Ariadne’s Thread – December 2019

Ariadne’s Thread – December 2019
December 18, 2019 Hannah Stevens

December 2019

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


Ariadne News & Events

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

REGISTER NOW – 2020 ARIADNE FORECAST ROUNDTABLE MEETINGS: Ariadne is creating its sixth Forecast for European Social Change and Human Rights Funders. We will be holding roundtables on 3rd February in Paris (in French), 6th February in London (in English), 13th February in Como (in Italian), and Amsterdam (date to be confirmed) (in English), 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 2020 Ariadne Forecast for publication by the end of March. For more details and to register for Paris and London, please click on the cities. Registration links for Como and Amsterdam coming soon. Please note these are funder-only events.

REGISTER NOW – 2020 Ariadne Policy Briefing: You are invited to register for the 11th Ariadne Policy Briefing on 1st-3rd April 2020 in Berlin, for two and a half days of networking, understanding the cutting-edge issues for European funders, improving your grant-skills and having an informative and enjoyable time in the company of fellow funders and grantmakers. This year, Ariadne and EDGE Funders Alliance will hold their annual conferences back-to-back as part of “Change Funders Week” 2020. The EDGE Conference will take place on 30th March – 1st April in Berlin. Click here to register for Ariadne’s Policy Briefing.

WEBINAR BUILDING RESILIENCE IN A TIME OF SHRINKING SPACE FOR CIVIL SOCIETY THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: The operating environment in Hungary has become increasingly volatile and community foundations have experienced countless setbacks as well as new opportunities. Meanwhile, the concept of the community foundation has become more widely known and is now regarded as an engaging and effective mechanism to mobilise local resources for improving communities. The recently published ECFI / Roots and Wings Guide to Community Foundations in Hungary tells the story of their development. This webinar will also look to the ECFI report on Community Foundations and Democracy in Europe, which includes insights from Hungary, Poland, Russia, Romania and Slovakia. We will consider the challenges associated with establishing a community foundation movement in a difficult operating environment and explore the added value that it brings to building civil society resilience in Central and Eastern Europe. The webinar will take place on 16th January. To register, please click here.

WEBINAR: THE DIGITAL WELFARE STATE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: States are increasingly turning to automated systems to manage social protection and assistance schemes. These systems are rolled out with promises of improved welfare provision and enhanced security, but what are the risks involved in this technological transformation? Who loses out when benefits systems digitise? What are the implications of the emergence of the ‘digital welfare state’ in the context of austerity and growing inequality? Join us for a discussion on these questions and a consideration of how funders interested in social equality and human rights can respond to the phenomenon of the digital welfare state. The webinar will take place on 15th January. To register, please click here.

HUMAN RIGHTS PRINCIPLES PROJECT: You definitely have principles! When we surveyed our networks (Ariadne, HRFN, PAWHR) about using principles in grantmaking, 130 funders from organisations in 21 countries responded. We learned that our members overwhelmingly agree that values or principles should guide their grantmaking (85% strongly agree). Yet, their confidence declines moving from theory to practice, including whether their institutions have articulated values or principles, at least that they are aware of, to guide their grantmaking (62% strongly agree), and whether staff members consistently use these values or principles to guide grantmaking (39% strongly agree). Funders provided a wealth of written feedback about what being a human rights funder means to them and what principles guide their grantmaking. We have been working with an advisory team to digest your feedback and develop a set of aspirational funding principles based on what we’ve learned. Stay tuned for the draft – and more ways you can help shape to it – in January.

REGISTER NOW – ARIADNE PORTAL TUITION: A half-hour of tuition to improve your skill in using the Ariadne Portal will be held on Tuesday 21st 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

‘Migrant-led Advocacy across Europe’: EPIM’s new report identifies obstacles to migrant advocates’ participation in policy-making and addresses recommendations to policymakers, non-migrant led civil society organisations, funders and migrant advocates. The report also includes a list of self-identified migrant advocates and migrant-led organisations, which conduct advocacy at local, national and/or regional level, from 22 EU Member States.

Agency for Change: Alternative Democratic Practices in Southeast Europe: Thirty years after the fall of the iron curtain, initial euphoria about democratic change in many countries in Southeast Europe has given way to growing mistrust of political institutions and politicians, and an increasing disaffection with democracy itself. This crisis of representative democracy in Southeast Europe has renewed awareness for the necessity of encouraging active citizenship. Turning to examples of social movements advancing human rights and leftist values, this collection of essays analyses the movements’ political significance, including for political parties, and calls attention to the discursive traditions current mobilisations are following in.

An English Atlas of Inequality: Nuffield Foundation has funded a new English Atlas of Inequality – developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield – that highlights the most unequal areas of England. The atlas challenges misconceptions about rich and poor areas, demonstrating how no one measure of inequality paints the full picture at local, sub-national and national level.

Facial Recognition Technology: Fundamental Rights Considerations in Law Enforcement: Private companies and public authorities worldwide increasingly use facial recognition technology. Several EU Member States are now considering, testing or planning to use it for law enforcement purposes as well. While this technology potentially supports fighting terrorism and solving crimes, it also affects people’s fundamental rights. A new Fundamental Rights Agency paper looks at the fundamental rights implications of relying on live facial recognition technology, focusing on its use for law enforcement and border management purposes.

Six Ideas for Rejuvenating European Democracy: This Carnegie Europe paper argues that the European Commission’s new president should act decisively to make deliberations in Brussels more accountable to voters and national parliaments.

