The Coffeehouse will provide an informal space for joint events (such as a salon) and discussions organised with a broad range of universities and their student societies. The RSA, it's Fellows, and the students, will all benefit immensely from the mix of perspectives.
What is an Enlightenment coffeehouse and how did they transform our world? Coffeehouses, first established in the 17th and 18th centuries, were places where, for the price of a cup of coffee, people could meet to share ideas. The RSA itself was established in an Enlightenment coffeehouse, named Rawthmell’s, in 1754 by a group of people with a shared vision for a better tomorrow.
The Enlightenment coffeehouses were shaped by those who frequented them, and the RSA coffeehouse will be no different. Almost 4,000 Fellows have engaged with the question of how the new coffeehouse can contribute to the RSA's mission of a 21st-century Enlightenment to strengthen, empower and mobilise new networks of people to tackle today's most pressing social challenges.
If you share our vision then please consider supporting the coffeehouse by donating here.
To tackle the challenges of the 21st century there must be an exchange of ideas, but how do you know who wants to talk? Creating a zone where, should you choose to sit, you are inviting and giving permission to converse with others will make the coffeehouse a hub for stimulating discussion.
A dedicated 'idea space' where Fellows working on projects that enrich society can put up ideas to be fired up by contributions from other Fellows. Once Fellows are in the 'idea space' they can add their fuel and follow-up contacts to ensure each idea benefits from the wealth of knowledge and expertise in the network.
If a space is to be productive and encourage great collaboration then it needs to be open, inviting and inclusive. Collaborative walls does just that, allowing groups of people to work together on a large space. Having an entire wall available to write on removes the usual limits of traditional whiteboards where you cannot stretch your ideas as far as you want.
The RSA's vision is to create an engine room for a global community - this idea will make that a reality through the creation of satellite coffeehouses around the world. These would provide wide tangible links to the RSA and allow members who can't regularly get to RSA House to take part.
Ever since I discovered the RSA, it has been a place where I have met people, shared ideas and made things happen. This was the “home” for many concepts I co-developed. It opened doors to other opportunities because of the diversity of people, know-how, views, ideas… an invisible curated place! This is where you might just overhear one word of another person’s conversation and then suddenly, you’re through the “rabbits’ hole” and you enter “Wonderland” where the world changes and great questions are asked.