A Joy To Be Involved. A Joy To Help Out.

There is something very special about taking part in a Street Wisdom and it is even more pleasurable to have the privilege to lead an event. It never fails to have an impact in some way on everyone involved and sometimes that impact can be profound. It is incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to make a difference for a complete stranger. Strangers they may start but by the end of an event, the shared experience feels like it’s been had with great friends.

We love our RSA events as they attract large numbers of diverse people. Last week found almost 60 wanderers came along and we had a valiant team of 8 street leaders drawn from the ranks of our lovely Street Wizards both RSA fellows and non-follows.

When it came to 5pm people just didn’t want to stop sharing their experience. This was the case for participants and facilitators alike. So big thanks to Ines Alonso, Sarah Storm, Michelle Preston, Justine Clement, Caroline Bond, Rachel Crowther, Kev Wyke, Tony Woods and to Mark Hall and the team at the RSA.

We would love to hear more from those who took part so please add comments below.

I think Tony summed up the general feeling very well:

What a magnificent & fulfilling experience! Reflecting after facilitating my first ever Street Wisdom group of 6 wonderful people, I can’t help regretting that I didn’t do it sooner. It’s such a powerful process – the insights and answers that my group gathered from their wanderings around Covent Garden and the Strand was quite moving – and the process is just so simple to use. Thanks for the opportunity Street Wisdom guys. Can’t wait to do it again soon. TW

If you’d like to lead your own Street Wisdom event download our toolkit. We support you every step of the way, from setting up to running your event.

Street Leaders

More street leaders

Outdoors and upwards with the RSA

It was the perfect day for the September 21st event facilitated by our three volunteers Millie Baker, Justine Clements and Susannah Tresilian. Our thanks to them for giving their time and to the RSA for once again organising a successful and enjoyable event.

30 wanderers set out and there were many stories of breakthroughs, synchronicity and fun times.

We discovered medieval streets unnoticed in years of walking past; a chalk drawing reading ‘Be happy spending time doing the things you like’; one wanderer bumped into an old friend and chatted for hours; as we were wandering, Susannah received an email from the RSA titles ‘Do you talk to strangers?’

One of the highlights for me was to meet with Cath Prisk again who helps run an organisation called Outdoor People. After a Street Wisdom event last year she made a big decision to open an outdoor shop in Hackney to support their mission to provide city dwelling young people with opportunities to experience life in the country. Check out the shop here.

Thanks to everyone for taking part and please add any more comments or feedback here. Just two of the responses we have so far;

‘I can honestly say the Street Wisdom technology is one of the most effective I have experienced.  It provided me with a completely new lens on everything!’

‘I had no idea what to expect in Street Wisdom aside from a recommendation from a friend and I can honestly say that it changed my life, I left a different person. Walking the mental streets of London offered me a state of calm that I’ve never experienced and I was able to think clearer and more productively than ever before. The technology you use is simple but so incredibly powerful and it’s changed my outlook to pretty much everything.

I’ve not stopped telling people about Street Wisdom ever since, I am really keen to get involved and facilitate in the future and will be sending everyone I can along to the next event.

Thank you for creating and sharing such a wonderful thing.’

Everything Happens in Birmingham

Everything Happens Here and All At Once – that’s the opening line of a poem by spoken word artists Polarbear and Simon Turner carved into a granite fountain at Birmingham’s Bullring.  It’s also a great way to sum up our Street Wisdom experience – the first one in the city – hosted by RSA West Midlands.

We began by the famous bronze Bull statue, in blazing sun bustling with shoppers, buskers and market traders.   And ended three hours – was it just three hours? – later in fake candlelight at the mad mashup (part medieval, part ancient Greek, part Victorian with a sprinkling of Tutankhamen) of the Bacchus wine bar.

In my group we have an interesting spread of people, academics and arts/business hyphenates. Many people are here through a connection with the RSA.

The opening warm-up and kick-off on Street Wisdom is so straightforward and gettable, and within 10 minutes we’re off into the ‘tuning’ stage.

I like watching the gradual changes in people as they return, step by step, chatting with them briefly about what happened, in some cases they soften, walk more slowly, deepen their breathing etc. A lady tells me later that she noticed ‘not being slightly irritable’ and enjoyed that state of unhurried travelling. Her default state has become to ‘travel grumpy’ and she was able to reframe it.

