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So I’ve been working for the RSA for a whole year - an awful lot has happened, so I thought I’d mark it with a blog.

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I owe my awareness of the role to Jason Pandya-Wood after he tweeted the job advert one sunny Sunday morning.  I was intrigued by the 100 days at the RSA blog post reflecting on the first three months in the role from a Regional Programme Manager.  I felt a bit like Alice heading down the rabbit hole when I began exploring the RSA and its multifaceted foci.  There are so many wonders and adventures you can have through the website and across twitter, LinkedIn and RSAfellowship.com.

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My journey started in the Nottingham Contemporary.  Whilst I officially started with the RSA on Monday 10 September, I was already taking in my local patch and meeting Fellows on the previous Saturday at the East Midlands annual conference.   This year’s conference, Making a Difference, happened last Saturday in Leicester at the Phoenix.  Fellows showcased projects in their region and looked to inspire ideas and action.  Our regional digital champions live-blogged during the day and collated the online discussions.  You can read what was said by heading across to www.RSAem.org.uk.  One of our regional digital champions - Dave Briggs - talks about how he did this in his own blog if you are keen to learn. You can also view Katie Smith’s photos from the event online here.

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I hope those Fellows that attended left the conference feeling the same way I did last year - excited about my new challenge and ready to get going.  Little did I know the vast distances I’d travel or the creative connections I’d make.

I’m honoured to work with so many energetic, motivated and conscientious people with the RSA.  My role keeps me mobile across the middle of Britain and I’m often off visiting Fellows from Northampton to Stoke and everywhere in between.  I’m also working across the RSA Academies network and have been supporting some exciting projects for students and teachers.  We hosted a collaborative meeting between RDI’s and RSA Academies staff before the summer and have been working with others to support the development of Fellow led work in the academies.  I’m always looking to meet with Fellows and to work with them to help develop their ideas.

Joanna Massie poloThe regional team of programme managers also welcomes two new starters.  Joanna Massie (@joannacmassie) has moved out of the House to take the reins across the East and South East and Becca Massy-Chase (@becca_mchase) has joined the RSA to support and develop Fellow-led activities in London and the South Central regions.  I know you’ll offer them a warm welcome. We are always uncovering fresh faces and have continued to grow and expand the Fellowship. 

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Our network has uncovered a new team member in the West Midlands and I’m really pleased to welcome Lorna Prescott (@dosticen) as the new Fellowship Councillor.  Lorna is passionate about social change and is already exploring how she can get more involved in Fellowship.  Look out for a new blogging site for West Midlands Fellows as well as social media surgeries and other activities that she’s planning.

They, like me, are always seeking to support Fellow-led ventures and will be busy working to promote activity across their areas.   Please get in touch via email or twitter, or leave me a comment below to talk about your projects and ideas whether they exist in the East or West Midlands or within the RSA Academies group.

Richard Pickford
RSA Regional Programme Manager
East & West Midlands | RSA Academies

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