Just because you have gotten too old for Saturday morning cartoons doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy some quality animation. The Royal Society of Animators presents fascinating lectures on topics such as education reform, motivation, the human drive towards compassion, and the relationship between business and social change. Each presentation is clearly narrated in accessible language with engaging, masterful illustrations that lock details into the mind and delight the eye.
Like most brilliant ideas in history, the RSA was fueled by caffeine and good conversation. In 1754, the RSA began its life in a Covent Garden coffee shop by William Shipley, a Northampton drawing master. Shipley created the idea of “premiums” or cash prizes that intended to stimulate and support the humanities and social sciences. Throughout its 250 year history, the Society has awarded grants, held art exhibitions, published numerous journal articles, demonstrated cutting edge technologies, held festivals and design competitions, and compiled archives of its many achievements. (For a more detailed history, browse the Society’s interactive timeline.)
In an effort to strengthen debate and provide a platform for innovative new ideas, the RSA collaborates with a network of over 27,ooo fellows who are dedicated to civic and social responsibility. Anyone can visit their site to join and receive their newsletters and journals for a small payment, or enjoy their animations for free. Notable fellows have included Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough, Peter Ustinov, Karl and Enid Marx, Charles Dickens, Alexander Graham Bell, Benjamin Franklin, and Samuel Johnson.
Lovers of viral videos and though-provoking entertainment will delight in watching and sharing the RSA’s series of YouTube talks. Personal favorites of mine are Sir Ken Robinson’s presentation on Changing Education Paradigms, and Jeremy Rifkin’s lecture on The Empathic Civilization. Finally, an academically valid excuse to watch online cartoons! If you are inspired by their animations, take some time to explore the Society’s page where you can read blog articles, listen to audio programs, or even enter a film competition!
Be warned, like the TED site, several minutes of poking around can become hours-long media binges. So go and have fun “drawing” upon this well of creativity and ingenuity!