RSA Fellows and RSA Academies collaborate: the Weston Beamor jewellery design project

July 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Education Matters 

This is a guest blog from Chris Smith, Maths, Science and Technology Lead Practitioner, STEM and IBCC Coordinator at RSA Academy in Tipton.  Chris explains how RSA Academy in Tipton have played a key role in the success of this inter-school competition. 

The winning team from Broadway School with the judges and their teachers

The winning team from Broadway School with the judges and their teachers

 

Back in January 2013 a number of RSA Fellows met at Weston Beamor in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter to look at how 3D printing is being used by Weston Beamor in the production of their jewellery products.  They wanted to find a vehicle to promote this new technology and extend its use in schools, after numerous meetings it was decided that RSA Academy in Tipton would coordinate a jewellery design competition for the RSA Family of Academies and those looking to become part of the RSA Family.

Whitley Academy, Arrow Vale RSA Academy, RSA Academy and Broadway School were invited to the launch on 21 January 2014 at the RSA Academy.  The brief was to design a lapel pin/badge suitable for the Principals of the RSA Academies to wear – therefore it had to be suitable for both men and women to wear.

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What kind of love do we need?

July 14, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Social Brain 

Love is a fundamental feature of how people seek to create meaning in their lives, but what do we really know about the nature, experience, and history of love; about its breadth and depth and ubiquity? What, if anything, is common to our love of life, love of God and/or love of reason; maternal love, romantic love, love of work, good and bad forms of self-love, love of friends, love of places, love of books, love of ideas, love of RSA public events…

Here are ten of my favourite quotations on love as an appetiser ahead of Thursday’s event at 6pm, What kind of love do we need?, including three from our prospective speakers Devorah Baum, Simon May and Mark Vernon: 

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The pulling ‘Power to Create’ waves

July 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recovery 
dragon boat

The West Kent Recovery Team pulling together in boat three

‘There is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats’ exclaimed Ratty in The Wind in the Willows.

And so it was when a motley crew was pressed into action and took to the high seas (Mote Park lake in Kent), in a quest for riches; while a land raiding party prised gold and silver coins from the dry, land lubbers watching the battles on deep blue (murky green really) take place.

But this was not just any scurvy bunch.

It was led by the infamous Captain Mad Sea Swashbuckler (aka the RSA’s Susie Pascoe according to a random pirate name generator), this rag-tail rabble was banded together from the three hubs (Maidstone, Gravesend and Tonbridge) of the West Kent Recovery Service. This was the first time the trio had connected for a community event.

The crew of 26 was made up of people in recovery from alcohol and drug misuse, staff and peer mentors from CRI (one of the RSA’s partners in the initiative), and of course other members of the RSA’s Whole Person Recovery team, namely able-seaman Jack Robson and the not-so-able yours truly. But to quote Martin Luther King, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now”. Read more

The Big Idea: a youth opera mixing up science and identity

July 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Fellowship 

laura drane photo x120This is a guest blog from Laura Drane FRSA who is crowdfunding for her idea, Pandora’s Locker, which uses opera and art production to educate young people in science, identity and self-expression.  

Pandora’s Locker is a one-act youth opera that resets the original Greek myth of Pandora’s box in a contemporary high school.  It will be performed by more than 15 exceptionally talented young people in their teens and twenties to – and for - their peers. But what’s a youth opera based on a Greek myth and encompassing everything from biomedics to gender going to do to address some of this? And how do I as a creative producer view this opportunity?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a varied career as an independent arts producer: I’ve worked on everything from choreography projects in primary schools, to city-wide public science festivals. And this unique journey has given me insight into many of the challenges young people face today – about gender, identity, power, personhood, creative self-expression, and more. Through my experience working with young people, the idea for Pandora’s Locker emerged. Read more

Spaces & Engage : A new frontier

July 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Fellowship 

Ignore the Star Trek reference.  Over the coming months the Regions team will be expanding the RSA Engage series.  Following recent events in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Stoke we are now introducing two types of format on a regular basis; Engage our large scale networking event for clusters of around 100 and Connect, our smaller focused sessions on a specific themes for 25 people. Both formats share two key ingredients for Engage all activity; structured networking combined with clear routes to engagement to the RSA.

We will be planning a calendar of this activity through to the end of next year and looking for venues prepared to host an RSA Engage event. Essential to the format are spaces with good transport links, easy to find, accessible to all and with welcoming facilities. The space doesn’t have to be private but not too noisy. We particularly want to hear from venues that mirror RSA aims and objectives, and could help develop projects. We have limited budget available for catering and refreshments but looking for venue support on a pro-bono basis. RSA Engage events are organised by staff.

Fellows are welcome to recommend venues that meet these basic criteria. In return we aim to feature each acknowledged RSA space in a variety of ways profiled on the RSA website and highlighted at the relevant Engage event.  Long-term we are also keen to offer these spaces for other Fellow-led activity including governance meetings, project sessions and events such as live-streaming creating a resource of recognised RSA Spaces for hosting activity.  If you would like to recommend a venue for RSA Spaces send details to the Regional team networks@rsa.org.uk.

