Conference: Ruskin in the 21st Century

Celebrating Imperfection: John Ruskin and the Creative Arts in the 21st Century

‘No human face is exactly the same in its lines on each side, no leaf perfect in its lobes, no branch in its symmetry… To banish imperfection is to destroy expression…to paralyze vitality.’  (‘On the Nature of Gothic Architecture’)

Ruskin’s engagement with the creative arts, including fine art, architecture and writing, has led him to become one of the most influential figures of the nineteenth century. His significance endures today, and to celebrate his work and continuing importance in creative work in the 21st century 200 years after his birth, MIVSS and Birmingham City University with the support of BAVS present a one-day interdisciplinary conference aimed at researchers including postgraduates in all disciplines.

The event will include keynote addresses from Dr Colin Trodd (Manchester) and Professor Sandra Kemp (Director, Ruskin Library, Lancaster), a range of panels, a workshop on teaching Ruskin, an opportunity to examine early Birmingham School of Art work inspired by Ruskin, and a ‘re-reading group’, which will encourage discussion and close reading. An exhibition of student art work inspired by Ruskin will also be on display, and the event will close with a drinks reception and poetry reading in the exhibition space.

The conference will take place on Friday 17th May, 2019 at the School of Art, Birmingham City University. Papers are invited which engage with Ruskin’s creative legacy in a number of ways:

  1. Ruskin and modern architecture
  2. Ruskin and the fine arts
  3. Ruskin’s social legacy
  4. Ruskin and writing
  5. Modern representations of Ruskin
  6. Ruskin’s influence on other writers of the nineteenth century

Please send abstracts of 300 words plus a 100-word biography to Serena Trowbridge ( by April 8th 2019.

This conference is kindly supported by the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS):

CFP Celebrating Imperfection_poster2

John Ruskin, by J E Millais (c) Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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