Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

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Fellowship of the
Royal Society of Arts
London - The Royal Society of Arts.jpg
The Royal Society of Arts building in London, England (rear façade facing the Strand)
Awarded for"Contributions to Social Progress and Development"
Sponsored byRoyal Society of Arts
Date1754 (1754)
CountryUnited Kingdom
No. of Fellows30,000 (since 1754)[1]

Fellowship of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) is an award[2][3] granted to individuals by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). Fellowship is likely to be awarded to applicants who meet the criteria of being aged over 18, supporting the RSA's vision, and sharing its values and commitment to social change.[4] Fellows of the RSA are entitled to use the post-nominal letters FRSA after their name and gain access to the RSA Library and to other premises in central London.[5]

Past and current Fellows include leading activists, artists, writers, journalists and former politicians who have made significant contributions to their fields. Previous Fellows have included Stephen Hawking, Charles Dickens, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Benjamin Franklin.


The Royal Society of the Arts was founded in 1754 by William Shipley as the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures 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.

In addition to the Fellowship, the RSA awards 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 Sir Frank Whittle and Cambridge Professor Stephen Hawking.


The Royal Society of Arts building (18th-century engraving)

Since 1754, the RSA Fellowship has been a community of leaders in the fields of art, literature, journalism and business who have made significant contributions to society or the arts, and are able to support the mission of the RSA. As of 2022, the RSA welcomes to the Fellowship all those who are aligned with the organisation's values and share its vision of a "better future", regardless of background, qualifications or level of perceived success in their field. The RSA website states acceptance to the Fellowship is "likely", and that it is not necessary to be a leader in one's industry or a CEO of a non-governmental organisation.[6] The RSA make clear that Fellowship is open to all applicants.[7]

New fellows are selected by the nomination of an existing fellow, by a request for fellowship or by their own application.[8] If applicants apply without a nomination, they have to be supported by two referees. All nominations and applications are reviewed by a fellowship admissions panel.

Notable fellows[edit]

Some of its Fellows, who come from diverse backgrounds and professions, include:

Previous Fellows have included:


  1. ^ "FELLOWSHIP". thersa.org. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  2. ^ Watt-Smith, Claire (9 November 2009). "Claire Watt-Smith awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts". BoBelle, London, UK. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Nonprofit Student Leader becomes the youngest Fellow of the royal society RSA - Thrive Global". Thrive Global. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Fellowship application FAQs".
  5. ^ "Post-Nominal Letters". Royal Society of Arts. 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Fellowship application FAQs".
  7. ^ "Fellowship application FAQs".
  8. ^ "Nominate a Fellow". thersa.org. 2016.