How to Drive Social Change in Changing Times

How to Drive Social Change in Changing Times

A Long Now Boston community conversation with Dr. Anton Howes, fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Monday, Sept 14, 02020, 6:00pm

This is a virtual event using Zoom. Please note: this event has an earlier start time compared to previous events since our guest speaker is located in the UK. Login is open at 5:30 p.m. – come early and chat with other Long Now thinkers. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
Presentation starts at 6 p.m.


“Everyone is able to participate in creating a better future.”

The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), founded in 1754 in a London coffee house, has been dedicated to the betterment of British life and culture for over 250 years. Since the beginning, the Society has championed innovative practical solutions to social challenges of the day. 

Over its lifetime, the RSA has survived and thrived by constantly reinventing itself and finding new ways to promote civic, cultural, and economic progress. With only minimal infrastructure and no fixed mission, it has constantly supported the improvement of nearly anything and everything, through the long-term support of its worldwide volunteer member base. A handful of examples of the Society’s work include:

  • Holding the first world’s fair
  • Being a platform for Victorian utilitarian reform 
  • Purchasing and restoring an entire village
  • Encouraging the planting of more than 60 million trees
  • Seeking technological alternatives to child labor

Long Now was founded 25 years ago with the mission to foster long-term thinking. As a relative newcomer to the concept and practice of a long-lived organization, what can we learn from our RSA ancestors?

We are excited to welcome Dr. Anton Howes, who volunteers as historian in residence at the RSA. Dr. Howes will showcase the society’s history through the lens of social reform. The lessons learned during three centuries of service are strikingly relevant to many of the issues society faces today.

Among the questions Dr. Howes will address:

  • How does a member-driven organization contribute to a thriving and resilient future across the centuries?
  • What can a small, mission-driven, nonprofit institution do to influence positive social change? 
  • How can we encourage those around us to help with the building of a strong base for a thriving future?
  • Will our focus on long-term innovation shift in the midst, and in the wake, of a pandemic?

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

Tickets are $5 – students with ID are admitted for free.

Audience participation is encouraged. The conversation will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. Login information and password will be provided upon registration through Eventbrite.

About the speaker:

Dr. Anton Howes is the head of innovation at the Entrepreneurs Network, where he translates his research into practical policy proposals. He also serves the historian in residence at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Dr. Howes was a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University and subsequently held the position of assistant professor in economic history at King’s College in London, where he received his Ph.D.

His recent book, Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation, is a definitive history telling the story of Britain’s subscription-funded national improvement agency, the RSA. Dr. Howes is currently writing a book on the causes of the British Industrial Revolution, focusing on the hundreds of individual inventors and innovators who made it possible, and the institutions they created to keep it going.

Dr. Howes regularly shares his research on the history of innovation in his newsletter, Age of Invention. You can follow him on Twitter: @antonhowes.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

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