Ruskin 200

2019 is the bicentenary of the visionary art critic, writer, artist and thinker John Ruskin (8 Feb 1819 – 20 Jan 1900). There are a number of exhibitions, lectures, conferences, community projects and other events taking place in the UK and internationally throughout the year in celebration and acknowledgement of the lasting impact of this unique 19th century polymath.

Birmingham School of Art is delighted to join in the celebration, with a series of talks and events uncovering John Ruskin’s legacy in Birmingham. These celebrate the interconnections of art, nature, politics and wellbeing.

Upcoming events involving Birmingham School of Art include:

Ruskin in Birmingham trail

May 2019 – March 2020

This heritage trail links Birmingham’s Ruskinian institutions, for while Ruskin visited the city only once his legacy still resonates. Delivered in collaboration with Argent College / Ruskin Mill Trust.

Art after Nature’s Future: John Ruskin’s Legacy for the Contemporary World and its Art (TBC)

6 January – 16 March 2020

This newly commissioned Birmingham School of Art exhibition brings Ruskin’s ecological utopianism into the current moment via a contemporary art trail and associated events. Artist-curated by Franziska Schenk in collaboration with partners across the city.

Truth to Nature: The Art of Iridescence

31 January - 25 February 2020

Contemporary artist Franziska Schenk uses nano-pigment technology to depict the iridescent colour of Nature. This exhibition takes its theme from John Ruskin’s call for artists to ‘go to Nature, rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing’ and his attack on Darwin’s theory of evolution.

More details

Exhibition programme

All events are free and open to the general public.

You can download the Birmingham Ruskin trail map here, which also explains events going on around the city.

For more information, you can visit the John Ruskin 200 website, or use the #Ruskin200 on all social media channels.

Previous events include

Open Heritage Week: Ruskin at Highbury Hall

15 – 20 September 2019


View poster here

Birmingham School of Art presents ‘Art after Nature: Days of Future Past’ (15-20 Sept 19), a themed exhibition celebrating famous Victorian art-critic and social reformer John Ruskin whose prescient ecological vision, in particular, still resonates. This nature-themed art exhibition, brings together the work of current students with that of professional artists - all alumni of the School. Delivered as part of the wider ‘Ruskin 200’ celebrations at Highbury Hall, the exhibition opens on Sunday, 15 Sept, with a high-profile event also featuring stands and displays by other local groups and organisations.

Delivered in collaboration with Chamberlain Highbury Trust, ‘Art after Nature’ does form part of ‘Heritage Open Days’ and also ‘Birmingham Heritage Week’, thus affording the public with the added opportunity to look round Highbury otherwise closed to them. Notably, the Hall provides an apt setting for the exhibition as Highbury and Birmingham School of Art were both designed by the same nature-inspired architect, namely J.H. Chamberlain - a self-proclaimed Ruskin-disciple.

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