Sorry, this is a bit late in the day to this ning (see the discussion I started on RSA Linked In on "why so many websites" for my excuses for not knowing what was going on here).
I am posting this on behalf of Jemima Gibbons, Lopa Patel and myself. As the elected Council members for the London Region we all felt that we should try to report back to the region (so I have posted on the London City Networking ning) and add our views to the general fellowship discussion here.
blogged through the meeting so for a taste of what it was actually like to be there go to:
produced a invaluable overview after the event:-
Lopa Patel's Report:
The inaugural meeting of the RSA Fellowship Council was held on Wednesday 7th October 2009 at the RSA, 8 John Adam Street from 2-4pm. In attendance were 35 of the elected and trustee-nominated fellows, Gerry Acher the outgoing chair of the RSA Trustees, Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA, Belinda Lester and members of the RSA team.
As this was the first meeting, Matthew Taylor set out his vision of the RSA and how the Fellowship Council might contribute to this vision. This was then followed by round-table discussions among the five tables of ten on how this could be delivered.
The key elements to arise from the first Fellowship Council meeting were:
1. The RSA vision: civic enablement, enhancing human capability, social progress.
2. The Fellowship Charter: apart from the written charter which was circulated to Fellowship Council members prior to the meeting, the RSA team is trying to use visual imagery (pictures & links) which was presented as an exhibition. The illustrative RSA charter draws a time-line through the 255-year history of the organisation and fellows were asked for their views. Three main elements of the
Charter: To Inspire, To Support and To Enable.
3. Feedback from regions on fellowship development, RSA projects, risk analysis and how to open up the RSA to a broader range of society.
4. Communication between the RSA and its Fellowship is one of the critical success factors for the future development of the organisation
The RSA Fellowship Council meeting concluded at 4.45pm and Fellows had a few minutes to network before the start of the AGM at which the new chair of RSA Trustees, Luke Johnson, laid out his vision on invention, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The RSA Fellowship Council has a wealth of talent, dynamism and vision,
although, with 40 members it is unlikely to be anything more than a
vehicle for feedback and debate. The issues that need clarification are:
* the differences between regionally-elected and trustee-nominated fellows and what is expected of each.
* the development of sub-committees to realise some of the aims and ambitions discussed at Fellowship Council meetings.
* Improved liaison between the Trustees and the Fellowship Council and the RSA executive team.
* One of the agenda items at each Council meeting should be more about what the Fellows would like the RSA to achieve
Overall, I felt very positive about the first RSA Fellowship Council meeting - there is a long way to go to achieve that vision we collectively developed, but the enthusiasm to achieve it is there.
As you will have spotted, my colleagues were very thorough so, rather than repeat what they have said in a different way I shall just throw in a few random thoughts to complement their reports.
I think every Fellow who attended will have a different slant on the day.
I found it an interesting meeting, that overall left me enthused about the current activity of the RSA and its future. The meeting was well attended. There was though quite a high proportion of staff to Fellows, which combined with the tight structure of the meeting, meant that it felt (to me) rather more like a seminar than a Council meeting.
That said, I found it useful to start with an introduction from Matthew Taylor, even though it was quite lengthy in the context of the short amount of time we had. It was good to learn more about what the current activities and plans at The House are. I welcomed an opportunity to hear what the official priorities are, to balance what I hear Fellows saying they should be at the London Region Committee, the London City Networking evenings and other events. It was also good to meet some of the Trustees.
I actually like the new Charter document (not everyone does) and feel that its graphic form effectively links the RSA's history and its current activities. I also like the "Inspire, Support, Enable" slogan, even though some consider it tautologous. I am not bothered that it has been introduced to Fellows for comment almost fully fledged. Seeking the suggestions of 27,000 independent-minded individuals any earlier would have probably killed the idea stone dead.
For me an interesting day with a lot of energy. Not enough time for discussion between the members of the new Council, not a lot clearer about what we are there for but currently optimistic that this is a good step forward for the RSA and looking forward to the December meeting!
In the meantime look forward to feedback from our fellow-Fellows.