Becoming a Fellow

Election to Fellowship

Our members are called ‘Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries’ (or ‘Fellows’ for short) and use the post-nominal initials ‘FSA’. Fellows are elected in accordance with our 1751 Royal Charter on the basis that they are ‘excelling in the knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other nations’ and are ‘desirous to promote the honour, business and emoluments of the Society’. The number of Fellows is limited by statute, and currently is around 3,300.

Our nominations and elections are entirely in the hands of our Fellows.

Who can be nominated for Fellowship?

To become a candidate for election to the Fellowship, you can either be nominated by an existing Fellow of the Society or enquire about being put forward.

Our Fellows may be working in:

  • Academia, museums or galleries and will have demonstrated their excellence through publications or other forms of media, such as journal papers, books, podcasts and television.
  • General museum leadership, curation and the organisation of exhibitions.
  • Major roles in archaeological or other projects that contribute to fieldwork, finds research, historical or archival studies.
  • The educational or volunteer sectors, demonstrating a sustained contribution to public or student understanding, such as long-term teaching in secondary schools.

All Fellows can propose candidates, with the support of at least four additional Fellows (making a minimum of five). There is no limit to the number of candidates that a Fellow can nominate or support.

To enquire about putting yourself forward for Fellowship, email our Governance Manager, Dr Linda Grant, with a brief CV (no more than two pages), a brief outline of your career to date and what you could contribute to the Society. If your enquiry is approved, you will be assigned an official sponsor from the Fellowship.

We welcome Fellows from diverse backgrounds who represent the broad range of antiquarianism.

How are Fellows elected?

Nominating a candidate for the Fellowship, i.e. acting as sponsor. This is known as ‘Taking out a Blue Paper’ because nomination papers were traditionally written or printed on blue paper.

Signing a Blue Paper. This is done at the request of the sponsor, who asks other Fellows he or she knows to sign a candidate’s Blue Paper to show their support.

Reading Blue Papers and Voting in a ballot.

Full details of the procedure for electing Fellows can be found in the Fellows’ Handbook. Please read the below instructions if you have any questions about taking out a Blue Paper, signing a Blue Paper, or voting in a ballot.

If you still have questions after reading the below, please email Dr Linda Grant at [email protected].

Taking out a Blue Paper

  • Click ‘Take out a new Blue Paper’ on the balloting area of the Fellows’ Platform.
  • Read the guidance at the top of the page.
  • Fill in the form and click ‘Submit for registration’. You will receive an email telling you that the Blue Paper has been submitted. The candidate will automatically be sent an email asking whether he or she consents to be nominated. Once this consent is received, and the General Secretary has registered the candidate, you will receive an automatic email asking you to invite other Fellows to sign the Blue Paper, and providing you with suggested text to explain the process, including the link that other Fellows will need to use to ‘sign’.
  • If your candidate declines nomination you will be advised, and all of their personal data will be deleted from our systems, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

You can check the status of Blue Papers you’ve taken out for candidates by visiting your ‘My Blue Papers’ page on the Fellows’ Platform. From there, you can also edit your Blue Paper (if needed), or find information about re-sending a request to sponsors to sign the Blue Paper.

Inviting Fellows to sign a blue paper

Candidates for election require a minimum of five signatures and the system allows the Blue Paper to be submitted for ballot as soon as five Fellows, including you as sponsor, have signed. The maximum number of signatures is twelve. You can visit your ‘My Blue Papers’ page to check who has signed as often as you wish. You will have received an automated email when the General Secretary ‘registered’ the Blue paper, providing suggested text for you to use when you contact Fellows to ‘sign’ the Blue paper (and providing the link they need to use in order to do so), but this information can also be found from your ‘My Blue Papers’ page. You click the link next to the candidate’s name to view the candidate details and scroll past the traditional Blue Paper information. This is useful if you need to remind Fellows that you’d like them to sign a Blue Paper!

Troubleshooting: If you have asked a Fellow to sign a Blue Paper and they have difficulty signing in to the Fellows’ Area to access the Blue Paper, please suggest that they contact the Society’s headquarters directly for help. They can email the Society’s Finance and Membership Assistant, Esther Heyhoe at [email protected].

In exceptional cases, if you wish to obtain signatures in hard copy from Fellows who do not use email, email the Governance Manager, Dr Linda Grant, on [email protected] asking us to send you signature labels. You then send them on to the appropriate signatories, asking them to return them to Burlington House with a clear indication of whose Blue Paper they are supporting.

Submitting a Blue Paper to a ballot

Once you have all the signatures you hope to get, visit your ‘My Blue Papers’ page, view the appropriate Blue Paper and click on the ‘Submit to ballot’ button. The Blue Paper will remain visible on your ‘My Blue Papers’ page, but you will no longer be able to edit it. The candidate’s name will be published on the Fellows’ Platform.

Signing a Blue Paper

If you receive an email inviting you to sign a Blue Paper, click on the link in the email, which will take you to the Blue Paper.

Please note:

  • This is the only way of accessing the Blue Paper. For security reasons, you cannot sign by going to the Nominating and Voting section of the Fellows’ area. This is to keep the Blue Paper secure until it is submitted to ballot so that only those Fellows who have been specifically asked to sign can access it.
  • The Blue Paper will no longer be accessible for you to sign once it is submitted to ballot, so it is a good idea to sign soon after you have received the sponsor’s email. If you miss the opportunity to support a nomination by signing the Blue Paper, you can vote in the ordinary way on a ballot paper.
  • By signing the Blue Paper, you are deemed to have cast a vote and cannot vote for that candidate again in the ballot.

The Blue Paper will be displayed along with a button that says ‘Sign this candidate’s Blue Paper’. Clicking the button will automatically add your name to the Blue Paper. You also have the option of printing out or saving a ‘Proof of signing’ certificate.

Reading Blue Papers and voting in a ballot

Voting is open to all Fellows, except that you must not vote for a candidate whom you have already sponsored or whose Blue Paper you have already signed. There are around 12 ballots each year. You can find Blue Papers and voting papers on the Fellows’ Platform in the Documents section.

To vote:

  • Click on ‘voting in a ballot’. You will see details of forthcoming ballots.
  • Online ballots close at 12 noon on the day of the ballot.
  • Click on the name of a candidate to read the Blue Paper, and if you wish use the buttons to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You will be sent an email acknowledgement of your vote.
  • If you make a mistake in your vote, please email the Society’s Governance Manager, Dr Linda Grant, on [email protected].
  • Having voted electronically, you must not vote again by post.

For help with any aspect of nominating or voting please email the Society’s Governance Manager, Dr Linda Grant, on [email protected].