Ariadne’s Thread – December 2018

Ariadne’s Thread – December 2018
December 12, 2018 Lori Stanciu

December 2018

Ariadne’s Thread is a monthly update of events, briefings and research for social change and human rights funders. 

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Ariadne News & Events

SEASON’S GREETINGS:As the festive season approaches, we’d like to take a moment to wish you a happy and peaceful holiday, and to thank you for your continued support. We look forward to working with you in the coming year. 

REGISTER NOW – 2019 ARIADNE FORECAST ROUNDTABLE MEETINGS: Ariadne is creating its fifth Forecast for European Social Change and Human Rights Funders. We will be holding roundtables on January 29th in Paris (in French), January 30th in London (in English), February 7th in Milan (in Italian), February 12th in Leiden (in Dutch), and February 28th in Berlin (in German), which will focus on relevant trends in the field of social change and human rights at national, European and global levels and in the philanthropic field itself. We will open each meeting with the results of a short survey of pivotal grant-makers in their region. Two to three senior forecasters in each location will then offer expert input and there will be an open discussion between funders. The results of the survey and roundtables will be collated into a 2018 Ariadne Forecast for publication by the end of March. For more details and to register for the location of your choice, please click on the cities. Please note these are funder-only events.

Elections and Democracy – What Role for Funders? 2019 will be an important election year in the Netherlands and in Belgium, with the European elections falling together with those for national and/or regional office. Against that background, Ariadne invites funders to join a roundtable in Amsterdam for discussing which role these and other elections play in their current work and what funders can do to strengthen political participation and democratic discourse. The meeting will take place on Wednesday 23rd January 2019 at 14:00-15:30 at the Democracy and Media Foundation, Amsterdam. Click here to register.

REGISTER NOW – A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH TO CAPACITY BUILDING OF EUROPEAN ANTI-DISCRIMINATION NGOs: This meeting will gather representatives of grantmaking foundations to discuss a potential collaborative approach to support NGOs’ capacity-building and exchanges. The discussions will be based on Ariadne’s Seeking an Inclusive Europe report, the results of related workshops and the insights gathered during an upcoming survey of the CSOs’ needs. This meeting will be held in English and is open to representatives of grantmaking foundations who support projects for social change and human rights both in national contexts and internationally within Europe. The event will take place on Monday 28th January at 12.00-17.00 CET in Brussels, Belgium. To register, please click here.

SAVE THE DATE – 2019 ARIADNE POLICY BRIEFING: Ariadne is pleased to announce that the 2019 Ariadne Policy Briefing will be held Wednesday 3rd to Friday 5th April 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Individuals from The Social Change Initiative, Fondazione con il Sud, The Baring Foundation, Calala Women’s Fund, SOLIDARNA – Foundation for Human Rights and Solidarity, Fondation Abbé Pierre and Adessium will join this year’s planning committee. More details will follow on the portal soon.

REGISTER NOW – ARIADNE PORTAL TUITION: A half-hour of tuition to improve your skill in using the Ariadne Portal will be held on Tuesday 15th January at 15:00 GMT. This is an online webinar you can participate in from your desk. To join, you will need a computer or tablet (iPad/Android) to watch the online demonstration. To register, please click here. For additional portal tuition dates, please click here.

*To register for Ariadne events, your institution must be a member organisation of Ariadne. For questions regarding your membership status, please contact Hannah Stevens.


New Research, Articles and Judgements

Photo: ejaugsburg/pixaby (CC0 Creative Commons)

Human and non-human rights – convergence or conflict? This OpenGlobalRights article writes how, on the 70th anniversary of the UDHR, claims to recognise non-human rights are advancing and pose challenges to the anthropocentrism at the heart of the human rights movement.

A Left-Wing Critique of the Migration Pact: This article from International Politics and Society writes that, although migration is a manifestation of inequality, its structural causes in a capitalist, globalised world are not addressed in the UN Global Compact for Migration.

