Becoming a Royal Society of Arts Fellow

3 min readAug 25, 2016


The mission of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is to enrich society through ideas and action.

Founded during the Enlightenment, the 260 year old organization stands for a simple concept— creative ideas can enrich social progress. All human beings have creative capacities that, when realized and supported, can deliver a 21st century enlightenment. Because of this persistent belief, the RSA has been at the forefront of social change in London and around the world.

World-Changing Ideas

After visiting the RSA House in London, I found myself thinking about the organization days, and even weeks, later. The idea of empowering creatives to bring about social change moved me.

The group’s commitment to 3 specific social issues were most impactful for me:

  • Education for Women. The organization was one of the first to promote improvement in girl’s education leading to the establishment of Girls’ Public Day Schools. This organization believes strongly in education — for all — in addition to how we can innovate and improve education around the world.
  • Environment. RSA has demonstrated strong commitment to the environment by offering awards for the reduction of smoke emissions as early as 1770. They even claim the first recorded use in an environmental context of the word “sustainability” in 1980!
  • Gender Equality. When Project Engagement Manager Tom Gilliford told me RSA is proud to have accepted the membership of women, from the moment of their founding in 1754, I was moved by the deep meaning of this the time of the founding — and even today.

RSA Fellowship Network

RSA works to bring about change in the world by working with powerful institutions and diverse communities. Interestingly, they also leverage an amazing 28,000 person Fellowship network around the world. By giving people the tools and support to develop their ideas, real-world change is created.

In the beginning of August, I was honored to be nominated as an RSA Fellow. And, today, I’m proud to announce I have been accepted to the Fellowship Network.

Fellows have access to the brightest new ideas, innovative projects, a diverse network of like-minded people, and a platform for social change. Past RSA Fellows include brilliant minds and change-makers like Marie Curie, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, and Benjamin Franklin.

Being an RSA Fellow offers 3 incredible opportunities to affect change:

  • Fellows who have an idea about how to tackle a social challenge can apply for a grant, expert support, and crowdfunding to turn their innovative idea into reality through the RSA Catalyst Program.
  • I can get involved with Fellow-led projects, from supporting projects that are using crowdfunding to raise funds to pitching in time to help make the project a success.
  • Fellows have unique access to RSA’s amazing research projects. RSA is working to take on today’s most pressing social challenges — and much of this work is through groundbreaking research projects. Fellows can engage with research and help progress key areas of that work.

As RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor believes, the future is a world where every individual has the freedom and opportunity to develop their unique capabilities to the fullest.

I am deeply inspired by RSA’s work. And I’m elated to be on the journey into the future with them.




Jacqueline Jensen is a COO, former venture-backed startup founder, TEDx speaker, author, and Royal Society of Arts Fellow.