These pages provide an overview and partial history of initiatives by the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) to create an online community and network for its 27,000 Fellows, some observations on that process, and ideas for the future.
The OpenRSA group, which I and others set up, operated at various points from 2007-2012 in support of the vision.
A discussion on the RSA Linkedin group in late 2016 led to an initiative by a group of Fellows to create a Fellows' Forum that initially appeared to have the potential to develop new momentum for using online systems to support the Fellowship.
In August 2017 RSA announced development of a 21st Century Enlightenment Coffee House, at a cost of £3.7 million, in the John Adam Street HQ. This prompted interest in creating a complementary Virtual Coffee House. More here.
By November 2017 hope for the virtual coffee house had faded, and volunteers managing the Fellows Forum were discussing where next. Paul Vittles published a call for collaboration with RSA staff.
By November 2019 activity on the forum had dropped, and the organising committee disbanded. Members of the Fellowship Council, led by Peter Clitheroe, are exploring future options. I've volunteered to act a temporary admin on the forum, and contribute to Peter's group.
I hope I haven't missed or misrepresented any major developments. Please let me know and I'll revise.
David Wilcox November 2019