Authoritatians are Exporting Surveillance Tech, and with it their Vision for the Internet: Chinese telecom giant ZTE is exporting surveillance technology to Venezuela, according to a recent Reuters investigation. This ZTE incident is the most recent in a long line, where surveillance technology from authoritarian countries – facial recognition software, internet monitoring tools, biometric sensors, and more – is exported elsewhere. This blog from Council on Foreign Relations outlines the implications. This OpenGlobalRights article looks at the censorship of LGBTQ internet content around the world.

After a Year of Tech Scandals, Our 10 Recommendations for AI : The AI Now institute recently published its report on the state of AI in 2018. In this blog, they build upon their 2016, 2017 and 2018 reports to provide 10 practical recommendations that can help create accountability frameworks capable of governing those powerful technologies.

Fighting the wrong battles: This article from International Politics and Society explains why the European elections are about more than a simple fight between pro-Europeans and anti-Europeans.

Switching Focus: Whose Responsibility to Improve Disabled People’s Employment and Pay: This report  addresses the question of whether there is a set of policy levers that could, together, encourage employers to improve disabled people’s employment and pay. It also considers how proposals could be framed and pursued, to enable people to unite to achieve them.

Persistent Antisemitism Hangs over EU: Antisemitic hate speech, harassment and fear of being recognised as Jewish; these are some of the realities of being Jewish in the EU today. It appears to be getting worse, finds the results of a major repeat survey of Jews from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the largest ever of its kind worldwide.

Stansted 15 Guilty Verdicts Show the Authorities Have Used a Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut: In this blog, Director of Amnesty International UK, Kate Allen, writes how punishing a group of peaceful protesters who took non-violent direct action in defence of human rights with a terrorism-related offence – ‘endangering safety at aerodromes’ – carrying a maximum life imprisonment sentence is uncharted territory for British justice. It throws into question the country’s respect for the right of every individual to peacefully protest.

Caliban unleashed: What next for strategic litigation in an illiberal era? This OpenGlobalRights article writes how there are inherent limitations in litigating health rights, but it has led to important victories, and must remain a key strategy as populism surges.

Civil Society Space: Views of Organisations: Civil society organisations play a critical role in democracies, and the importance of their work is widely recognised in international legal and policy documents. However, they face many obstacles when it comes to their day-to-day work. Based on the results of an online consultation with FRA’s civil society network, the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP), in September 2018, this paper complements the January 2018 report.


Blogs and Other Sites of Interest

VIDEO: The power and promise of social justice: What does a revolution look like? And what does it take to make change happen? In this TEDx, Executive Director of Mama Cash, Zohra Moosa, shares her insights on how, with everyday acts, we can all be a part of that process.

PODCAST: Mothers of Invention: Climate change is a man-made problem – with a feminist solution! ​Join former Irish President Mary Robinson and comedian Maeve Higgins in this uplifting new podcast, celebrating amazing women doing remarkable things in pursuit of climate justice. Each episode features the Mothers of Invention driving powerful solutions to climate change – from the grassroots to the court room, the front lines to the board room – all over the world.

Q&A: UN Needs Almost Total Reform, Says Geneva Chief: As growing concerns over climate change, human rights abuses and mass migration intensify pressure for UN reform, Michael Møller, director-general of its Geneva office in Switzerland, insists that multilateralism is all the more vital. But the Danish diplomat, who has spent nearly 40 years serving the UN, said the organisation must work harder to keep pace with the changing nature of global challenges. He sat down for a Q&A with Devex.

BLOG: I Quit Google Over Its Censored Chinese Search Engine. The Company Needs to Clarify Its Position on Human Rights: Project Dragonfly is a once-secret project within Google to build a version of its search engine that meets the demands of the ruling Chinese Communist Party – namely, that Google proactively censor ‘sensitive’ speech and comply with China’s data provenance and surveillance laws. The author of this blog worked as a research scientist at Google when Dragonfly was revealed, and resigned in protest after a month of internally fighting for clarification.

