Anton Howes   

Visiting Research Fellow

Email: anton.howes@kcl.ac.uk

Twitter: @antonhowes

I am currently writing a book on why innovation accelerated in the eighteenth century

in Britain, which in turn led to the Industrial Revolution. One of my key findings is that

innovation is a practice that spreads from person to person. I argue that people became

innovators because they adopted an improving mentality - and that Britain experienced

an acceleration of innovation because its innovators were committed to evangelising

that mentality further.

My first book, Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation, came

out in 2020, published by Princeton University Press. It tells the story of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce - essentially, Britain's national improvement agency, in any and every way imaginable. I like to think of it as a hidden history of three centuries of social reform, from eighteenth-century coffee houses, to the schemes of Victorian utilitarian reformers, the early environmentalists of the mid-twentieth century, and much more. Frankly, it's an organisation unlike any other.

 

As well as being a visiting fellow at King’s, I am head of innovation research at The Entrepreneurs Network, a UK-based think tank focused on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship. I am also historian-in-residence at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, having written its latest history. For two years I was also lecturer in Economic History at King's College London, and before that a post-doctoral research associate at Brown University's Political Theory Project. I received my PhD in Political Economy from King's College London in 2016.

Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Department of History

King's College London

Strand

London WC2R 2LS

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