The answer lies with John Ruskin himself, who considered the uses of photography to be distinctly limited. Whilst he embraced one early form of 'photography' -- the daguerreotype, which stored images on plates that could not be reproduced -- he was not keen on paper photography which could be endlessly reproduced from negatives. Ruskin valued the daguerreotype as a useful tool for capturing clear images of (often threatened) buildings whose fine architectural details he wanted to record. He sometimes used the images as a source for his own drawings, and encouraged other artists to do the same. Photography was in the early stages of its development when Ruskin was active, and he did not see it as an art form in itself. Although photographers would frame the image, they did not interpret it as an artist would, so the form satisfied the eye but not the hand, and the theme of this year's Prize is Hand AND Eye.


Yes, we accept entries from both individual artists and makers and those working as a collective.  On application, please provide the name of the collective as your artist name.  If you were to be selected as part of the shortlist and go on to win a monetary prize, the amount would have to be shared by the artists' comprising the collective.

3. I am not a UK National, but I work here, can I apply?

Yes.  The John Ruskin Prize 2017 is open to artists, designers and makers, both amateur and professional, of all nationalities, aged 18 and over, resident, studying or currently making work or with work represented in the UK. 


Yes, we are accepting work in both new and traditional media and work that combines the two.  We aren't accepting 'pure' lens based media: Photography and Film, but we are accepting work that includes photographic elements that has been manipulated or collaged, similarly, we are accepting installation or sculptural work with film / animation elements.

If you make process-led or performative work that is recorded by film or animation or can be considered as drawing these works are also accepted.

Keep in mind: Hand and Eye.

5. Can you explain the 2017 theme?

The theme for 2017 aims to highlight the idea of 'The Artist as Polymath'. It is wide open to interpretation by artists wishing to enter the prize, but by choosing it we hoped to look at the history of many artists (not least Ruskin himself) that have chosen not to specialise in one field, but to pursue diverse skills in many areas. This is also reflected in the choice to open submissions this year to include 2D and 3D fine art disciplines as well as avenues of craft, design, and to makers of all kinds - as well as artists who employ elements of fine art and craft.

In addition, the title is a play on words, reflecting the unfairly derogatory saying 'Jack of All Trades, Master of None', meaning one who doesn't choose a single specialism and instead decides to diversify. We believe this diversification leads to innovation. Read the Press Release here for more.

6. I'm not a fine artist, can I still apply?

Yes! In 2017, in celebration of our theme which explores both artists and makers as multi-skilled Polymaths (as Ruskin himself was) we are inviting entries from artists, makers and craftspeople. The prize aims to attract entries from a range of artists/ makers who employ a multi-disciplinary approach to their practice or who are inspired by a range of subjects.

7. I would like to enter work that was not made recently, can I still submit?

Yes, work entered can be made recently, be older work or made specifically for the prize.  There are no restrictions with regard to when work was made, it is more important that submitted works consider the theme.