Increasingly, both artists and art institutions are talking about the lack of connection between the function of their arts practice and the way it is funded by governmental bodies.
ONS FONDS want to offer an alternative. Away from the vicious circle of over-regulation and juridification that creates an illusion of measurability and objectivity, we want to move towards a system based on trust. A system that puts artistic content at the center of its deliberations, resulting in sharp funding decisions.
ONS FONDS is open to all professionals in the performing arts. As a member, you can apply for funding and become a part of the decision-making process: peer-to-peer, with shared responsibilities and as few rules as possible.
As members of ONS FONDS we are preparing a trial set-up. Become a member for 50 euros and make the experiment happen!
WHAT DOES ONS FONDS WANT?
Peer-to-peer, trust based, with as few rules as possible.
ONS FONDS started from the observation that many arts funds operate in a sphere of quantification and institutionalized distrust. Artists and art institutions are forced to adjust their funding applications to parameters and formats that do not respond to their practice and the logic of their projects. These requirements apply to both the process of creation, production, and presentation of artistic works, as well as to ways of organizing and financing.
Assessments aim at objectivity. Application evaluations are quantified and funding decisions are the result of mathematical formulas. Assessment committees no longer include peers, because of possible conflicts of interest. Is this a watertight system or just an illusion?
This system encourages juridification: when an artist is not selected and wants to challenge a decision, they focus on procedural errors and miscalculations. Both parties legally ensure themselves against one another, litigating their case in court. The result is a subsidies system that is miles away from the artistic heart of the matter.
According to the recommendation of the Raad voor Cultuur, there is a need for a better alignment with artists’ requirements for creation, for less rules and boxes to tick, and for more versatile and adventurous projects.
With ONS FONDS, the Dutch performing arts field takes responsibility for a thriving artistic climate by founding an alternative subsidy system from within. ONS FONDS proposes to make mutual trust, joint responsibility, and substantive conversation into core values guiding the distribution of subsidies.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
ONS FONDS is a laboratory for new practices in the distribution of subsidies, an experimental forerunner for future reforms.
We need 200 members for the first trial of ONS FONDS. When each member contributes 50 euros, we will be able to invest 10.000 euros in one or more projects.
With this trial of ONS FONDS, we want to answer questions such as: What does it mean to apply without a format? How far can we take deregulation? What instruments does a committee need to come to a good and balanced assessment? What are basic principles for our ethics code?
ONS FONDS will start in Autumn 2018 and will adhere to the following principles:
- Everyone in the performing arts field can become a member. Artists, communication staff, technicians, dramaturges, cashiers, teachers, policy makers, curators, and performers. You become a member in your personal capacity, not on behalf of an institution or institute.
- As a member you can submit an application for funding.
- ONS FONDS does not have a predetermined agenda, quantitative frames, or conditions for the applications. Except for these two:
1) the applicant must elaborate on the way the project contributes towards a thriving arts field 2) the application cannot be submitted to other, governmental funds that would exclude the application based on quantitative restrictions.
- As a member you can be selected by lot to participate in the assessment committee. You are allowed to refuse.
- ONS FONDS does not have a legal department, but works with an ethical code. The assessment committee will develop an ethical code in order to show that we can operate peer-to-peer and that the performing arts community is capable of assessing each other’s work. The committee is tasked with ensuring that the assessment and selection procedure remains transparent for all other members .
- The membership fee functions as a show of faith during this trial set up. After the trial period, ONS FONDS will enter into discussions with various other funds to share the results of this test.