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Ruskin's Manchester: From 'Devil's Dark' to Beacon City


  • Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections All Saints, Manchester M15 6BH United Kingdom (map)

Dates: Monday 20 May– Friday 9 August 2019

Times: Monday - Friday 10.00 - 16.00, Saturday 12.00 - 16.00 (term time only)

Location: Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections

Tickets: Free - Just turn up.


Celebrating the bicentenary of Victorian writer artist and social thinker John Ruskin’s birth (1819-1900), this exhibition is inspired by ‘The Unity of Art’ lecture he gave at the Manchester School of Art (1859). It considers the importance of art education, introduces Ruskin and his role in popular culture, and traces the influence of Ruskinian Gothic on Manchester’s architecture and culture.

This is part of the Festival of Ruskin in Manchester 2019. The festival and exhibition will form part of the REF2021 impact case study on Gothic, and Dickinson is a member of CELL.

The exhibition has been curated by Dr Rachel Dickinson, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University and Director of Education of Ruskin’s Guild of St. George. Rachel is Principal Lecturer in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she has taught across the English curriculum from medieval through to twenty-first century literature. Her approach to the gothic is through Ruskinian Gothic as theorised by Victorian polymath John Ruskin. His gothic is multidisciplinary, and so is her research, which includes architecture, art, dress, education, life-writing, sustainability and textiles, all framed through Ruskinian Gothic. She is the author of John Ruskin’s Correspondence with Joan Severn (Legenda/Routledge) and serves on editorial boards, including the Journal of Victorian Culture (OUP). Passionate about engagement, she is Director of Education for Ruskin’s Guild of St George, regularly gives public lectures and talks on Ruskin, was named a judge of the John Ruskin Prize for Art 2017 and 2019, and is co-ordinator of the Festival of Ruskin in Manchester 2019.