Archive for the ‘Papa loves…’ Category

I love the RSA and Matthew Taylor is my hero

November 13, 2008

Slightly gushing I realise but at the moment the RSA is second only to the BBC (expect soon I love ‘In Our Time’ and Melvyn Bragg is my other hero – sorry Matthew) in my list of things that I think prove that the barbarians are not even in the same town let alone at the gates.  In what is increasingly supposed to be a celebrity obsessed and dumbed down country the resurgent RSA fills me with hope.  Why might this be?

They have the biggest free public lecture series in the world (strictly I think this is biggest outside academic institutions) which covers serious topics for sometimes up to 90 minutes without a break, yes people really can concentrate for that long.  These events cover politics, economics, the arts and even some fun stuff in a structured and engaging way which more often than not leads to real insights.

The lectures are broadcast live on the web and are then downloadable from the website, so RSA geeks like me can carry them all around on our MP3 players.*

They have a purpose and vision that they actually put into action.  For example The RSA Academy at Tipton and their new curriculum framework Opening Minds.

They have a huge range of speakers and contributors from Clay Shirky to David Cameron to Robert Peston to Jack Straw ( at least twice so well done Jack).

Matthew Taylor is a proper clever person who seems to have coherent and interesting things to say about almost any topic you care to mention, he must have a brain the size of a planet.  Annoyingly he seems like he might even be quite a lot of fun too.  Also in a marvellous piece of circularity his dad is on the BBC!

Lots of people I know in my work and private life seemed to have joined or started attending in the last 12 months, and whisper it quietly women and ethnic minorities are reasonably well represented.

They have a strange but interesting building that is a bit difficult to find your way around and surprisingly you can go in at street level in John Adam Street go down a flight of stairs and end up on the Strand.

They have lots of ways to get involved which are both run by them or started by members, I have been tempted to try and help out Primethinkers which helps individuals and the voluntary sector develop business ideas.

So what’s not to like?  Free lectures which are educational and fun with the opportunity to build some social capital.  Finally it gets me away from work and is an interest that doesn’t involve drinking or watching TV.

* I do have a small gripe though – they aren’t podcasted and the file names and info are not very user friendly.

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