VIDEO: How Law Can Be Used Creatively as a Tool for Change: The keynote speaker at this year’s PILnet Global Forum was international lawyer Kimberley Motley. The first foreign attorney to litigate in Afghanistan’s Courts, Kimberly Motley is considered one of the most effective attorneys operating in Afghanistan. In this video, she inspires participants to break barriers in areas where there are gender, jurisdictional, religious, or cultural challenges to achieving justness. Kimberley Motley encompassed the theme of the Forum, ‘Law for Change’ and emphasised that in just societies, law works for all.  Click here for workshop videos on Pro Bono Frontiers: Helping Bhutan Create its First Law School, Providing Pro Bono Assistance to Asylum Seekers in Lesvos, and Making a Legal Contribution to Social Change: Using the Law to Support Abortion Law Reform in Ireland.

ARTICLE: How Inclusive Practices Transform Workplace Culture: In this excerpt from In Challenge Culture: Why The Most Successful Organizations Run on Pushback, Dunkin’ Brands chairman Nigel Travis explains the usefulness of open and honest communication.

BLOG: Human Rights Defenders Give Sobering Reality Check at EU Forum on Business & Human Rights: This blog from Business & Human Rights Resource Centre outlines ‘voices from the ground’ – the real-life experiences from human rights defenders and community representatives that took the central stage at one of the opening sessions of 2018 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.

ARTICLE: A charity just admitted that its program wasn’t working. That’s a big deal: Evidence Action admitted that one of its programmes didn’t seem to work. This article from Vox argues that the organisation’s commitment to research and transparency should be a model for other nonprofits.

Do you have a great blog post, case study or podcast you’d like to contribute? We would love to feature it. Email Hannah Stevens at


Go Big…? Trends in closing space grant-making: A new report from the Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society (FICS), draws on desk research and in-depth interviews to explore the emerging trends in how funders are responding to closing civil society space – from addressing the threats and opportunities of the digital age, to strategies that help build solidarity across sectors, and many more.

Money & Movements: The ‘Money & Movements’ conference brought together 100+ activists and funders to strategise about the future of resourcing feminist movements and social change globally. Each of these graphics illustrates a key takeaway from the conference. They are meant to inspire funders and movements seeking to build a more just world.

Treating Homelessness as a Systemic Problem: New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) recently published a report on the homelessness crisis in the UK. It’s geared towards funders, with the goal of demonstrating that homelessness is a problem caused by the failure of systems and includes suggestions for interventions that can tackle these failures. The report brings together government data, existing research and insight from people working in the sector to highlight the scale of the issue and share our ideas for funding systemically. A brief overview of the report’s findings is also available.

Funding for Democracy and Participatory Grantmaking: Two Sides of the Same Coin: Trends cited as evidence of democracy’s demise – dwindling participation in civic life, attacks on the press meant to undermine its legitimacy, the proliferation of digital disinformation, the rise of authoritarianism in formerly democratic countries – have been joined by renewed scrutiny of philanthropy, which finds itself under fire for being an anti-democratic tool of wealthy elites intent on shaping the world to their benefit. This criticism, however, exists alongside the reality that there are foundations funding efforts to strengthen democracy and loosen the grip of elite interests on the levers of power. This blog from Philanthropy News Digest takes a look at funding for democracy and participatory grantmaking.

Racism and international philanthropy: How little practices and big resource flows are connected: In this blog, Executive Director, Solomé Lemma and Director of Communications, Jennifer Lentfer at Thousand Currents  ask if we know what it means to share power, and share five concrete changes funders can make. Check out the highlights of their recent live Twitter chat, and follow their #RedefinePhilanthropy hashtag.

Grant-makers accused of bias against minority-led charities: A report by the Grant Givers’ Movement says a lack of diversity at trusts and foundations affects the fundraising efforts of charities run by people from minority backgrounds. Trusts and foundations have a “serious problem of bias” against some charities led by people from ethnic minority backgrounds, a new report warns. The report, Discrimination, Prejudice & Isomorphism, says that a lack of diversity among staff and trustees of trusts and foundations affects the fundraising efforts of minority-led charities.

