John Ruskin Art Prize in the UK

The John Ruskin Prize is a multi-disciplinary art prize in the UK.  With the values of the radical C19th polymath John Ruskin at its core, the Ruskin Prize has a growing reputation for supporting and promoting artists, designers and makers whose work defies easy categorisation.


The Prize was inaugurated in 2012 by The Guild of St. George and visual literacy charity, The Big Draw. Organised and delivered by The Big Draw, the prize aims to reflect a central thread of John Ruskin’s thought; as a writer and artist – and as an impassioned critic, not only of art but of society and life – he believed that art has the power to reveal and celebrate universal truths, and that a good artist and maker in any medium should always be guided by that search.



Over the years, the prize has grown to embrace John Ruskin’s polymathic sensibilities. In 2017, with the theme: Hand & Eye: Master of All Trades the remit of the prize expanded to welcome entries from artists, designers and makers focusing on the strengths of interdisciplinary practice. For 2024, the prize expands further to welcome entries from photographers and artists in all disciplines from around the world.


John Ruskin (1819-1900) was a writer, artist, social critic and philanthropist, someone influential enough to attract praise from figures as varied as Tolstoy, George Eliot, Proust and Gandhi. He championed many of the tenets of the welfare state, and inspired the founders of the National Health Service, the formation of Public Libraries, the National Trust and many other cornerstones of civil society. His influence reached abroad in such areas as women’s education, the minimum wage, child labour, and environmental protection and has served both as a restraining influence on unbridled capitalism and a moral conscience for the nations of the world.


He wrote and spoke on a dizzying variety of subjects: art and architecture, nature and craftsmanship, literature and religion, political economy and social justice. He also worked tirelessly for a better society; the depth and range of his thinking, his fierce critique of industrial society and its impact on both people and their environment, and his passionate advocacy of a sustainable relationship between people, craft and nature, remain as pertinent today as they were in his own lifetime.


In 1871 he founded the Guild of St George to right some of the social wrongs of the day and make England a happier and more beautiful place in which to live and work. Today, the Guild is an educational charity with members (Companions) around the world who share Ruskin’s values, interests and concerns.

Contest Theme: Seeing the Unseen, Hearing the Unspoken

Deadline: 20 September 2023 | 5pm BST

Accepted mediums:

The Prize welcomes works in all mediums, including drawing, painting, print, sculpture, photography, textile, animation, mixed media, digital, performance, installation and more


The selection panel will shortlist up to 40 artists and select work for inclusion in an exhibition titled ‘Seeing the Unseen, Hearing the Unspoken,’ scheduled for Trinity Buoy Wharf in London from 1 to 18 February 2024.

Five winners will receive prizes totalling £8,000: a 1st Prize of £3,000, 2nd Prize of £2,000, The Alan Davidson Under 26 Prize of £1,000, International Prize of £1,000, and The 2024 Kate Mason Prize for Innovation of £1,000.

Application link

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