Some notes on working grants in Finland

In addition to Project Grants, many government and private funding bodies based in countries in the Nordic region (and elsewhere) provide Working Grants. This means that artists (often explicitly defined as artists, not curators/producers/arts workers etc) can apply for what is essentially a monthly wage, for a number of months, and based on a predicted percentage of working time (25%, 50%, 75%, 100%). 

In Finland, post-doc academic researchers in the arts and science fields are supported too, and for all, the working grant amount is dependent on either a standard monthly rate announced by the governing body, or a tiered monthly amount, based on the length of your experience working within a particular field. 

Recipients don’t need to keep track of every little expense, or acquit this payment in the detailed manner usually reserved for project grants. For some of our group who are used to logics of overpromising and overproducing to skim a small fee from a project, this feels particularly revolutionary—or perhaps they are not used to the basic tenets of social welfare 🙃  Public sourced (i.e. city and state-funded) working grants are tax free; working grants from private foundations are tax-free to a certain amount, which changes each year, but is currently €20,788,44 per year. 

In many cases, these grants support individual artistic practices. People who work in the arts (who are not artists), are often more successful when applying as a working group—for example, a curator can gather a group of artists, and allocate (usually small) working grants to themselves and each member, along with some project costs. If you apply for artist payments as fees instead of working grants, then you should budget around 40% on top of the fee, to cover employer costs, taxes, and pensions. 

It is perhaps unprecedented for a curatorial collective such as ourselves to receive funding of this scope, and we are grateful that we were supported by Kone Foundation, who recognised and believed in the need to approach this work full time (rather than downplaying or underestimating the hours required to start tackling structural change). Thank you Kone! 

In the autumn 2020, we are facilitating workshops about grant writing, similar to what we did in 2019 with Globe Art Point. Sign up for our newsletter to receive more info.