Funding programme: Is Democracy Eroding? (2021–2025)

Kone Foundation’s newest funding programme aims to increase our collective understanding of democracy and social justice and to bring new perspectives to common notions of democracy.

Kone Foundation’s major thematic funding programmes run for several years each, allowing researchers and artists to work in-depth on specific themes and topics. In 2021 Kone Foundation launched its current funding programme “Is Democracy Eroding?” Funding within the programme can be applied for through annual thematic grant calls.

Globally, democracy is statistically more common than ever before, but the quality of many current democracies has been eroded by authoritarians, discrimination, the manipulation of electoral systems and restrictions of media freedom. The climate crisis is causing further social instability.  

Projects funded by the programme can address, for example, inclusion and everyday life: What are the mechanisms and practices of participation and encounter? How does language act as an obstacle, challenge, enabler or a reformer of democracy? Who can participate in democratic decision-making and how? What are the rights of other biological species, and who represents them in a democracy?  

The programme may cover the history, institutions and current status of democracy and the rule of law. What is the relationship of monopolies of violence to democracy, such as the military and the police? What is the current state of democracy in academic institutions, and what does its potential erosion mean for the future of research, as well as for our understanding of democracy? How is democracy present in the arts and private foundations? Finally, what does the future of democracy look like?  

The programme will include funding calls for projects based on research but can combine research with art, journalism and/or activism. Longer projects lasting up to four years are preferred. The programme will include opportunities to bring together people working on similar topics.

No thematic funding call of the programme “Is Democracy Eroding?” will be organised in 2023. The themes of the programme will be taken into account in the general call of 2023.