Ten things progressive funders must learn from conservative ones, or we are all screwed: Conservative funders focus on the big picture, act quickly, do not micromanage, provide significant general operating funds, fund for twenty or thirty years, support leaders and movements, engage in policy and politics, and treat grantees as equal partners. Progressive funders – with a few exceptions – intellectualise, are severely risk-averse, focus narrowly, fund isolated strategies and programs, avoid politics, and treat grantees like parasites and freeloaders. This blog outlines ten things progressive funders urgently need to learn from conservative ones.

Data in Dialogue: People with Disabilities: This blog highlights that people with disabilities make up 15% of the global population yet received just 3% of the grant funding captured in Human Rights Funders Network’s 5-year analysis of human rights funding trends. Significantly, people with disabilities are the only population we track where the main issue funded is health and wellbeing rights, which received 33% of the funding. “What it says is that disability is still seen primarily as a health issue, a medical issue,” explains Diana Samarasan of Disability Rights Fund. She says that when the funding is not for health-related interventions, it tends to go toward things like the arts or sports, where people with disabilities are given some space to succeed. Other areas, like economic and labour rights or sexual and reproductive rights, received far less support with just 5% and less than 1% of grant funding, respectively. Advocates emphasise that people with disabilities have the same rights and needs as other communities – and that the funding should reflect this.

Girls to the Front: A Snapshot of Girl-Led Organising: This series of case studies highlights the outstanding work girls have been doing around the world. They were selected and prepared by the Girl Advisors involved in the recent Girls to the Front research study. For more information on girl-led organising, read the full report.

The next Thread will go out on Thursday 17th January. We would love to hear from you! Please contact Hannah Stevens by 15th January if you would like to share announcements, events, or resources for the next issue.


Jobs and Tenders

Vice President, Organizational Development and Global Operations – EMpower: EMpower seeks a Vice President, Organizational Development and Global Operations. The successful candidate will provide strategic guidance and oversee Organizational Development, Talent Management, Operations and Finance. This is a new position and an opportunity to help shape EMpower’s next phase of growth. London, United Kingdom or New York, United States. Deadline for applications is 4th January 2019.

Executive Director – Sigrid Rausing Trust: Sigrid Rausing Trust is seeking an Executive Director who will be responsible for leading the organisation through a period of ambitious growth and expansion.  This will include working closely with its boards on implementing new strategic priorities, managing an experienced programme team to deliver effective grant making in challenging contexts, and representing the Trust externally. Location: London, United Kingdom. Deadline for applications is 10.00 on 17th December 2018.

Programme Officer (Human Rights Initiative) – Open Society Foundations: OSF’s Human Rights Initiative is recruiting a Program Officer to develop and implement grant-making strategies that mobilise human rights supporters and reach beyond human rights allies to other sectors to foster new tools and networks to safeguard meaningful participation and protect activism. This work focuses on two areas: engagement around financial and economic frameworks that limit space and engagement with the private sector as a possible ally on civic space and making the business case for civil society. Location: Washington D.C., United States. Deadline for applications is 18th December 2018.

Programme Officer (Special Interest Programme) – Oak Foundation: Oak Foundation is hiring a Programme Officer to join its Special Interest Programme (SIP). SIP grants usually fall outside the main programmatic areas of the Foundation. They reflect the special interests of the Foundation’s Trustees and are diverse, covering a range of fields including medical research, humanitarian aid and development, education, access to the arts and environmental issues. Location: London, United Kingdom. Deadline for applications is 14th December 2018.

Funding Officer – Big Lottery Fund: Big Lottery Fund is looking for a Funding Officer to join its Midlands regional team and work in Lincolnshire to ensure that the Fund’s funding responds to what matters to local communities. The successful candidate will build long-term relationships with people and organisations, talk about their ideas and ambitions and assess funding requests providing useful feedback and support. Location: Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. Deadline for application is 6th January 2019.

