Deep-dive conversations on 21st century challenges: think, connect, explore

Fellowship Event

 -  | BST British Summer Time


  • Skills
  • Behaviour change
  • Fellowship
  • Fellowship in Action

Welcome to our 2022 unique series of events hosted by the RSA Fellow-led Coaching Network.

This is for RSA Fellows and non-Fellows working towards positive societal transformation. You’ll feel at home if you are grappling with sustainability, reinvention of work, power, diversity and inclusion, compassionate leadership and other related themes.

The conversations are at the intersection of RSA strategic themes, emerging current events, and the practical action you are taking in the world.

The themes will remain responsive to current events, and each event in the series will be held on the first Tuesday of each month, from 6-7.30pm. See upcoming sessions below:

4 October: ‘Play at Work’: Unleashing the potential of a universal human need

Play is human, universal, a part of all cultures.

“In every real man a child is hidden who wants to play.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Playing as children is our natural way of expressing ourselves, of stimulating our creativity and socialising. As children, we learn through play. We are not aware of that. We play because we have fun playing.

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood a lot of people lose the notion that play is as important for adults as it is for children. Why does this happen?

As we get older, play becomes another part of our busy schedules and a means to an end. We stop playing for its own sake: play turns into competitions – sometimes even against ourselves. We play to get fit and to win, we keep an eye on the timer and the scoreboard.

Play is often contrasted with work. Work becomes the opposite of play and with that the opposite of fun. We’re told that hard work pays off in the future. Play is seen as wasting time, as laziness. Instinctively, even before we are told by psychologists and neuroscientists, we know that that’s not true.

We haven’t stopped learning just because we are adults. Our brains are not suddenly functioning differently. So, if we recognise that play supports learning and development in children, why is it not left, right and centre in our awareness that it does the same for adults?

Play induces relaxation, enables experimentation, reduces stress and makes it ok to fail. It gives joy, helps adults to learn, socialise and build strong connections, enables people to cooperate, be creative and become resilient.

This will be an interactive and experiential exploration of the joy and benefits of play. Come and discover together how we can build play into our work as leaders, coaches or collaborators. What doors would open? What doors would close? What would change?

And yes, there will be playing!

1 November: Money, Meaning and Social Change

No matter where we direct our advocacy and activism, it takes place within an economic system and ‘money’ – how we view it and how we use it – plays a role in that work. That role, however, is often based on unseen or unchallenged assumptions about the values and norms we embody as individuals and as a society.

In this month’s deep-dive conversation, we'll attempt to uncover some of these assumptions. Where are we influenced – as individuals, organisations, and societies – by assumptions we don’t know we hold, did not consciously choose, and therefore, cannot actively change? If we can shine a light on that invisible operating context, then we can leverage a very powerful tool in our quest for impact and positive change.

It doesn’t matter whether you come with some knowledge already, whether you’re involved in the RSA’s economic transformation agenda, or whether you’re just bringing your curiosity; we design these events so that you can gain new insights and leave with provocative questions to continue to explore. As usual, we will move between small group dialogue and feedback in the larger group, using coaching approaches to help you get clarity on your own ideas – not to fill you up with ours.

6 December: Speed Coaching

Would you like to access game-changing insights into your social impact projects, or improve your influence in work conversations?

Join us for a lively session of ‘speed-coaching’ to explore how lightbulb moments happen, and generate a few for yourself. Lightbulb or “a-ha” moments that propel you forward can happen in a flash during a brief conversation, when something is said that flips a switch for you to see something differently.

Bring any topic, from increasing your impact to managing key relationships, from the ‘big’ issues to the seemingly small. Whatever snags us takes up time and energy, so why not resolve it if you can? This is a chance to see something new for yourself and also experiment with how to help others find their own "a-ha's" to sticky issues.

The sessions are open to anyone working in the social impact arena (i.e. aligned with the RSA mission of societal change), whether a coach or not, we do not ‘pair’ you with coaches, we want to create a generative space to practise coaching skills so that you can experience them for yourself. We previously ran this event in-person and now we are bringing it to the virtual forum in what we hope will be a fun, dynamic and embodied experience and enable you to interact with a range of diverse perspectives.

Our approach and what makes these events different:

We use a coaching approach which means that we explore how we relate to the themes and topics above, rather than staying with the ideas and concepts we hold about them.

By exploring your lived experience you will gain new insights and perspectives on these topics and a greater awareness of how you yourself relate to them. This will assist you in developing your unique approach to leadership, and increase the positive impact of what you are doing in the world.

These events are about a deeply experiential, individual exploration that generates fresh thinking for ourselves as well as the collective. The experiential element, especially in very small groups, can feel unfamiliar at first, but the feedback we get is outstanding.

Connecting with others is also an important part of our event design, supporting your exploration of the theme, and also creating an opportunity to make or deepen connections.

We welcome a diversity of perspectives on the event themes as well as the exploratory approach itself, and, during the discussion, we encourage you to contribute your own experience, expertise and presence.

If this resonates with you, join us to co-create this safe and stimulating space to explore the multiple facets of highly relevant themes.

How it works:

The sessions are participatory - in large and small groups. They embrace the intellectual, the felt and the intuitive, focussing on present moment insight and integration.

After a brief context-setting introduction, you will be invited to break into pairs or small groups to facilitate deeper exploration and reflection. This also gives you an opportunity to meet, get to know, and connect with other Fellows and like-minded individuals.

You will be challenged, through a series of structured questions to explore, reflect, and consider something new about a topic. You are invited to consider novel perspectives and different points of view that may challenge your own and discover what emerges (or not).

Previous events in this series:

  • 6 Sept: Accountability: Exploring personal Impact and Taking Responsibility

Taking part in Online Events 

For our interactive online events, the RSA uses the platform Zoom. It may be necessary to follow a short set-up process. To understand how Zoom uses your data, please read their Privacy Policy in advance. 

Zoom call joining details will be sent out via email in advance of the event. 

If you have any access requirements or require any reasonable adjustments to support your participation, please let the team know by emailing: [email protected]. 

We sometimes record our online RSA Fellowship events for learning purposes, publicity and/or public viewing. By attending this event, you accept that you may appear in RSA videos or images as an attendee of this event.