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21st Century Enlightenment at the RSA

Join us this autumn as the RSA marks the launch of our new coffeehouse – Rawthmells – with a celebration of the very best ideas for the future.

The RSA was born in a coffeehouse in 1754 by a group of people with a shared vision for a better tomorrow. And like the original, we want our 21st-century version to be a place where individuals become part of a greater movement for social change – a natural home for anyone who wants to change the world, enabling people to connect, share knowledge, collaborate, and build new communities to tackle the social challenges of our time.

To celebrate Rawthmells’ opening, we’re bringing together a series of powerful conversations and sharing the best ideas on some of the challenges we face as a society in the next decade and beyond: an economy that works for everyone; a well-rounded education; and how to tackle inequality. 

  • Book now - explore our events programme below, and register your free place for any of our bookable events 
  • Watch online - if you can’t join us at RSA House, follow events online with our livestreams and on replay
  • Join the conversation -  there are plenty of opportunities to join discussion groups in the Coffeehouse, including RSA Breakfast Club and RSA Friday Conversations

Each week we’ll be exploring the issues and ideas relevant to one of our Action and Research Centre's key themes – economy, enterprise and manufacturing; creative learning and development; and public services and communities – with speakers including:

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Neil Jameson,  Deanna Van Buren,  James Fishkin, Robin Ince, Michael Sandel, Morag Myerscough, Ted Howard, Jonathan Haidt and many more.

Keynote events:

Evenings at Rawthmells Coffeehouse

Evenings at Rawthmells Coffeehouse

Join the conversation in the Coffeehouse!

Rawthmells is open from 8.30am to 9pm Monday - Friday, serving food and drink all day. Join us for lunch or an evening meal to digest the day's events.  

Find out more

Economy


Where does our economy go from here? Wages have barely budged in a decade, insecure working patterns are rife, more of us own less than ever before, and technology feels destined to supress rather than amplify human progress. 

In the first week of events we address some of the biggest issues of our era and discuss RSA projects including our Future Work Centre, the Forum for Ethical AI and Cities of Making.

 

ASHEEM SINGH

Director of RSA Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing

 

 

 

19th November


Monday

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian

 

 

Leadership in Turbulent Times

1-2pm GMT, Great Room

Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin shares her unrivalled insights into the qualities that make truly great leaders - those who summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others. Multi-award-winning Channel 4 News Presenter Jon Snow chairs the event.

Watch RSA Replay online

 

 

 

The Making of a Democratic Economy

6-7pm GMT, Great Room

Ted Howard, co-founder and president, The Democracy Collaborative, and community wealth building visionary, shows how we might dramatically expand the vision and reality of democratic political economy. 

Watch RSA Replay online

 

20th November


Tuesday

 

 

Why a 21st Century Enlightenment Needs Walls

1-2pm GMT, Great Room

Acclaimed social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores how we can create institutions and public spaces that foster viewpoint diversity and mutual understanding, and where people can civilly and constructively disagree.

Watch RSA Replay online

Neil Jameson

Neil Jameson

Emeritus Director of Citizens UK and UK Centre for Civil Society

 

Albert Medal Lecture

Neil Jameson: Reweaving the Fabric of Society

6-7pm GMT, Great Room

 In his Albert Medal lecture, Citizens UK founder Neil Jameson presents a roadmap for radical change, charting a course to major systemic change in politics and public life.

Watch RSA Replay online

 

 

 

RSA Mindful Living Network: Creating Mindful Workspaces

6.30-8.30pm GMT, Dr Cross Room, Rawthmells Coffeehouse

Join the network and guest speaker Sophie Maclaren (Lecturer of Mindfulness in Business & Leadership, Oxford University) to discuss what a mindful workplace would look like. Featuring insights from neuroscience, management and leadership studies, as well as practical methods to evolve your own workplace culture. 

 

21st November


Wednesday

 

 

 

RSA Breakfast Club: The 4 Futures of Work

8.30am GMT, Rawthmells Coffeehouse

A weekly opportunity to meet other Fellows over an informal breakfast, to join or start a conversation around a social challenge, an idea, theory or project, and engineer some serendipity to turn your ideas into action. The first RSA Breakfast Club takes place on Wednesday 7th November.

This week, the RSA’s Future Work Centre will use a scenario planning method to plot 4 projections for the world of work leading up to 2035. This is your opportunity to hear about and shape the scenarios.

Find out more

  

RSA Salon: The ethics of Artificial Intelligence

6-7.15pm GMT, Great Room

As decisions are increasingly automated or made with the help of artificial intelligence, machines are becoming more influential in our lives. How should individuals and institutions respond? Join us for this special RSA Salon event.

