The selection panel has been announced for the John Ruskin Prize 2019, which will be centred on the theme ‘agent of change’.

Coinciding with Ruskin200, a UK and international celebration marking the bicentenary of the artist and critic’s birth, there will be three prizes awarded: A first prize of £3,000, second prize of £1,000 and a student prize of £1,000.

The selection panel for the fifth edition of the prize features three artists: Barbara Walker MBE, Hew Locke, and Jessie Brennan. They were specifically chosen due to their socially and politically-engaged practices which address issues including identity, race, social class, the urban environment and gentrification.

Birmingham-based artist Barbara Walker‘s practice addresses the underrepresentation of black figures in Western history. She was recently awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

Meanwhile, London-based sculptor Hew Locke explores the languages of colonial and post-colonial power. His work is held in various high-profile collections, including Tate, Arts Council England, The National Trust, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

London-based artist Jessie Brennan‘s research-led practice features drawing, photography, installation, performance, film, writing and publications. She explores the ‘inter-relations between people and places, informed by their social and political contexts’.

The panel will draw up a shortlist of 25 artists whose work will feature in an exhibition at The Holden Gallery, Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, this summer.

The show will be accompanied by a programme exploring Ruskin’s teachings and the role of artists as societal change makers, observers, political and environmental commentators and innovators.

Reflecting Ruskin’s belief in the strength of multidisciplinary practice, applications are open to artists, designers, architects and makers, at all stages of their careers, and currently living in the UK.

Since the prize launched in 2012, there have been four national prizes, with £15,000 in prizes awarded to eight winning artists. Of 3,000 applications, the work of 102 shortlisted artists and designers has been displayed.

Previous first prize winners include Rosa Nguyen (2017), Laura Oldfield Ford (2015/16), Maggie Hargreaves (2014), and Carol Wyss (2012).

The 5th John Ruskin Prize: Agent of Change opens for entries on 8 February 2019.

Jessie Brennan, If This Were to Be Lost, 2016, painted birch plywood on scaffold, 1.9 x 19 m, situated at The Green Backyard, Peterborough. Photo: Jessie Brennan

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