What effect would a transition to a more deliberative democracy have on our society and if we think it might be better, shall we go ahead and do it?
Through our ideas, research and Fellowship, we seek to realize a society where creative power is distributed, where concentrations of power are confronted and where creative values are nurtured. Our purpose is to enable the public, practitioners and policy-makers to realize change.
The RSA US is an active community of problem solvers. Our Fellows are leaders in their fields united by a commitment to social change and human progress.
Our Fellowship is made up of grassroots community organizers, “big idea” thinkers and academics, problem-solvers, tinkerers and inventors, expert facilitators, designers, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, network builders, impact investors and philanthropists, amongst others.
Through our Fellowship we help to put a spotlight on important issues and architect relationships that can drive society forward. We believe in the power of dialogue and connection to unlock change in the world.
OUR ORIGIN STORY
Our origins are in the tradition of Enlightenment coffee house culture. We were founded in 1754 in London by social reformer and inventor William Shipley who believed that individuals can help to shape a culture that serves the public interest. Since then, notable RSA Fellows have included Benjamin Franklin, Adam Smith, Marie Curie, Karl Marx, Charles Dickens, Nelson Mandela and Stephen Hawking.
Today, we are a platform for ideas and action with over 29,000 Fellows around the world.
In the U.S., we are working to re-imagine a “21st Century Enlightenment” mission through a distributed network across U.S. cities and regions that honors our coffeehouse origins in the belief that conversation and dialogue amongst overlapping pockets of civil society can spur opportunities for profound societal transformation. We believe the U.S. is at a historic inflection point. The need for networks that knit together social fabric to re-imagine and regenerate our civic culture and solve the widespread challenges we face as a society has never been more necessary.
OUR theory of change
We believe change happens through multiple pathways at the level of individual agency, collective solidarity and communities of practice, and institutional systems. Often the most resilient approaches to change are a delicate balance between these different elements.
For this reason, the RSA helps to invest in and steward Coalitions of Change that can unlock agency at different levels. We partner with individuals (RSA Fellows), places (RSA Places), and organizations (RSA Partners) that we believe hold compelling interventions for societal transformation, tackling the most pressing problems of our time.
Additionally, there are nine major areas where we attempt to focus our attention and resources. These include:
- Economic inclusion
- Creative education
- Participatory democracy
- Social justice
- Place-based social change
- Design for society
- Future of community
- Planetary health