Ruskin Walks are the brainchild of Martin Fidler, an artist, former teacher and keen walker. The walks are led by Martin and his collaborator Andrew Stuck of Rethinking Cities. They are inspired by the work of art critic and polymath John Ruskin. Each walk gives participants a chance to see the city around them anew through the eyes of Ruskin.
WALKING IN THE CITY
The programme of city walks link John Ruskin’s ideas about Victorian life, work and well being with our similar interests in the physical, social and recreational aspects of contemporary life in London. The walks explore the broad aspects of geography, history and social life in an urban environment with its streets, parks, museums, and both lost and emerging spaces.
Martin created the Ruskin Walks to broaden his experience as an artist and teacher, and bring people together to look at their local urban and suburban areas. Ruskin’s interest in geology, botany, social housing, art and architecture are echoed by people being invited to pursue a variety of activities: discussion, note taking, and sketching in ‘walkie talkie’ journals kept by participants to record the walks.
During the Camberwell Arts Festival in 2007 Martin organised and led a walking and drawing workshop around John Ruskin’s haunts in Camberwell. This workshop linked history, art and the local community together. The sketching group explored Ruskin’s ideas on the social history of art using specially made sketch books.They drew buildings, church stained glass windows, plants, chased butterflies and recorded views of the sky over London in words and images.
The scope and range of the walks are constantly updated and developed through Martin’s partnership with Andrew Stuck. Andrew’s interest in walking and its use in national health and planning strategies has helped temper and forge an exciting direction for the enjoyment of walking. To date, there have been walks in Camberwell and Clerkenwell, with a particular focus on geology, and further walks in new areas and on different aspects of Ruskin’s work are planned.