Strategy 2021–2025

It is our mission to make the world a better place by creating the conditions for free and multi-voiced art and research.
Illustration: Marika Maijala

Our vision is for free research, art and culture to flourish in an ecologically sustainable and socially equal Finland. They are valuable in themselves and constantly challenge prevailing perceptions. Research outputs are part of public debate and influence decision-making. Kone Foundation is a vigilant, bold and flexible organisation that cares about its grantees and works towards building a healthy work community.


Our values

  • Academic and artistic freedom
  • Ecosocial awareness
  • Diversity
  • Boldness
  • Perseverance
  • Sense of community


We foster academic and artistic freedom. Research and the arts must be allowed to develop and operate from their own starting points. Free, responsible and diverse art and research are the prerequisites of civilisation.

To us, ecosocial awareness means social, cultural and ecological responsibility for the human race, other species and the environment. Our approach relies on the humanist quest to understand humans and the world and to think critically, but at the same time we see humans as part of the earth’s diverse life and as dependent on its biodiversity.

We value diversity per se and in different contexts, such as in nature, language, society and people. We listen carefully to debates with multiple voices.

Our idea of boldness includes experimentation, incompleteness and non-predetermination. We value multidisciplinary approaches and bringing together unexpected perspectives. Alternative viewpoints and the challenging of norms help us to understand the world better.

We encourage researchers and artists to cross the boundaries between art and research and between various areas of art and research, as well as national borders. Crossing boundaries also refers to crossing the Foundation’s own boundaries and exceeding its competences, doing things better, open-mindedness and openness in the face of new experiences, and the readiness to take risks.

We appreciate persevering, unhurried and in-depth work. Jonimatti Joutsijärvi’s aphorism “no hatching, no hatchling” is an important metaphor for us, because it describes the time it takes for an in-depth understanding to take root.

Boldness is powered by encounters, dialogue and a sense of community. This is symbolised by the metaphor of a well. People gather around a well to share ideas, listen and talk. A sense of community, hospitality and equality characterise our organisational culture.


Our operations

The Foundation’s core operations include funding the work of researchers and artists. We support free and multi-voiced art and research. The Foundation supports humanities, social sciences, environmental sciences, and artistic research. We also support artistic work and work that combines or is based on multidisciplinary research and art. We also monitor the efficiency of our support.

The Foundation operates specifically in Finland and its neighbouring countries. We fund Finns’ research and artistic work in Finland and abroad. Regardless of nationality, we support the work of researchers and artists in Finland and abroad when the work in question has a connection to Finland.

The Foundation develops ways to identify artists and researchers of interest through, for example, investigative foundation work. The Foundation works not only as a brainstorming partner and mentor, but also as a creator of connections and networks for applicants.

Funding programmes, themed calls for applications and other focused funding are ways of directing attention on issues the Foundation considers important and increasing understanding of them. During the strategy period, we will focus on the issues of democracy, diversity and sustainable financial structures.

The Saari Residence’s international residency provides artists and researchers with the opportunity to focus on their work and meet each other. The key words are slowness, insight and change.

Saari Residence is a test platform for the future. The residence’s long-term activities and thinking are underpinned by an ecological approach, which also covers social and mental sustainability. The residence provides a place and context for finding and sharing sustainable working methods and for eliminating structural inequalities that make artists’ work more difficult. The goal is to be a forerunner in sustainable operating models within the international residency sector.

In addition to funding, the Foundation supports the expertise, resources and mental well-being of researchers and artists, as well as their networking. This support is called Grants+. The metaphor of the well is at the heart of the Grants+ work: encounters are important. We continue to develop the Grants+ system using service design methods in interaction with grantees.

The number one purpose of our communications is to provide visibility for grantees’ work. We reinforce influencing through information; in other words, we make decision-makers and influencers aware of projects and make projects available to them. Our communication is interactive, dialogic, curious and alert.