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networks:rsaengage [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# Doubly inspired by #RSAengage - great #FRSA projects and potentially @thersaorg cooperative ecology
 +
 +I was doubly inspired yesterday to re-engage with the [RSA](https://​www.thersa.org) through an evening of drinks, chat and lightning project presentations from Fellows.
 +
 +![RSAengage](/​uploads/​rsaengage.jpg)
 +
 +The seven projects were inspiring enough in themselves, ranging from a Global Thought Map to a festival of sense-stimulating events, and tech solutions to help refugees. [Details here of RSA Engage London](https://​www.thersa.org/​events/​fellowship-events/​2016/​9/​rsa-engage-london--5-september).
 +
 +Taken together with the RSA’s broader vision for social action - explained in this excellent animation -  they gave me some ideas about how, through the RSA, to explore spreading ideas and supporting action through a mix of events and social media. This will make more sense if you first spare a moment to view the animation - [What is the RSA?​](https://​youtu.be/​cqw70hT_ANU)
 +
 +<iframe width="​560"​ height="​315"​ src="​https://​www.youtube.com/​embed/​cqw70hT_ANU"​ frameborder="​0"​ allowfullscreen></​iframe>​
 +
 +RSA = Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, founded 1754. Fellows broadly = members. [More here](https://​www.thersa.org)
 +
 +I’ve been a Fellow, on and off, since 2007 when the new chief executive, Matthew Taylor, first set out a vision for engaging both staff and Fellows in a programme of research, publications,​ events, networking, and projects large and small.
 +
 +A group of Fellows set up OpenRSA to complement the staff-led initiatives,​ as you can see from [our blog 2007-09](http://​openrsa.blogspot.co.uk).
 +There were then a few bumps over the years, and some early enthusiasts dropped out, including me for a time. I felt it wasn’t too clear whether Fellows, through their fees, were there to support the projects and research run by staff, and/or whether RSA should be doing more to support the Fellows, like a membership body.
 +
 +At yesterday’s event Fellows I spoke to seemed pretty happy with the current mix … with a few looking at more ways to get involved. Of course the networking juice = free drinks helped.
 +
 +The project presentations offered one route, with opportunities in cash and kind. RSA offers [grants and help](https://​www.thersa.org/​fellowship/​project-support) for Fellows wishing to start their own projects, and there is an interesting crowdfunding initiative called [Crowdpatch](http://​www.crowdpatch.co.uk/​) that combines funding, volunteering and local networking.
 +
 +The RSA website is is rich in research and reports, blog posts about projects, and has a find a Fellow facility. What isn’t there is the [original vision]((http://​openrsa.blogspot.co.uk/​2007/​12/​2008-here-we-come-where-next-for-rsa.html) of an online platform enabling Fellows to connect across interests and projects.
 +
 +That sort of all-in-one online community probably isn’t feasible these days, when people have so many options through Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. But I do wonder if more could be done to help Fellows fulfil the vision in the animation: acting as global advocates, accessing RSA resources, developing ideas for action, and collaborating.
 +
 +At the moment the blog posts don’t attract many comments, and while there is a fair amount of tweeting around events this doesn’t seem to consolidate into conversation. A database of Fellows is fine … but you also need to see who is saying and doing what. That involves encouraging people to share what they are interested in, and what they are doing, beyond a static profile.
 +
 +So - might there be any interest within RSA staff and Fellowship in some network building, doing more to connect people, ideas and projects? If so, I think the key would be to identify and support the equivalent of community connectors and agents of change [that I wrote about here](http://​socialreporter.com/?​p=2421).
 +
 +A few years ago there was a network of RSA digital champions, [as this page shows](https://​www.thersa.org/​discover/​publications-and-articles/​rsa-blogs/​2013/​07/​how-can-you-make-the-most-of-your-rsa-regional-digital-champions),​ but I couldn’t find anything more recent. I did hear yesterday from one staff member about support for storytelling by Fellows, which sounded really interesting. I would like to know more.
 +
 +Either way, I think the RSA continues to be a fantastic testbed for developing the cooperative and collabotative social ecologies we need in local communities,​ nationally and internationally. I’ll find out more about what’s happening and report back.
 +
 +Meanwhile thanks to Mark Hall, the London regional manager, and Hannah Pater, Senior Development Manager for organising and hosting such an engaging evening.
  
networks/rsaengage.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)