Program Administrative Specialist (Public Health Program) – Open Society Foundations: OSF’s Public Health Program (PHP) is seeking two Program Administrative Specialists to provide advanced administrative and operational support for grant-making activities of two PHP divisions, reporting to the Director for Media and Narratives and the Director for Community Health and Criminal Justice, respectively. Location: New York, United States. Deadline for application is 31st December 2018.

*For more jobs, see the ‘Career Opportunities’ section on the landing page of the Ariadne portal.


Public Meetings

January 27th – February 2nd
Responding to the anti-gender movement: Applications are now open for a participatory training on building new narratives in response to the anti-gender movement. The workshop will combine theoretical content, participatory activities, peer-learning, input from experts and activists beyond the LGBTI movement, as well as lots of opportunities to share your own experiences and hear from the experiences of others. The workshop builds on the work developed by ILGA-Europe on strategic communication and campaigning. For more information about ILGA-Europe work on the topic and access to resources visit the dedicated section of our website. The event will take place between 31st January and 2nd February 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.


April 21st – 27th
Philanthropy Associations of The Future: This meeting will examine the philanthropy support networks and associations of the future, identifying factors that will help and hinder the development of the kinds of associations we want and need.  Philanthropy, and its context, is changing fast, and there will be new challenges and opportunities for philanthropy support associations. There is general agreement that we need a strong global ecosystem of philanthropy support, but there is little knowledge about how we will achieve it. This meeting, and the larger process of recording knowledge about philanthropic association work, will seek to help emerging and existing networks to strengthen their leadership in the philanthropic space, which in turn will strengthen their foundations’ (members) work, and ultimately, civil society. The event will take between 24th and 26th April 2019 in Kingston, Jamaica.


January 13th – 19th
Transforming the world through film and philanthropy: Peter Samuelson, a Hollywood and British film producer, will discuss his vision and journey as a media entrepreneur moving towards an active social entrepreneurial approach to his philanthropic interests. Participants will discuss the risk appetite for new models within the charitable sector and for philanthropists and social investors; addressing emergent philanthropy which is better aligned with the complexity of today’s society. The event will take place on 17th January 2019 in London, United Kingdom.


January 20th – 26th
Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle: ‘Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle’ explores the agenda behind the neglect, demolition and regeneration of council estates in the UK over the past thirty years. The film reveals how individuals and communities are fighting against the state and private developers, as they try to save their homes from demolition, while investigating the decisions that turned a crisis into a tragedy. Dispossession is the story of people who know that housing is not an expensive luxury, but a fundamental human right. The film screening will be hosted by Queen Mary University of London’s International State Crime Initiative and be followed by a panel discussion. The event will take place on 22nd January 2019 in London, United Kingdom.


March 17th – 23rd
Bond Annual Conference: The Bond Annual Conference attracts over 1,000 people from across the international development and humanitarian sectors. NGOs, civil society leaders, funders, researchers, government and private sector come together to debate crucial current issues, share ideas and interrogate emerging trends. The conference comes at a time when civil society faces an increasingly complicated political environment and growing funding pressures. Earlybird rates until 31 December. Get a further 15% discount with code: Marnp15. The event will take place between 18th and 19th March 2019 in London, United Kingdom.


January 27th – February 2nd
Alliance Breakfast Club: Royal Philanthropy: There seems much to commend in the philanthropic works of members of royal families. They bring networks, credibility and resources to improve health and education, tackle neglected causes, and catalyse change. But is there another side to this story? Some note concerns about transparency while others see royal support for philanthropy as an expression of hereditary power and, therefore, unearned privilege. As royal influence and ambition grows, this Alliance Breakfast Club will explore the nature and state of royal philanthropy around the world. The event will take place on 1st February 2019 in London, United Kingdom.


