Kone Foundation launches the new “Is Democracy Eroding?” funding programme – the first thematic grant call will open in September

Kone Foundation is launching a funding programme that aims to increase our collective understanding of democracy and social justice and to bring new perspectives to common notions of democracy. The first thematic funding call in the programme, “Is Democracy Eroding?”, will focus on projects that explore the connection between language and democracy.

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.  


The thematic grant call “Language, Power and Democracy” will open in September   

The first thematic funding call in the programme, “Is Democracy Eroding?”, will focus on projects that explore the connection between language and democracy. The awareness of the role of language in society has increased, and its significance in societal participation is now understood better than ever. At the same time, however, discriminatory language is becoming more common and continues to spread on social media. How has the situation of language use changed, and how can we meet the needs of all members of society? How do schools take everyday multilingualism into account, and how can they improve? How has new public management been embedded in the language of administration and power? The growth of digitalisation and the use of artificial intelligence may make face-to-face interaction less common and services less accessible to some citizens. Will they lead to experiences of injustice and increasing exclusion? 

The projects funded by the thematic call must perform academic research or be based on academic research. The foundation encourages multidisciplinary co-operation between social scientists and linguists, and the partners can include artists, journalists and activists.  

Kone Foundation’s annual grant call will be held 1–15 September, 2021. The thematic grant call will be arranged as part of the annual grant call.


More information about the annual grant call