no charge for admission. Trinity Church Chapel, 371 Delaware Avenue. Tuesday, 24 May (Queen Victoria's 197th Birthday) at 7:30 p.m.

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Friday, 13th May 2016, 6pm for 6.30pm (the lecture is preceded by a free buffet)
Third Whitelands Ruskin Lecture
'What do you mean by dressing?' Ruskin and Dress
A lecture by Dr Rachel Dickinson
Whitelands College, University of Roehampton
Holybourne Avenue, London, SW15 4ID.


The Victorian polymath John Ruskin wanted to improve the world. One of the ways he shared his vision for a better society was through the ideas of cloth and clothing. This lecture starts with his question ‘What do you mean by dressing?’ It uses examples from across Ruskin’s writing, including his early plans for The Guild of St George (the charity Ruskin founded), to outline five lessons: Question and redefine common cultural assumptions; Recognise that economics and aesthetics are intertwined; Use art to teach: here, a model for a well-dressed society; We should all learn Ruskinian ‘dress-making’; and, We must actively make the world more beautiful. It concludes with the contemporary example of Whitelands College and the continuing tradition that each May Monarch chooses a charity to support. The outgoing May Monarch’s chosen charity, War Child, embodies Ruskin’s vision of actively helping to improve the world by teaching, feeding, sheltering those in need – and making what Ruskin would call a ‘well-dressed’ society.

Dr Rachel Dickinson is a Principal Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is based at the Cheshire Faculty in Crewe, where she teaches English literature in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. Her current research is on Ruskin and textiles, as well as using Ruskin as a source of inspiration in thinking about twenty-first century problems. She is a Director of The Guild of St George.

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6th - 21sy May 2016
open daily, Noon till 6pm

John Ruskin Prize exhibition
Recording Britain Now: Society

Electricians' Shop, Trinity Buoy Wharf [venue website]

Private View and Launch:
Thursday, 5th May 6-9pm
FREE RSVP online

An exhibition of the artists' work shortlisted for the 2015 John Ruskin Prize.

Read about the 3rd John Ruskin Prize here.

For events before April 2016 click here.