Equality at Kone Foundation

At Kone Foundation, we are committed to promoting equality both in our funding and our other activities. We take concrete action to prevent and address discrimination and commit to this work on a long-term basis. 

Our work to promote equality involves cooperation and continuous critical examination and development of our activities as individuals and as an organisation: recognising one’s privileges and the power structures that affect what we do.  

We are standardising the Foundation’s anti-discrimination activities and the practices involved. We strive to be aware of how a person’s status and the number of privileges they have are affected by differences that arise, for example, from social class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age. In addition to direct discrimination, we want to identify and deconstruct structural and subtle forms of discrimination that are reflected in the activities of organisations and in interactions between people in different ways. 

Our values

The Foundation’s mission is to create the conditions for multi-voiced art and research. The realisation of this mission requires a diversity of researchers and artists. We value diversity per se and in different contexts, such as in language, society and people, as well as biodiversity in nature. 

Our activities are also guided by the idea of eco-social culture and education. Eco-social culture and education means social, cultural and ecological responsibility for the human race, other species and the environment, and includes equality and justice.  

To us, implementing equality means listening to and supporting minorities in interaction with researchers and artists. Equality is the foundation of a sense of community, encounters and dialogue, and the courage to revise one’s thinking and ways of acting derives its strength from equality. Our goal is a socially equal Finland.


Our core work consists of the grant process, in which we can take equality and diversity into account at all stages. When we choose who and what to support, we often have the opportunity to either reinforce discriminatory structures or promote their dismantling. It is important to us that different kinds of researchers and artists from a wide range of backgrounds receive our support.  

We are developing our grant and residency application processes to make them more accessible in terms of the usability of the grant system, as well as communication and social accessibility. We strive to support the opportunities of people from different backgrounds and starting points to apply for funding for professional work. 

Funding programmes

The researchers funded by the Foundation have increased the research community’s and the public’s understanding of inequality, diversity and discrimination. 

The Foundation’s funding programme Will Finland Be Divided? from 2014 to 2015 studied extensively the manifestations of and changes in inequality in Finnish society. The research projects funded both through the Foundation’s general grant and the Neighbourhood programme (2016–20) have highlighted Finland’s historical diversity. 

Kone Foundation’s language programme from 2012 to 2016 sought to promote the position of Finnish and the small languages belonging to the Finno-Ugric language group, as well as minority languages in Finland. Supporting languages and enhancing the understanding of languages improves the experience and opportunities for inclusion of the people belonging to various language communities, reduces social exclusion and promotes peace in society. The programme promoted the understanding that individual and communal multilingualism is an important part of human culture. 

The funding programme “Is Democracy Deteriorating?”, which is currently underway (2021–2025), aims to increase understanding of democracy and social justice and to bring new perspectives to discussion about democracy.   

Evaluation of grant applications

We aim to select a diverse group of evaluators to assess the grant applications and instruct them to pay attention to their own preconceptions. Evaluators change every year to make sure that power is not concentrated in the same hands. 

As a result of our evaluation process, the Foundation has supported numerous projects that work in different ways to promote an equal world through research, art, journalism, activism and a wide range of cultural work.

Code of ethics for those working in projects 

It is important for the Foundation that research is carried out in an inclusive manner whenever possible. It is also important to give back research data to the community it concerns. In other respects too, the Foundation urges the recipients of research funding to comply with the ethical principles of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK, drawn up jointly by the research community, as well as the ethical principles of the research organisations involved. 

We also strive to ensure that everyone involved in projects is treated equally and fairly. In the guidelines for grantees, we have compiled an information package entitled ‘Ethical conduct in projects funded by Kone Foundation’, which we hope will contribute to the prevention of different forms of discrimination and other inappropriate behaviour within projects. We also hope that the people involved in projects will comply with the principles for a safer space when organising events.  

The purpose of the information package is to support grantees in their work and to increase their knowledge of well-being at work and of creating and maintaining a safe working atmosphere. In this way, the Foundation aims to contribute to the spread of good practices more widely.  

Saari Residence for artists and researchers

The active dismantling of structural inequality and ecological, social and psychological unsustainability are the principles on the basis of which the Saari Residence is developing its residence activities. In its selection of artists, the residence aims to achieve extensive diversity. A residence for artists and researchers that is as diverse as possible both geographically and in terms of various forms of art is a platform for experimentation that will lead to a more sustainable future.  


In the future, as part of our Grants+ activities, which support the work of our grantees, we will organise training to promote equality. We are developing the compilation of statistics concerning our grant activities in order to improve equality, parity and inclusion.

The organisation and recruitment

We are aware that the Foundation’s employees are in a privileged position. As its employees, we want to expand our understanding of equality and work towards it. By taking various kinds of training, we will improve our competence in equality and discrimination issues. 

We strive to take diversity into account in recruitment and welcome applicants of different ages, genders and disabilities, as well as people belonging to linguistic, cultural or other minorities. Positive discrimination may be applied in recruitment selection. We also strive to make the necessary adjustments as needed.  

We will compile the Foundation’s plan for equality in 2023 in order to promote equality in a more goal-oriented and systematic manner. In this plan, we will define the objectives and means of our equality work, as well as ways of monitoring the results. 

Communication and events

We use our voice for equality. In our communications and at our events, we also give a voice and space for an increasingly diverse group of researchers and artists. 

As an event organiser, we are committed to the principles for a safer space and require everyone who uses our facilities to commit to them. In this way, we commit to respecting the physical and psychological boundaries of others. The aim is to create spaces where participants can exist without the threat of discrimination, harassment or disparagement.  

The principles for a safer space are part of the accessibility of our events. You can read more detailed accessibility statements regarding our facilities here. If the event is not held in our own premises, details about accessibility can be found in the general information given about the event. If you have any questions about the accessibility of our events, please don’t hesitate to ask our staff in advance or on site. 

Updated 12/2022