22nd November


Thursday

 

 

 

Cities of Making roundtable

6pm GMT, The Coffeehouse

Join us for an informal discussion about the role of making and manufacturing in urban communities. This is grounded in the work of Cities of Making, a 30 month project which is exploring opportunities for strengthening urban based manufacturing in European cities, with a focus on London, Rotterdam and Brussels. The London arm is a partnership of RSA and University College London. The working report from the first phase of the programme was released in May this year, and is available to download from the website. Come along to find out more about the project or share your ideas with the team.

Drop-in (no need to book!)

 

 

23rd November


Friday

 

 

RSA Friday Conversations

12pm-6pm, The Steps, Rawthmells Coffeehouse

Fellows are invited to take to the stage to address a challenge, open a conversation or share a project. The Steps will be available every Friday from midday: address the audience or take a seat to find out about new and exciting ideas. 

At 12pm Senior RSA Researcher Brhmie Balaram will be talking about Power in the New Economy. Drop-in (no need to book) or check back soon for the link to join the conversation online.

Find out more

 

 

Education


We need to ditch the target culture that has undermined teachers’ agency and professional identity, and narrowed and hollowed-out the education many young people receive.

Mission-led schools are critical to the effort to provide our children with a more complete and generous education – an education for freedom and enlightenment

 

JULIAN ASTLE

Director of RSA Creative Learning and Development

 

 

 

26th November


Monday

 

 

Robin Ince

Robin Ince

Comedian and Broadcaster

 

 

What Makes us Human?

1-2pm GMT, Great Room

Why do we make the choices we do? Where does anxiety come from? Where does imagination come from? Why are we like we are? Robin Ince unites his love of comedy and science to explore the human condition. Join us for a funny and moving guide to the minds that make us.

Watch RSA Replay online

 

 

27th November


Tuesday

 

 

My School, My Mission 

6-7.15pm, Great Room

The RSA’s Director of Creative Learning and Development Julian Astle talks to a group of educationalists about the importance of ‘mission’ – shared purpose, values and identity - to excellent schooling.

Watch RSA Replay online

 

 

28th November


Wednesday

 

 

RSA Breakfast Club: The Arts, Schools and Cultural Democracy

8.30am GMT, Rawthmells Coffeehouse

‘Cultural democracy’ describes an approach to arts and culture that actively engages everyone in deciding what counts as culture, where it happens, who makes it, and who experiences it. Join us in considering the challenges schools are facing and what role/s they could play in addressing cultural democracy.

RSA Breakfast Club is a weekly opportunity to meet other Fellows over breakfast, to join or start a conversation around a social challenge, an idea, theory or project, and engineer some serendipity to turn your ideas into action. 

Find out more

 

RSA International Development Network: Circular Economy Initiatives

6-9pm GMT, Dr Cross Room, Rawthmells Coffeehouse

Take part in a network workshop exploring Circular Economy principles and initiatives from around the world. Chaired by Sir Richard Jolly (former Deputy Director of UNICEF), the event will include contributions from speakers Murielle Diaco (Founder of Djouman & member of the African Circular Economy Network) and Richard Swannell (Director of WRAP). 

Find out more 

 

29th November


Thursday

 

 

RSA Academies: Student Pitch Practice 

2-3pm, The Steps, Rawthmells Coffeehouse

Students from the RSA Family of Academies will be preparing to pitch their social action projects to a panel of judges for seed money to start their programmes. Join us on The Steps at the new Rawthmells Coffeehouse and watch as RSA staff hone the presentation skills of the students between 2-3pm. 

Drop-in (no need to book!)

 

Final Takeover Day: Judging Session

3-4.30pm, Benjamin Franklin Room

Students from the RSA Family of Academies compete to win seed funding for their social action projects. The event will take place between 3pm and 4.30pm in the Benjamin Franklin Room and we welcome fellows to join us to watch the teams in action. There will be limited seating so may only be standing space available.

Drop-in (no need to book!)

Morag Myerscough RDI

Morag Myerscough RDI

Designer

 

RDI Address 2018

Morag Myerscough RDI

6-7pm GMT, Great Room 

The annual RDI address is given by Morag Myerscough RDI.

Watch RSA Replay online

 

30th November


Friday

 

  

 

Friday Conversations: Social justice in education

3-4pm GMT, The Steps and Online via Zoom

Join Laura Partridge, Senior Researcher in the RSA’s Education team, for a discussion on the role of teachers, families, communities and young people themselves in creating an education system that works for every child.

