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Public Events FAQ

The RSA Public Events Programme hosts over 100 free lectures, talks, debates and screenings annually.


Sign up to our bi-weekly mailing below, for all newly announced events, RSA Shorts and lots more!


How do I find out what is coming up?

You can view a full list of our forthcoming events on our website or join our mailing list to receive a regular fortnightly e-bulletin of new events announcements and updates.


How much do your events cost?

All of our public events are absolutely free. The RSA has supported a rich tradition of free public learning and debate since we were founded in the Age of the Enlightenment - ensuring great, world-changing ideas are accessible to absolutely everyone.


Do I need to register to attend?

Yes, booking is essential. Our events can book up very quickly but we always run a waiting list for any returned tickets. Booking is limited to one place per event. This helps us to judge our numbers more accurately. If you are planning to come along with friends, remember that each person needs to book individually using their own email address.

What booking software do you use?

We use free booking software called Eventbrite. Read the Eventbrite Privacy Policy.

Do I need to be a RSA Fellow to attend?

No. Our events are open to absolutely everyone. RSA Events are made possible by the support of our Fellows. Find out more about RSA Fellowship and how you can get involved.

What time do I need to be at the RSA?

We try to start promptly at the stated time and recommend you arrive and take your seat at least 10 minutes in advance of the advertised start time. If you haven't checked in by then we may offer your place to those waiting for returns.


Do you let in latecomers?

We discourage latecomers and reserve the right to refuse admission in these cases. If there is space in the room, and the event will not be disturbed by late arrivals, then we will allow it.

Is my place guaranteed?

Your registration is not an absolute guarantee of a place in the lecture theatre.

Admission is on a first-come-first-served basis for those with tickets. Not everyone who books uses their ticket, so, to ensure a full house, we offer more tickets than there are places.

This method usually leads to a full room, but on rare occasions we may be a few places out. Please do arrive in good time to take your seat ten minutes before the start time to avoid disappointment.


What can I expect when I attend one of your events?

Our events typically last between one hour and one hour fifteen minutes, the speaker or speakers will present for the first half of the event before we open the debate up to you in the audience. You are welcome to ask a question or make a comment but please try to be concise and to the point so other members of the audience can get involved in the discussion too.

All of our events are audio and video recorded and are made available on our website to watch and listen to again. Please be aware that by attending our events you may be visible in the audience in photos or in the video of the event, and if you ask any questions these are likely to feature in our podcasts.


How can I interact with others watching the event?
You can use digital media to engage with other people at the event. Our twitter account is @RSAEvents. Suggested hashtags for each event are displayed on the event detail page. You can pick up the password for the wifi from our reception area. Please try to keep the use of laptops to a minimum as some members of the audience can find it distracting.


I’m hard of hearing, how can I access an event?

Induction loops are installed in the following areas: Reception, Fellows' Library, Great Room, Benjamin Franklin Room, Durham Street Auditorium, Adelphi and Romney Rooms. Mobile loops are available for use in all other rooms including the Gerard Bar and Fellows' Restaurant.

A captioning service by Ai-Media UK is also available on request at events which are part of the RSA Public Events Programme. If you would like to request that an upcoming public event is captioned then please email: Please note that there is a limited budget for this service so it is not always possible to fulfil each request.


Can I take photographs during the event?

You are welcome to take photos at the event but please do not use flash photography as it is very off-putting for the speaker and disruptive for other members of the audience. If you would like to share your photos with us and others the RSA has a Flickr group, or you can tag us in your Instagram images - you can find us under @RSA_Events.

Can I eat my lunch in the event?

Please do not eat your food in the auditorium.


Can I bring my coffee or tea in with me?

Covered drinks e.g. bottled water or covered coffee containers are permitted.

I can't attend an event - can I listen online?

Yes. All of our events are live audio streamed. Visit the relevant event page before the start of the event to open the audio stream. We recommend plugging in external speakers or headphones to get the best audio from the stream.

Can I watch RSA Events online?

Selected events are live video streamed. You can watch the live stream and replay on the Event page, if the event has taken place in the Great Room. For all Durham Street Auditorium Events, unfortunately there is no live stream or replay option, however you are able to listen live. With every event an edit will become available in the coming weeks after the event has finished, and a link will be added to the Event page to signify it is ready to view. 

I missed an event - how can I catch up with it?

We audio record all of our events and the mp3 audio files are available free to play or download a few days after the event. You can find all our current audio files here

If we live stream an event, this will be available as an RSA Replay indefinitely on YouTube channel - these videos are the full event, and include audience Q&A. Edited video files from selected events are also made available on our website to watch on demand or to download. You can watch our videos on our YouTube channel or on our Vimeo channel. You can watch all edited videos on our Video pages.

If you would like to download one of our video or audio files, please follow the below instructions:

If your browser is Internet Explorer: Right-click the link to the video and choose 'Save Target As'.
If your browser is Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome: Right-click the link to the video and choose 'Save Link As'.

Where do the RSA Animates come from?
The RSA Animates were created as a new way to spread the great ideas featured in our lecture programme. Every year we welcome hundreds of amazing thinkers to the RSA, and we end up with hours and hours of incredibly inspiring lectures, talks and debates on tape.

We wanted a way to make these ideas as accessible and digestible to as many people as possible, so we asked one of our Fellows, Andrew Park, if he could create a short, animated film to accompany an edited extract of one of our talks. He obliged, and the RSA Animate sensation was born!

RSA Animates have received millions of views, and have inspired, moved, and engaged all sorts of people all across the world. If you're one of the few who still hasn't seen them, check one out on our YouTube channel.

Where is the RSA?

The RSA is on John Adam Street in London. The nearest tube is either Charing Cross or Embankment stations.

Get directions to the RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ.

We welcome visitors with special needs and have tried to adapt our building and services to meet your requirements. Please see our accessibility policy for details. If you are planning to attend a public event and have any additional special requirements, please do contact us in advance so we can ensure your visit runs smoothly:


Visitor information:

Based on the RSA approach to evolving circumstances surrounding the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak, all in-person events up until the end of May 2020 (RSA Public, Fellowship and Rawthmells events) are being cancelled, postponed or, where possible, being held online. Please check individual events below for specific detail.

For up to date information about the RSA response, please check our Coronavirus update page


I would like to propose a lecture or recommend a speaker - what do I do?

We are always delighted to receive suggestions and ideas for the programme. Please email a brief synopsis and your speaker suggestions, and make sure to include details as to how your proposal fits in with the RSA's charitable mission and broader body of work:

We do receive a high volume of these suggestions, so please do bear with us whilst we review them.

I would like to hire the RSA - who do I contact?

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, RSA House remains closed for visits from Fellows and the public until at least September 2020.

Private and corporate bookings at RSA House are still currently being accepted but are subject to continued review between the House team with the organisers. For further information please contact a member of the House team:

For up to date information about the RSA response, please check our coronavirus update page

Please Note:

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed by speakers on the RSA’s public platform belong solely to the speakers themselves, and do not represent the views of the RSA. Whilst all efforts are made to ensure the content of talks given at the RSA is accurate and up-to-date, inaccuracies or misstatements may occur, including in the course of live conversation and exchange. The RSA assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of talks given on its public platform.