The John Ruskin Prize 2017: master of all trades

‘Polymath artworks add up to an impressive shortlist’
— Yorkshire Post, 21.06.17

Shortlist Exhibition

21st June – 8th October 2017 | Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

Preview & Prize Giving: 6 - 8pm, Tuesday 20th June 2017

About the shortlist: Selected from over 1000 entries, the final shortlist of 26 artists, makers and innovators responded to the call for contemporary Polymaths with work that defies categorisation, dissolves boundaries and has a joyous disregard for the conventions of their chosen materials and disciplines. The artist / scientist parallel is apparent in the shortlist but there is also evidence of traditional craft combined with social commentary, skilful material manipulation and a visual wit within the selected artworks.

‘This year’s theme for The John Ruskin Prize, which placed the artist centre stage as modern-day Polymath, seemed to resonate strongly with the current zeitgeist and mood. For the first time it enabled artists whose work was interdisciplinary and more fluid to submit, and resulted in a huge number of high quality applications from which it was a real challenge to shortlist.

The shortlisted artists’ work not only acts as a mirror to reflect recent political and social change but also presents an exhibition which we hope Ruskin, if alive today would enjoy visiting. The work offers both a contemporary and traditional interpretation of the polymath theme as well as exploring the quirky, playful and beautiful’.
— Kate Mason, Director, The Big Draw and member of the 2017 selection panel

The john ruskin prize 2017: Master of all trades

From over 1100 entries and a shortlist of 26, 3 winners of The John Ruskin Prize 2017 were announced by The Big Draw and the Guild of St. George during an award ceremony hosted by Museums Sheffield at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield on 20 June 2017.

The winners are:

1st Prize: Rosa Nguyen (£3000), 2nd Prize: Bethan Lloyd Worthington (£1000), Student & Graduate Award winner: Fi Smart (£1000).


The 2017 prize finalists:  Louisa Boyd, Holly Brodie, Nuala Clooney, Andrew Ekins, Erin Dickson, Paul Hazelton, Marielle Hehir, Anne Howeson, Rebecca Ilett, Shelley James, Debbie Lawson, Emily Lazerwitz, Sue Lawty, Bethan Lloyd Worthington, Hugh Miller, Rosa Nguyen, Kyle Noble, Briony O Clarke, Sumi Perera, Shauna Richardson, Conor Rogers, Fi Smart, Serena Smith, Harland Viney, Simon Ward & Robert Mach, and Ray Winder.

This years prize celebrates the ‘Artist as Polymath’ and attracted a record number of submissions from fine artists, makers and craftspeople from across the UK.

The Prize

The 4th John Ruskin Prize invited entries from emerging and established artists and makers aged 18 or over living in the United Kingdom. With a total prize fund of £5000, £3000 was awarded to the winner, and £1000 awarded to both the Second Prize and Student Prize & Recent Graduate winners.

Winners were announced on Tuesday 20th June 2017 at a private view and prize-giving ceremony at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield. The critically acclaimed shortlist exhibition, Master of all Trades, attracted a record audience of over 44,000 visitors during the exhibition 21st June – 8th October 2017, and provided a contemporary counterpart to The Ruskin Collection, which is cared for by Museums Sheffield and on display at the Millennium Gallery.

The members of The John Ruskin Prize 2017 selection panel were: Kirstie Hamilton (Head of Exhibitions & Displays, Museums Sheffield), Zachary Eastwood-Bloom (Sculptor), Mandy Payne (Artist), Julia Bell (Former Head of Partnerships, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art), Dr Rachel Dickinson (Director for Education, Guild of St. George / Principal Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University), and Kate Mason (Director, The Big Draw). See more on the 2017 selection panel here.