Fellowship Councillor Neil McLennan gives an update on his activity since taking up the voluntary post in supporting RSA Scotland.
I had only just been appointed when the Fellowship Councillor meeting took place in London. Whilst logistics had to be worked out quickly this was however a well timed meeting for me at this stage. The focus of the meeting was fellowship engagement. And as a fellow who had not engaged as well as I could have and who felt there was much work to be done in this area, it was good timing and a useful topic. There was a sense that many of the issues being discussed in Scotland, and that I was keen to be involved in, were replicated across the country:- Communications, engaging Fellows, activity and impact.
Whilst in London I got a chance to meet with Jamie Cooke (Head of RSA Scotland and our only permanent member of staff) and Tanya Hines OBE (Scotland's other Fellowship Councillor). Given the full day of meetings in London and travel arrangements we only spoke briefly, and I got a good overview of RSA Scotland and RSA overall.
We followed up our discussions in December with a meeting in Glasgow where we were able to have more detailed focus on a plan to find out more about RSA Scotland and the potential it has.
January was an exciting month for us with the St Andrews network launched. This is one of the ways in which fellows can contribute, engage and benefit from RSA. Local, regional events give a chance to fellows to come together and participate in an important part of the organisation- fellowship. Many congratulations and thanks to Garvin Sealy for such a positive first event. More of this to follow in that area and I know many were leaning in with offers of support and connections to sustain activity in this area.
February saw me in correspondence with Fellows engaged in inclusive growth work and some follow up meetings around that. One thing I did sense from London meetings is that work tends to gain momentum when an individual's leads a project successfully or where a group of fellows collaborate well and generate movement on a particular area. This is one area where we have some good potential for further work. More details to follow soon I am sure.
Whilst in the central belt I also had several meetings with other fellows. Tanya and I met with a group of Fellows in Edinburgh who were keen to discuss communications and engagement. That weekend I met with a number of other fellows about how we creative interesting, inclusive networks that have impact. My last meeting of the weekend was travelling back north on the train with an old friend- only to find he was a Fellow.
In February I also met with Shetland fellows, perhaps the most northern RSA meeting? Although a small group, the power of the connections made was already strong and we look forward to seeing a network emerge there.
Amongst all the meetings I did consider that the main issue is of course motivation. There are many different motivations for joining as a Fellow and many different motivations once in the RSA. Some join up out of interest and enjoy reading the magazine (in a recent meeting with fellows some express enjoying the magazine whilst others wanted more from it) and website whilst others want to support and attend events or engage in specific pieces of work with other fellows.
My message for now is get out there and connect- whether virtually, in person or otherwise.
My challenge for all of you who want to engage is two things before February ends. Firstly, can you complete your online profile? This starts to create the potential for community building. For my Shetland trip I found the only tool really useful for contacting our Fellows up there. And secondly, can you then reach out to one fellow who you have not met before? Small steps but the start of great things.
More from me before the end of this month. Jamie, Tanya and I meet again today and will share our plan for reactivating RSA Scotland into the sort of enlightenment organisation that would be apt for Scotland.