We have recently begun drafting a new strategy for Kone Foundation in order to meet the great challenges of the future in the best possible and most natural way for us. The drafting of the strategy is not, as is most often the case today, the sole responsibility of the Foundation’s Board, but the Foundation’s staff and especially its managing committee are more closely involved in the strategy process than before. We also receive assistance from the future-oriented Saari Residence Advisory Board, which has creative expertise and a good feel for the research and art field. We are also surveying the views of our most important stakeholders, researchers and artists, about the future of their field, as well as finding out what they expect from the foundation.
In February 2020, we organised a lunch event on the future of art at Lauttasaari Manor with the aim of outlining the views of young artists about the future of making art for the purpose of strategy work. Both a few young artists working with a grant from the Foundation and a group of mostly recently graduated artists suggested by the former were invited to the lunch. At the table where I sat, the first thing that came up was the young artists’ experience of the injustice in the world and their concern about ecological, social and cultural exploitation. Instead of goal-oriented and short-term projects, my tablemates hoped for peace to work and continuity, a chance to try and fail. To support their own art making, they longed for discussion and community, as well as spaces for multidisciplinary encounters.
A lunch event on the future of research is still in the pipeline, but I would imagine that young researchers share the artists’ concerns about the world’s injustice and that their hopes also include community, continuity and peace in work as well as being allowed to try and fail. The need for safe work and work environment and a supportive community is very understandable in our turbulent world, and the message is clear to the Foundation: we will continue to provide long-term grants to artists and researchers as well as offer spaces and opportunities for encounters. We are also considering whether we could focus more on supporting the work of artists and artist groups instead of, or alongside, funding individual projects. After the lunch event on the future of research, we will be able to think more accurately about possible changes in emphasis as regards research activities as well.
We at Kone Foundation, too, are concerned about the deepening ecological crisis and the increasing economic, social and cultural inequality in Finland and worldwide. As part of our strategy five years ago, we already set as the Foundation’s mission to make the world a better place by facilitating bold initiatives in research and art. What is certain is that we want to continue making the world a better place, and our most important means of doing so will undoubtedly continue to be supporting research and artistic work. But what else can perhaps be done to achieve a fairer world or by what other means we can defend the values we consider important will be revealed once our new strategy is completed in the autumn of 2020.