Anyway, enough politics -it’s my birthday today so I want to talk about more cheerful matters.
I mentioned earlier in the week how, at a conference organised by Homeless Link, I had interviewed some people recovering from terrible problems. One of the things that struck me about what they said was the role of creativity in helping their recovery. So for one woman in particular enrolling in a creative writing workshop had transformed her capacity for self-expression and increased her self-confidence.
I was reminded of this again by a fantastic article by Anne Karpf in The Guardian on Wednesday, in which she described the work of John Zeisel, a visiting professor at Salford University. He has been exploring ways in which design can help people suffering from Alzheimers and has designed a number of innovative care homes which have resulted in material improvements in the well-being and safety of patients with dementia.
Examples like this underline the importance of links between creativity and design and individual and collective well-being. It is an area the RSA has looked at before and is doing so again. As we align our activities around the core idea of ‘citizens for the future’, this is a rich seam for us to mine.
Public services, commercial corporations and spontaneous social movements: what's the power they all lack? How might public service reform not flounder through shoehorning dynamism into a universalist and planned approach? How might businesses become genuinely socially responsible rather than merely intoning fine sounding rhetoric?