BSFA Lecture 2016: “Crafting the Future: Ruskin, Textiles and Visions of Futures Past”

Ruskin lectureThe 2016 BSFA Lecture will be delivered by Rachel Dickinson (Manchester Metropolitan University) at Mancunicon, the 2016 Eastercon. She will speak on “Crafting the Future: Ruskin, Textiles and Visions of Futures Past”. It will take place on Saturday 26 March, at 11:30 am in Deansgate 3 at the Hilton Deansgate, Manchester. It is open to any member of Mancunicon. (Please note that Mancunicon is no longer selling memberships, and if you are not a member you may not attend the Lecture.)

The Victorian cultural critic John Ruskin was deeply concerned that unchecked industrialisation and unfettered capitalism would lead to environmental destruction and widespread dehumanisation of individuals. He looked at problems stemming from technological advances going on around him in the Nineteenth Century, then looked to the medieval past in order to speculate alternative paths forward from his present, that might lead to a better, more sustainable future. This lecture focuses on how Ruskin uses the making and wearing of textiles to discuss political economy and to inspire change. It pays particular attention to craft and making, and the way we make and define ourselves through the clothing we wear.

Rachel Dickinson is Principal Lecturer in Research & Knowledge Exchange in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, at their Cheshire Campus. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Lancaster, and her M.A. at the University of Western Ontario. She is an expert in the work of John Ruskin, and has edited John Ruskin’s Correspondence with Joan Severn: Sense and Nonsense Letters (2009). She is also a fan of manga and anime such as Ghost in the Shell.

The BSFA Lecture is intended as a companion to the George Hay Lecture, which is presented at the Eastercon by the Science Fiction Foundation. Where the Hay Lecture invites scientists, the BSFA Lecture invites academics from the arts and humanities, because we recognise that science fiction fans aren’t only interested in science.  The lecturers are given a remit to speak “on a subject that is likely to be of interest to science fiction fans” – i.e. on whatever they want!  This is the ninth BSFA Lecture.

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