The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) is a London-based, British organisation committed to finding practical solutions to social challenges. Founded in 1754 by William Shipley as the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce, it was granted a Royal Charter in 1847, and the right to use the term Royal in its name by King Edward VII in 1908. The shorter version, The Royal Society of Arts and the related RSA acronym, are used more frequently than the full name.
Charles Dickens, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, William Hogarth, John Diefenbaker, Stephen Hawking, Benson Taylor and Tim Berners-Lee are some of the notable past and present Fellows, and today it has Fellows elected from 80 countries worldwide.
The RSA award three medals, the Albert Medal, the Benjamin Franklin Medal (following a decision by the Board in 2013, the Benjamin Franklin Medal is now overseen by the RSA US, although the final nomination is ratified by the UK Board) and the Bicentenary Medal. Medal winners include Nelson Mandela, Sir Frank Whittle, and Professor Stephen Hawking. The RSA members are innovative contributors to the human knowledge, as shown by the Oxford English Dictionary which records the first use of the term "sustainability" in an environmental sense of the word in the RSA's Journal in 1980.
18 August 2017