What is it like to be part of the Fellowship?
Here are some of the things our Fellows have said:
The RSA Islington network use a system called Spark to arrange random meet ups between Fellows. Through this, I met Alastair Campbell. We had a great conversation over coffee and discovered many mutual interests in the wellbeing/mental health space. This initial meeting led to a further meeting to discuss grant funding sources for my Social Enterprise BuddyHub. Alastair then gave his expert assistance with two large grant applications all on a pro bono basis. The larger one was successful and it may not have been without Alastair’s help. He has also agreed to become an Advisory Board member for BuddyHub. A great piece of engineered serendipity!
Last year I spoke at an event that was organised by Fellows up in the North West. My talk was on “Maritime Heritage” – looking at the developments of port cities, with a focus on Liverpool. I was actually able to use the RSA Heritage Index as part of the talk and there was great interest in how to harness the lessons from my talk and also the data generated by the Heritage Index. There was certainly a sense that the RSA Fellows were beginning to work well together to view locally important issues which also have a wider significance.
I recently took part in an RSA Engage event in Cardiff where I had the opportunity to pitch a project 'Girls Hub' that I’m developing which aims to create opportunities for girls and young women in Wales. As a result, I met partners from Cardiff University and following the event we have been working together to explore ways that we can provide programmes for girls within that community area. This opportunity is a direct result of participating in the RSA event and linking with other Fellows!
I met Fellow Laura Westcott at one of the RSA pitch events and we realised very quickly that we have very complementary/synergetic skills. She is ramping up a truly wonderful initiative "Music for Mental Wealth" and I am supporting her as much as I can with tech, music and entrepreneurship experience.
There are lots of opportunities to meet great people through the RSA. I’ve met many like-minded people who I’ve since worked with by pitching at RSA Bounce and RSA Engage events, following up with projects highlighted in the RSA newsletter, chance meetings in the library and starting conversations by the water machine.
(RSA Project Engagement Manager) Thomas Gilliford reached out to us here at Piktochart last summer. He told us about The Teachers Guild and their work with educators and mentioned that Jennifer Gaspar-Santos FRSA had created her idea for an infographic report card using Piktochart. He thought there might be some synergy between us. I happened to be heading to London the next week, so Thomas and I set up a meeting at the RSA House to talk more. After a productive brainstorming meeting about what could come next, our team was connected with Jennifer. We started creating what later became a Piktochart infographic template for all educators to use for free. The collaboration launched on November 1, 2016. A mere 3 weeks later, 1,000 people shared our announcement with their communities and over 5,200 people had used the template!
Being an RSA Fellow allows me to connect with people who hold a similar vision to me, about how the world could be. In my experience RSA Fellows are not just thinkers and aspirers, but doers and game-changers. The most serendipitous, greatest project I have participated in yet started from a conversation with a fellow at the RSA.
The RSA was first introduced to me by a friend, James Millar FRSA, but then serendipity stepped in and as a member of the Create Gloucestershire network I attended an event where Lou Matter, Area Manager for the South West, was speaking. Her story was very inspiring so I soon joined as a Fellow and was then invited to speak about at an RSA engage event in Gloucester. The conversations at the event were engaging, wide-ranging and very supportive, and the following week, Hawkwood (and ethical centre that I run in the Cotswolds), turned into an RSA hub! Five fellows came to meet with me which has resulted in some of them teaching on our programme this year, I made links into other organisations and was given a fabulous recommendation for a speaker for one of our events. So something special has happened through joining the RSA – for which I am very grateful – intense discussions, new networks and new educational programmes.