Then the quest.  Some great examples of questions ‘What shall I concentrate on for my PhD?’ and ‘How can I sell my services more effectively?’

And finally the sharing at Bacchus.

David points out that the working buzz of these conversations, is the sound of the 18th century coffeehouse;  arenas for debate where the RSA has its roots.   And so eventually our conversations move on to general business/culture/society discussions, mutual interests are outlined, business cards exchanged, etc. It’s good for that, Street Wisdom.

Street Wisdom Birmingham

An insightful suggestion from a senior city planner – that workers, especially executives get out and into the streets (in a mindful way?) and see and feel something of the experience of the locals, or perhaps we should say the ‘end-users’. Who are they exactly? In the commercial centre of Birmingham, competing among at least 4 highly vocal religious groups for the attention of the shoppers and commuters.

I suppose the idea is to try and combine Culture, Business and Society.

As they say, everything happens here….

Comments from participants:

it was all brilliant, inspiring exciting, intriguing and excellently facilitated and wonderful

it was enriching and pleasure filled

Walk on Water

  The RSA is on a mission.  A big one.  21st Century Enlightenment.   So we’re delighted and honoured that they are partnering with Street Wisdom.  On Dec 3, while David Attenborough was giving his vision for tackling climate change upstairs, we were out in the streets, seeing how we could bring the local environment alive and harvest insights from the urban landscape.

For over two centuries, the RSA has been a home for innovation.  So it was appropriate that this Street Wisdom ended in a way we have never tried before.   On the water.

Not in the water, you’ll be relieved to know, but on a former Thames passenger steamer transformed into a floating bar.

45 participants showed up.  46 if you include this member of the public parking their car that got involved in Vali’s group:



If you attended the event and want to share anything you learned/enjoyed/decided, then please leave a comment below.

Street Hug for Mark and Kenny for being top RSA wizards.  And special thanks to Vali and Adam, by the way for being such great Street Leaders.  Neither of them has led a group before.  They just loved their Street Wisdom experience and wanted to pass it on.   If you’d like to do the same, just let us know and we’ll make sure you have all you need.

Have a wander-ful weekend!


David Pearl


Street Enlightenment with the RSA

The extendable fire ladder was dreamed up there in the 18th century. And the life boat. They were the first to champion education for girls in Britain and (as early as 1770) the control of air pollution. The RSA – or to give it its full and wonderfully wordy name, The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, is a highly influential organisation with an extraordinary history of innovation.
Today, 260 years after the institution was founded by free-thinkers amid the coffee houses of the Strand, the RSA is giving itself a huge new mission; to enrich society through ideas and action and so spark a new wave of 21st Century Enlightenment.
So it was exciting – as well as something of an honour – when they reached out to Street Wisdom and asked us to partner with them. The RSA’s Mark Hall, who’d attended our Street Wisdom ‘train and try’ event in May explains why –
For me the RSA is about putting people at the heart of problem solving. This runs right throughout our history from launching RSA Premiums (open prize challenges to tackle social & economic problems) in the 18th Century to our current world view – The Power to Create. We believe there is so much untapped creative potential out there and we want to help unlock it. Street Wisdom embodies this – it’s open to everyone, gets you out of your normal mind-set, and gives you the space to answer your own questions and solve your own problems.

Mark and Kenny McCarthy, who leads a Mindfulness Group for staff at the RSA, hosted the event on a postcard perfect, early Autumn London afternoon. Mark has been keen to run an event outside and this event with Street Wisdom provide a perfect opportunity. More than 50 people turned up to wander the streets and they left us with some inspiring reflections on their experiences.
It was like being on holiday in my own city
An adventure within was my discovery, an inner searching, surrounded by the bustle and peace of the street
I’ll take this wonderful new tool, repeat the experience and see where it takes me!
The 4 exercises we carried out were like a lens through which to visit my dilemma from different perspectives and I’ve ended the day with a positive way forward. Fantastic!
I went to a street stuffed with connections in my past, and it gave me a list of answers about my future.

The final session, above the brilliantly named ‘Theodore Bullfrog’ pub was a boisterous affair as tables crowded with street seekers shared breakthroughs and innovations they had discovered on their quests.
Close your eyes and you could have been back in the 18th century…

RSA Street Wisdom Sept 2015 2