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.

To become a candidate for election to the Fellowship, you must be nominated by an existing Fellow of the Society. Elections are by secret ballot, and it is possible for candidates to be rejected. The election process is entirely in the hands of our Fellows, and the General Secretary and staff at Burlington House are not able to propose people for Fellowship.

Election procedure

A candidate for election is proposed using a certificate known as a Blue Paper. This states the names, profession or occupation, qualifications and address of the candidate, along with a statement by the sponsor supporting the candidate’s election to the Fellowship. The Blue Paper must be signed by at least five (and up to 12) existing Fellows certifying that, from their personal knowledge, the candidate would make a worthy Fellow.

Once it is returned to the General Secretary, the Blue Paper is read at an Ordinary Meeting before being suspended for a period at the Society’s apartments in Burlington House for Fellows to read. The candidate’s name is then included in a ballot, in which Fellows may vote online, by post or in person. A ratio of two ‘yes’ votes for every ‘no’ vote cast must be achieved for the candidate to be elected as a Fellow.

Fellows of the Society are able to find more information about elections and taking out a Blue Paper in the Balloting Area of the website (login required).

If you have questions about governance or Fellowship, please email [email protected].