Kone Foundation’s annual report 2018 presents a year of changes

Moving to Lauttasaari Manor and the 10th anniversary of the Saari Residence for artists were the major highlights of Kone Foundation’s year 2018. The newly-published annual report wraps up the year’s achievements. The Foundation awarded EUR 28 million worth of grants.


2018 was the busiest year in Kone Foundation’s history: In Helsinki, the Foundation’s staff left behind the cramped facilities on Tehtaankatu and settled in the newly-renovated Lauttasaari Manor. At the same time, the Foundation’s administrative systems were also improved. The 10th anniversary of Saari Residence for artists and researchers was celebrated in Mietoinen amidst the ongoing renovation.

The repairs of the Lauttasaari Manor were completed in the spring, and the Foundation’s staff in Helsinki moved to the new premises in Lauttasaari in May. This move to Lauttasaari marks a new phase for the manor, which was built in 1837, as well as for the oldest building in Lauttasaari, the Red Villa, which dates back to 1791–93.

Transparency and interaction were the guidelines observed in the renovation of the Lauttasaari Manor and the planning of its future activities. These values soon materialised in a concrete way in early June when some 1,200 visitors attended the event Peek inside the Manor, where the audience had a chance to admire and engage with art all over the manor and its park.


EUR 28 million worth of support for art and research

In 2018, Kone Foundation awarded grants, prizes and donations totalling EUR 28 million. The Foundation held its annual general grant call, a thematic grant call titled ‘Our Vital Neighbours’ and the first round of applications for residencies at Lauttasaari Manor from 1 to 15 Sep 2018. The application round for residencies at Saari Residence for artists in various fields was held from 1 to 15 Aug 2018.

The annual grant call returned 5,577 applications. In December, a total of EUR 22.3 million was awarded in grants to 251 individuals, working groups and organisations. More than 600 individual grant recipients were involved in the projects that were awarded a grant. A total of 24 grants, EUR 3.8 million in all, were awarded in the grant application round ‘Our Vital Neighbours’. Organised for the first time, the residency application round for Lauttasaari Manor resulted in two operators being awarded a grant.

A total of 25 artists and 15 working groups were selected for the Saari Residence in 2018, out of 516 applications received from 57 countries. Moreover, an Invited Artist residency and ‘Artist at risk’ asylum residencies were granted for Saari Residence in 2018.


Making research and researchers visible

Kone Foundation’s funding programme ‘Is Finland becoming polarized?’ (2014–15) is one of the largest efforts ever undertaken to examine inequalities in Finnish society. The programme awarded a total of EUR 3.8 million to fund approximately 30 projects involving more than a hundred journalists, artists and experts in the human sciences. Published in October, the collection of articles edited by journalist Johanna Vehkoo and philosopher Ville Lähde, Jakautuuko Suomi? Eriarvoisuus toimittajien, tutkijoiden ja taiteilijoiden silmin (Is Finland becoming polarized? Inequalities from the point of view of journalists, researchers and artists) brought together and analysed working methods and the results of projects. The book investigates the complexity of inequalities in Finland today.

Kone Foundation’s EUR 25,000 Vuoden Tiedekynä 2018 prize was awarded in the field of environmental research. It is one of Finland’s largest awards for research writing. The award was presented on 9 May to Sampo Soimakallio, Adjunct Professor and Head of Unit, for his article on the effects of biomass energy on carbon sinks and GHG emissions.

In September, the Foundation organised an excursion to the Foundation-owned Kulla Nature Reserve on the island of Kemiönsaari for decision-makers, journalists and the grantees funded in the theme-based application round ‘Ecological Compensation in Society and Culture’. The aim of the excursion was to communicate the information researchers have discovered on the possibilities of ecological compensation halting biodiversity loss.

Building interaction and a sense of community with and between the various stakeholders of Kone Foundation – above all our grant recipients – is important to us. In 2018, the Foundation organised 39 events, with a total of 2,722 participants. Also, Saari Residence organised 36 events of its own, with a total of 1,370 participants. The largest event of the year was ‘Peek inside the Manor’, an open house at Lauttasaari Manor, which attracted more than 1,200 visitors in June.

The year 2018 was a record-breaker in terms of media coverage. The major communications efforts had to do with the completion of the renovation of Lauttasaari Manor, with the media taking an interest in the new manor manager and in the cultural achievement of the Foundation taking up the manor in the first place. The Foundation website was reformed and relaunched in March. The visual profile of the Foundation was revised, and a separate visual profile was created for the Puhuri café. The five-episode podcast Uusi naapuri [New neighbour] was published during the autumn, reaching more than 1,000 listeners in all.


Saari Residence 10 years

The greatest efforts of Saari Residence’s 10th anniversary were the publication of the book Saari näkyvissä! (Island ahoy!), which presented ten years of the residence’s activities, and the implementation of the Open Day and the Harvest Party on a larger scale than in previous years. One of the year’s goals was to increase the residence’s international visibility and strengthen its alumni and cooperation networks. The activities inspired by the anniversary year included the establishment of the communal space Saareke in the centre of Mynämäki. Saareke aims to bring the activities of the Saari Residence and its artists closer to the residents of Mynämäki.

American playwright Kevin Doyle acted as the Saari Invited Artist from September to the end of April. Saari Residence’s community artist Pia Bartsch worked on various projects with both new and already familiar participants. The work of the community artist literally brought new colour to the centre of Mynämäki, when local participants together with Bartsch and community artist Heidi Hänninen created the mural MynäMuraali on the wall of the Mynämäki upper secondary school. In April, the Saari Residence’s collaborative exhibition at the Photographic Gallery Hippolyte in Helsinki presented Matthew Cowan’s exhibition ‘para field notes’. This artist from New Zealand was the Saari Invited Artist in 2016.