A Companions event on Ruskin Land
Our first 'live' event for Companions for more than two years, a day for wide-ranging discussion, learning, entertainment & social interaction.
We are so pleased to be able to welcome Companions back to Ruskin Land, in partnership with our friends and colleagues at the Wyre Community Land Trust. We are also grateful to those Companions and friends who came forward to offer an activity of some kind, which adds variety and intrigue to the programme. Above all, it is a chance for Companions to share each other's company again, and spend time together in the beautiful , peaceful and fruitful surroundings of Ruskin Land.
On offer will be guided walks with John Iles and Mark Cleaver, a talk and demonstration at the Sawmill, and the chance to hear from the new tenants of St George's Bungalow about growing native wild flowers as pollinators. There will be a life writing workshop led by Suzanne Fagence Cooper, a drawing session focussed around wellbeing, led by Kate Mason and Anna Netri; and a workshop led by Jenine McGaughran and Juneau Projects, gathering your thoughts to help build an interactive Ruskinian map.
There will also be talks from: Robert Somerville on 'Elms for the Future'; Prof John Holmes on the developing relationship between Ruskin Land and the University of Birmingham; Mark Cleaver talking about the Guild's environmental priorities; Peter Burman reflecting on the Venice conference and online readings; Rachel Dickinson on Companionship, and a short presentation from the Guild and WCLT about imagining the purpose and long-term possibilities for a future building on Ruskin Land. Saturday evening will end with a very special event at sunset in the Dragon's Nest, one of the timber structures left from the Studio in the Woods residencies, where PhD student Dion Dobrzynski will lead an evening of Elvish Storytelling.
There will also be a Guild bookshop, with facility for card payments, provided by Martin Green, including a brand new refreshed edition of Ruskin and Bewdley.
On Sunday morning, Robert Somerville is offering a workshop for up to 4 people to learn how to make timber-frame oak pegs, and there will be further opportunities to walk the land with those who know it best.
You can read more about some of these sessions further down this page. Where there are limited numbers for a session, we will ask Companions to sign up, first come, first served, on arrival.
Saturday 23rd April
On Saturday, the programme will begin at midday, and you were welcome to arrive from 11.30 onwards, parking at Uncllys Farm. For directions and SatNav, the address is: Uncllys Farm, Ruskin Land, Tanners Hill, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY12 2LR.
At midday there will be three short introductory talks before lunch; after lunch, everyone will be invited to walk to St George's Farm, where the afternoon's activities will begin with the planting of an Aspen tree in memory of former Guild Master and distinguished Ruskinian Jim Dearden, by two of his granddaughters. There will then be activities, tours and talks between 2 and 6.30pm, with a break for tea and cake midway.
The programme will then pause for a pizza supper (with vegetarian and vegan options) with wine in the barn at Uncllys Farm This is optional and can be booked for a separate charge (see below).Otherwise, please bring your own food for the evening.
At approx 7.30pm, there will be an evening walk to the timber Dragon's Nest, and the programme will end around 9-9.30pm.
Sunday 24th April
On the Sunday morning, anyone who lives nearby or chooses to stay locally is very welcome to join us back on Ruskin Land from 10.30am, for an informal morning of walks and a workshop. The programme will end at midday.
WEATHER AND CLOTHING
There will be shelter for activities where possible, and the day will go ahead whatever the weather, but we may have to amend the programme if the weather is poor. Please bring stout footwear and come prepared for all eventualities. If you are staying into the evening, a torch might also be useful.
BOOKING YOUR PLACE(S)
The Guild is making a modest charge for the day to cover our basic costs and so that we can plan with confidence for the numbers of people who commit to attending. The £10 cost for the day will include your lunch, drinks and afternoon tea/cake. As the resources on Ruskin Land do not allow for unlimited numbers, there is a maximum of two tickets per person/household. Children are welcome.
If you would like to sign up for the evening pizza supper (meat, vegetarian & vegan options) with wine, that is a separate cost of £15. Please book for this separately via Eventbrite HERE.
Ruskin Land extends over uneven ground, woodland and tracks. There will be a vehicle that can offer lifts between Uncllys and St George's Farms, a walk along a track of about 15 minutes, for anyone who would be unable to manage it unaided. If you have any other access needs or questions, please get in touch in advance via firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Robbins has kindly pulled together a list of local accommodation options. See below.
The nearest train station is Kidderminster, and there are buses from Kidderminster to Bewdley, after which there is a short walk out to Ruskin Land.
The buses run from near the Tesco in the town centre, a 10 min walk from the station. Stand number 6 for buses to Bewdley.
The number 8 to Bewdley runs on the hour; it goes to Hales Park, an estate 5 mins walk from the Hop Pole Inn, which is half an hour's walk to Uncllys Farm. To get closest to the Hop Pole Inn you need the 292 to Ludlow run by Diamond buses. These run every 2 hours. The number 125 to Bridgnorth runs on the half hour but you have to alight in the middle of Bewdley and walk from there. There are no buses after 6 pm and none on a Sunday!
More information here.
MORE DETAILS OF THE PROGRAMME (in no particular order)
'The View from Here: Life Writing workshop'. With Companion Suzanne Fagence Cooper
A sense of place or a remembered view are often the starting points for Ruskin's retelling of his personal history. These themes will act as the framework for a practical workshop in life-writing. We will consider our connections to the countryside, cityscapes or gardens, as stepping stones to discovering and structuring our own stories. Limited to 16 people, sign up on the day.
Companion Suzanne Fagence Cooper is a writer, lecturer and curator based in York. Her publications include 'Effie Gray', 'To See Clearly: Why Ruskin Matters' and (forthcoming) 'How we might live: At Home with Jane and William Morris.
Juneau Projects At Ruskin Land - with Companion Jenine McGaughlan
Join Juneau Projects on the Companions Day to help them create an interactive map of Ruskin-related facts and anecdotes, and share your thoughts, knowledge and advice for working collaboratively to connect Ruskin Land and Bewdley.
Between April – October 2022 Juneau Projects will work across Bewdley and the Wyre Forest to explore the utopian roots that inspired early companions to settle in Ruskin Land and the relevance these ideas have in relation to contemporary environmental and ecological concerns. They are working with Companion Jenine McGaughlan, resident in Bewdley, who was one of the five recipients of the Guild's 150th Anniversary grants.
Juneau Projects will work with local groups through workshops and events to create a publication that links the utopian ideals that established Ruskin Land with our contemporary connection to the natural world, while mapping a physical route between Bewdley and Ruskin Land.
Gather at sunset in the Dragon's Nest for an evening of Elvish storytelling. With Dion Dobrzynski
After Dion has read from the Lothlorien chapter of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, as the light of the sun is setting on the trees, attendees will be invited to look into 'the mirror of Galadriel' to share their stories or reflections on the past, present, or future. Dion Dobrzynski is an English Literature PhD student at the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) working in collaboration with Ruskin Land on a project examining the representation of forest ecology in fantasy literature.
An informal art/drawing session led by Kate Mason, supported by Anna Netri
A relaxed drawing session focussed around wellbeing, mindfulness and encouraging confidence in mark making.