Find out more

  

Communities


Our vision is of a society where citizens, businesses and governments work together, in policy and in practice, to tackle inequalities of income and wealth, of health and well-being and of place, power and exclusion: a new social settlement that reconciles welfare with opportunity and social action.

 

ED COX

Director of RSA Public Services and Communities

 

 

 

3rd December


Monday

 

 

Britain’s New Giants: The Stories of Extraordinary Lives

6-7pm, Great Room

Ed Cox, the RSA’s director of Public Services and Communities welcomes renowned journalist, writer and critic John Harris to host an evening of story-telling by ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

Watch RSA Replay online

 

  

4th December


Tuesday

Deanna Van Buren

Deanna Van Buren

Design Director and Co-founder, Designing Justice + Designing Spaces

 

Bicentenary Medal Lecture

Using Design to End Mass Incarceration

6-7pm, Great Room
In her Bicentenary Medal lecture, visionary designer Deanna Van Buren will talk about the power of place in promoting social justice.

Watch RSA Replay online

RSA Reinventing Work Network: Shape our Future

6.30-8.30pm GMT

A collaborative event inviting you to consider the network’s next chapter, combined with the opportunity to catch up before the Christmas break and make new connections. New and existing Reinventing Work Network members all welcome.   

5th December


Wednesday

RSA Breakfast Club: Health as a Social Movement

8.30am GMT, Rawthmells Coffeehouse

Bringing to life RSA’s pioneering work on ‘health as a social movement’, this week's RSA Breakfast Club aims to provide inspiration and insight for reform alongside our wider call for a properly-funded health system. It will include a panel discussion involving health practitioners from around the country who are developing innovative, community-led solutions to some of the most complex health and social care challenges.

RSA Breakfast Club is a weekly opportunity to meet other Fellows over breakfast, to join or start a conversation around a social challenge, an idea, theory or project, and engineer some serendipity to turn your ideas into action. 

Find out more

6th December


Thursday

James Fishkin

James Fishkin

Janet M Peck Chair in International Communication, Stanford University

 

 

Revitalising our Politics through Public Deliberation

6-7pm GMT, Great Room

Democracy requires a connection to the will of the people. What does that mean in a world of fake news, relentless advocacy, dialogue mostly among the like-minded, and massive spending to manipulate public opinion? What kind of opinion can the public have under such conditions? Professor James Fishkin argues that deliberative democracy is not utopian. It is a practical solution to many of democracy's ills. 

Watch RSA Replay online

RSA Enlightenment Evenings

RSA Enlightenment Evenings

6pm Rawthmells Coffeehouse

RSA Enlightenment Evenings are monthly supper clubs that bring a small group of Fellows together to forge connections and have stimulating conversation. The evening will be punctuated by ideas or challenges brought by someone around the table.

Find out more

7th December


Friday

 

 

 

 

RSA Friday Conversations

12pm-6pm, The Steps, Rawthmells Coffeehouse

Join us in Rawthmells Coffeehouse, or online, to discuss the key insights from the events across the week with members of our Communities team. Drop-in (no need to book) or check back soon nearer the time to join the conversation online.

  • 12pm - a member of the Public Services and Communities team shares our latest research  
  • 1pm - David Hurst FRSA will talk about the need for both an ecological and an engineering model for change and renewal in discussions about public sector change
  • 2pm - Judah Armani FRSA, InHouse Records
  • 3pm - Kenny Mammarella-D'Cruz FRSA, Consultant, coach & guru of all things men

Find out more

10th December


Monday

 

 

 

A New Politics of Hope

6-7pm GMT, Great Room

One of the world’s leading public philosophers Michael Sandel visits the RSA to ask: what actions do we need to take to revitalise democratic politics? Can we find our way to a more enlightened and robust public discourse, one that engages with our moral disagreements, rather than avoiding them?

Watch RSA Replay online

 

 

11th December


Tuesday

 

 

 

RSA Inequality in Education Network: Diversity & Gender Equality 

6-8.30pm GMT, Dr Cross Room, Rawthmells Coffeehouse

Guest speaker Professor Miriam David (Professor Emerita of Sociology of Education at UCL Institute of Education) joins the network to explore diversity and gender equality in education, with opportunities for small group discussions and Q&A.

 

 

What is Fellowship?

What is Fellowship?

The Fellowship is a global network of 29,000 people who support the RSA's mission to enrich society through ideas and action.

Fellows have access to the brightest new ideas, innovative projects, a diverse network of like-minded people and a platform for social change. 

Find out more