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  • Fellowship
  • Fellowship in Action

RSA Comment offers a unique platform for Fellows to share arguments for change. New editor John Rennie explains what the platform is for, what it’s not, and why we want more of you to join the conversation

RSA Comment was born as a response to Fellows’ demands for a space where they and others could share their arguments and ideas about the RSA’s core work. We already have the Journal of course, with updates on Fellows’ and project activity, and features by a diversity of thinkers and writers, all relevant to the RSA’s mission.

But Comment is different. Its aim is to give Fellows (some of us might not be active bloggers or writers) a space to write one-off pieces where we can pick up on the work of the RSA, bring in our own ideas and arguments for change. It aims to reflect and draw on the diversity of expertise, experience and professional knowledge in the Fellowship. To take just a few successful examples, in recent months, we’ve had pieces on the need for new business models in a fast-changing world, how the organisations of the future can relearn lessons from the generations who’ve gone before, and an argument for rethinking the whole way we do economics, to build a ‘societal economy’.

Or you might use a Comment piece to expand on the ideas shared at a Fellows event, such as this piece on creating an inclusive employment future for disabled people, or from this interactive online event, Inclusive work: what are we learning? But Comment would not be the best place for an event recap. Just a handful of examples, and there are many more, as Fellows write about their own work in furthering the vision and mission of the RSA, heading to ‘a future that works for everyone. A future where we can all participate in its creation’.

While content is intentionally broad, all pieces have to add something to the RSA’s themes: lifelong learning health and social care, sustainability, place based innovation, future of work, social innovation and enterprise, and understanding and building human capacity.

There are a few simple rules about what Comment is, and what it isn’t. You’ll find detailed submission guidelines here. You should avoid promoting a particular organisation or product, but we encourage you to include links. The most successful Comments tend to have a clear, strong, central argument. To send in an article, you simply go to RSA Comment, click on submit article, and it will drop into my inbox. Or just send ideas direct to me.

A couple of things may be holding you back. You’re probably busy, you’re maybe not a regular writer, you may lack confidence in getting your ideas across in a few hundred words. I’ll help with that, and I’ll work with you to get your articles into shape. And if your piece doesn’t fit with Comment, I’ll connect you with your Area Manager to explore other ways to engage with the RSA.

This year, we’d really like to see the number of articles published rise and we want to increase interaction, with more people commenting on the pieces once they’re published. Authors have a big part to play here, sharing the links on your social media, and encouraging your communities to do the same. The aim isn’t quantity for quantity’s sake of course; it’s all about getting more people engaging with the arguments, talking, and taking them on.

Ultimately, Comment should be feeding back into the RSA’s core projects: coming up with new ideas, and with all of us participating in the creation of the future we want to see. I look forward to hearing from you… and I look forward to receiving your Comments.

John Rennie

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  • I agree with the comment regarding the need for "HONESTY". So much public debate and journalism is ill-informed or prejudiced. The greatest challenge is to inject some honesty and realism into the climate and ecological emergencies issues. I would like to see the RSA take on an effective information campaign that articulates the difficult but necessary choices that have to be made. Humanity can no longer afford to be complacent in the face of the challenges. Concrete solutions that are as equitable as possible for society as a whole are required along with effective communication. Colin Bloxham

  • So, after a lengthly process, here's my comment in response to Andy Haldane's latest broadcast. I have no issues with the subjects that the RSA spouts about but the fact is that they are mostly "small and safe". Small because they effect only 'small' groups (one at a time). Safe because they don't actually threaten 'what is'. If I would choose one single issue that over-arches all this, I would choose 'HONESTY' (or the lack of it). The UK today is suffering from a lack of honesty at the highest levels (and has done so for many years). That lack of honesty gives permission to disregard laws (e.g. 'speeding' is not 'dangerous to individual's lives' because I know how to drive safely'). That disregard for law leads to "WTFRU?" responses to any challenge to anti-social behaviour. As Kurt Vonnegut so ably put it, "And so it goes". My point is this - rather than starting at the 'bottom' (specific issues'), why not start from the 'top' (the root causes) This is not a SMALL strategy! This is not a SAFE strategy! But it IS what this country (UK) and the World needs! RSA please thing BIGGER!

    • Thanks Leslie. This is an interesting observation. There seems to be only two ways to modify behaviour: change minds OR alter environments. Perhaps with the 'small' we are working on 'the minds' and, if we were to focus on the 'over-arching', we could be working on changing the comfortable 'environments'? Honesty, perhaps comes after we work on TRUTH and the knowledge of RIGHT from WRONG. I admit to grappling with the concept of being in a 'post-truth' society, however, William Davies's 'This is Not Normal' certainly has given me great cause for concern about how we can even begin to talk about Honesty, Truth, Justice, Integrity, etc.. Let alone imagine 'service before self'!

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