February 3rd – 16th
In memory of Naomi Hersi: the impalpable lives and history of queer and trans and intersex people of colour: This exhibition brings together a collection of QTIPOC experiences and activism through instruments of art, photography and media. It will explore notions of joy, pride, strife and political dogma; amalgamated with the aim of embracing erased voices in ordinary LGBT+ History. The exhibition will be open between 4th and 15th February 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

November 18th – 24th
Call her Ganda: When 26-year-old Filipina transgender woman and alleged sex worker Jennifer Laude was found dead with her head plunged into a motel room toilet, the perpetrator was quickly identified as 19-year-old U.S. marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. A military recruit in an unfamiliar land, Pemberton was on ‘liberty leave’ when he solicited Jennifer at a disco. On discovering that Jennifer was transgender, he brutally murdered her. Amid a media storm and police inquiry, three women intimately invested in the case pursued justice—taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperial rule that have allowed previous American perpetrators to evade consequence. Those heroic women: Virgie Suarez, an activist attorney who works to reveal the truth of Jennifer’s death from inside the courtroom; Meredith Talusan, a transgender investigative journalist determined to bring international attention to the case; and Jennifer’s normally reserved mother, Julita, who finds herself at the centre of a political uprising, inciting fellow protesters with a tenacious voice she never knew she had. The event will take place on 18th December 2018 in New York, United States.


January 27th – February 2nd
Religious Conservatism on the Global Stage: Global Philanthropy Project’s (GPP) new report: ‘Religious Conservatism on the Global Stage: Threats and Challenges for LGBTI Rights’ documents the main conservative strategies, discourses, funding sources and actors opposing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity rights at the global level. The report also includs three regionally-focused case studies from Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Download the report in English and Spanish. The webinar will take place on 30th January 2019 in English and 31st January 2019 in Spanish.


Until February 2019
Stronger Together Part II: Building the Capacity of Movements: You are invited to a three-part webinar series, two of which are yet to take place; ‘synergising nonviolent action and peacebuilding to strengthen movements and advance a just peace’ and another to be confirmed. The webinar series will be hosted by HRFN’s Learning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Working Group, coordinated by the American Jewish World Service and Global Fund for Women, and co-sponsored by Philanthropy New York. The webinars will take place on 9th January 2019 and 13th February 2019.


February 17th – 23rd
Data on Purpose: Navigating the Digital Now: At its 5th annual Data on Purpose conference, Stanford Social Innovation Review will help nonprofit leaders identify the best ways to build data and technology capacity. Participants will weave together the latest research- and practice-based insights from data scientists and researchers, nonprofit and foundation leaders, policymakers, and other prominent experts, to help identify what is truly important, versus simply what is possible or what is urgent. The event will take place between 19th and 20th February 2019 in Stanford, United States.


December 16th – 22nd
A Walk on The Tightrope: Ever wished you could see what an asylum application interview is really like? A Walk on the Tightrope is an intense documentary that takes you inside the German asylum system. For the first time immigration decision makers in the asylum proceedings allowed a camera to film their day-to-day work and the asylum interviews which usually take place behind closed doors. The film will be followed by a panel discussion. The event will take place on 18th December 2018 in The Hague, The Netherlands.


January 27th – February 2nd
Investigative Architecture as a Tool for Political Intervention: Forensic Architecture founder and director, Eyal Weizman, will be delivering a talk about the group’s radical research methods, focusing on the examination and visualisation of human rights violations whose novel combination of design and politics is causing international furore. The lecture will coincide with the exhibition ‘Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design,’ running until 10th March 2019 at the Vitra Design Museum. This will present the first large retrospective focussing on the designer, author, and activist Victor J. Papanek (1923–1998). Papanek was one of the twentieth century’s most influential pioneers of a socially and ecologically oriented approach to design beginning in the 1960s. The event will take place on 31st January 2019 in Weil Am Rhein, Germany.

Ariadne is supported by the Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust, Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Adessium Foundation, Democracy and Media Foundation, David and Elaine Potter Foundation and Zennström Philanthropies.

Ariadne is also supported by voluntary contributions from its participants.

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