 

Vivs Long-Ferguson

Head of Regions

Viv.long-ferguson@rsa.org.uk

@vivslf

We need to revive the constitutional reform agenda but on a completely new basis

July 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Adam Lent 

In 1988, 348 assorted celebrities, intellectuals and political activists wrote to The New Statesman to announce the launch of a new charter for constitutional reform. The public response was strong and within a year or so a formal pressure group was formed. Charter 88, as it was called, was soon having a major influence, playing a particularly big role in shaping the manifesto commitments of the Labour Party which was to be elected with a thumping majority in 1997.  This was a heady period when it seemed that a young, forward-looking government might finally bring about a major reshaping of the constitutional settlement in the UK. The reality was somewhat less inspiring. Read more

Pupil Design Awards: The Winners!

pupil design awards_blog

“His enthusiasm is infectious and his motivation is undeniable. He has worked extremely hard to solve his chosen design problem and has produced a plausible design and concept.  He has worked well with his partner and shown a range of communication skills. Ilyas has developed a confident ability to present and hook the audience or potential buyer with conviction.  Above all I genuinely believe he has thoroughly enjoyed participating and being given an opportunity and chance to shine.”

If you’re a close follower of the RSA twitter account, you will have seen #PowertoCreate splashed all over your news feed this week, thanks to Matthew Taylor’s annual lecture and an ARC Directors Lunch time event.

They have been introducing us to the RSA’s new worldview: “The RSA believes that all should have the freedom and power to turn their ideas into reality”, and if the above quote isn’t an example of the Power to Create in action, I don’t know what is.

These words were written by D&T teacher, Miss Vesey, about Ilyas Mohammed, a year 10 student at Holyhead School in Birmingham, and the first ever winner of the RSA Pupil Design Awards’ Progress Prize.

Inspired by 90 hugely successful years of the RSA Student Design Awards, the programme’s baby sister, the Pupil Design Awards, has just celebrated its first birthday. The pilot project, which we ran across 3 of our RSA Academies, came to an end earlier this week with 20 finalists joining us at 8 John Adam Street for a day of presentations to our esteemed judging panel, a University tour and, most importantly, the handing out of the awards. Read more

RSA TeachMeet gets the innovation juices flowing

July 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Education Matters 

 This is a guest blog from Mark Healy, Vice Principal, Arrow Vale RSA Academy, Redditch.

Mark devised the RSA TeachMeet.  This is what happened at the first one.

TeachMeet learning in action

TeachMeet learning in action

 

It was fantastic to see so many highly skilled and dedicated teachers from the RSA Family of Academies at the first RSA TeachMeet event held at Arrow Vale RSA Academy in Redditch.

A TeachMeet is a group of teachers and educators that have got together to share ideas.  These are ideas that they have used in the classroom and that they want to share with a wider audience.  With colleagues from Whitley Academy in Coventry and RSA Academy in Tipton negotiating motorways and traffic jams to join Arrow Vale and Ipsley Academies in Redditch, the evening was hosted by Head boy, Tom Bagley, and Head girl Carley Whittaker.

Teachers were first treated to a ‘Being a student in 2014’ presentation by three students in Year 9 (Hollie Willow, Chloe Wiley and Jake Muckle), and were told in no uncertain terms what switches them off learning, but more importantly, what inspires them to learn. The students also highlighted some of the difficulties faced by young people in 2014, particularly around social media and the internet. Read more

How to Increase Political Party Membership by using the Tricks of the Web

July 10, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Fellowship 

Membership of Britain’s political parties has been declining since its heyday in the 1950s.  Both the main parties have under 200,000 members, meaning they are able to attract less than one-third of one percent of the population to their ranks.  Membership of the National Trust is eight times the combined membership of all the parties together.  Yet, despite numerous initiatives, none have been able to reverse the trend, let alone attract a substantial new following.

              Political Party Membership

Political Party Membership

Labour have gone furthest in trying something new, with Ed Miliband creating a ‘registered supporter’ whereby you can register your support for £3 and in return take part in party leadership elections.  I doubt this has made much difference as it is a compromise rather than a well thought through, radical change in direction – they’re called supporters so members won’t get upset, but you can’t just call them supporters as anyone can support the party so they have to be registered supporters.  Who is inspired by being a registered supporter?   Worthy certainly, but hardly imagination grabbing.

The internet has opened up new ways of connecting, altered the way that organisations engage with their customers, changed the way people think and captured terabytes of information, yet political party membership has remained fundamentally unaltered.

If we were to take this new world and apply it to membership of political parties what would they look like?

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Passionate about the RSA? Advice from a current Fellowship Councillor

July 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Fellowship 

Stick ManThe RSA Fellowship Council elections are coming up. You might be thinking of standing as a Fellowship Councillor, or you might not. Or you might be thinking, what on earth is a Fellowship Councillor anyway? Fellowship Councillors represent and support Fellows – the role is much like that of a Local Councillor, except with fewer meetings, no allowance (expenses are paid) and far less likelihood you’ll spend your entire time discussing immigration, Europe and potholes. Read more

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