Why a 21st Century Enlightenment Needs Walls - RSA

Why a 21st Century Enlightenment Needs Walls

Public talks


Great Room, RSA House

  • Behaviour change
  • Communities
  • Arts and society
  • Rawthmells

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What type of civic spaces do we need for a 21st century Enlightenment to flourish?


Just as the Enlightenment coffeehouse did in its day, the advent of social media has brought down barriers to participation in public discourse. More people than ever take part in public conversations about the big issues of the moment, and yet it seems we are becoming ever more polarised and stuck. Has this all-inclusive openness come at a cost?    

Acclaimed social psychologist Jonathan Haidt visits the RSA to argue that – paradoxically – the very openness of these platforms have proved fatal for the kind of thinking, debate, provocation, and orthodoxy-challenging that is so necessary for liberal democracy.


To celebrate the opening of the RSA’s new coffeehouse, Rawthmells, we’re bringing together a series of powerful conversations and sharing the best ideas on some of the challenges we face as a society in the next decade and beyond.

Explore the full calendar of events and join the conversation. 


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