Call for Comments: Revised Draft General Comment No. 37 on Article 21 (Right of Peaceful Assembly) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: In November 2019, during its 127th session, the Human Rights Committee finalised its first reading of draft General Comment 37 on Article 21 of the Covenant. The Committee has now issued a call for comments from all interested stakeholders.


Blogs and Other Sites of Interest

BLOG: The problem of low pay in the charity sector: To mark Living Wage Week (11th – 17th November), Catherine Sorrell of The London Community wrote this blog on how funders can address low pay in the charity sector.

ARTICLE: How to Make Amends for a Life of Far-Right Radicalism: This article from openDemocracy follows Shannon Martinez, who was a neo-Nazi, but now helps other far-right extremists follow her back to civil society.

ARTICLE: What We Get Wrong About ‘People of Colour’: This article from Wired argues that the phrase ‘people of colour’ turns a plural into a singular, an action that betrays all the ways we have come to understand contemporary identity.

ARTICLE: Workplace Power: This article from Stanford Social Innovation Review argues that to rebalance our democracy and economy, a real system of economic checks and balances must exist to ensure that working people have power in their workplaces.

ARTICLE: BIRN Awards Grants to Explore War Crimes Archives: This article reports how The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) has awarded grants to 20 journalists, historians, artists and activists for small projects exploring the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and domestic courts in ex-Yugoslav countries that dealt with war crimes cases.

AWARD: Silver Rose Awards 2020: SOLIDAR, in cooperation with the S&D Group, invites you to nominate a civil society organisation or individual whose struggles contribute greatly to social justice and solidarity throughout the world, for a Silver Rose Award. You are also invited to register to attend the event at the European Parliament.

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


No Straight Lines Transformations with Young Feminist Organisers A Resource for INGOs and Funders: This resource draws on interviews from individuals working in INGOs, Funders, and young feminist organisations. At the heart of this work is a need to reconsider and reshape power in relationships, to reimagine how resources flow, how we value expertise and how we relate to each other as human beings. FRIDA offers this resource as a starting point, a recipe to begin to transform how we work with young feminist organisers, and some core ingredients  to transform the system. See also, article: Philanthropy for the Women’s Movement, Not Just ‘Empowerment.’

Grantmaking in the #MeToo era: This Stanford Social Innovation Review article asks, what the role of funders is in responding to abuses alleged within the organisations we support.

Addressing Equity and Social Change through Corporate and Individual Philanthropy: Give big, give now, give smart, and give to address inequity; this podcast is a conversation on making the most of your generosity with Jeff Raikes, cofounder of the Raikes Foundation; Fred Kaynor, vice president of business development and marketing at Schwab Charitable; and Michael Voss, publisher of SSIR.

Philanthropy is a feminist issue: This article from Alliance Magazine argues that, if humanity is to progress, philanthropic resources need to support women’s voices, choices, participation, education, livelihoods and more. This article comes from the most recent issue of Alliance Magazine, the theme of which is Feminist Philanthropy.

Quo vadis, Europe? In this article, looking at the priorities of the new European Commission that took office on 1st December 2019, Max von Abendroth of DAFNE highlights the overlap with the work and ambitions of the philanthropy sector – identifying new opportunities and citing a note of caution.

We tried to see whether charities’ admin costs correlate to their effectiveness, and you won’t believe what happened next: Many people believe that charities waste money on ‘administration’, and hence that the best charities spend little on administration. Some people even take a strong form of this view, that the best charities are by definition those which spend least on administration, i.e., you can tell how good a charity is just by looking at their admin costs. This Alliance Magazine blog argues ‘this is nonsense.’


Jobs and Tenders

Director of Strategic Learning, Impact and Influence – Paul Hamlyn Foundation: Paul Hamlyn Foundation is accepting applications for its newly-created Director of Strategic, Learning, Impact and Influence role. The successful candidate will develop further the Foundation’s culture of learning and improvement, ensuring the organisations they fund and the impact they have are at the heart of everything PHF does. Reporting to the Chief Executive, this role will oversee the team responsible for evaluation, learning, impact, policy and communications activities. They will play an active role as a member of the Senior Leadership team, working in close collaboration with the Heads of Programmes and the Director of Grants to understand impact, improve engagement in research and learning, and translate that into action. Location: London, United Kingdom. Deadline for applications is 6th January 2020.

Programme Officer – Civitates: Civitates is looking for a Programme Officer for a one-year temporary position (renewable) based in Brussels to coordinate a new sub-fund to support independent, public interest journalism in Europe. Location: Brussels, Belgium. Deadline for applications is 19th January 2020.

Director – Elevate Children Funders Group: Elevate Children Funders Group is seeking a new Director who will be responsible for providing strategic vision and leadership as the organisation aims to maximise the expertise, partnership, and collective voice of its membership in a new period of growth. The successful candidate will report to a Steering Committee composed of representatives from ECFG member organisations and manage a remote Secretariat team under the fiscal sponsorship of NEO Philanthropy. Location: Remote. Deadline for applications is 24th January 2020.

Investment Associate (Economic Justice Program) – Open Society Foundations: OSF is hiring an Investment Associate to participate in all aspects of the investment process, including: landscaping target countries/themes/industries, underwriting of equity and debt investments, evaluating the business environment in target countries, assisting in portfolio monitoring efforts, and preparing presentations for internal and external parties. Location: London, United Kingdom. Deadline for applications is 5th January 2020.

Consultancy – End Term Evaluation, Count Me In! Mama Cash is looking for a team of independent, qualified evaluators to conduct an end term evaluation of the CMI! Consortium, as 2020 will be its final year. The aim of the evaluation is to assess CMI’s impact and key outcomes against its Theory of Change after four years of implementation (between 2016 – 2019). Deadline for applications is 6th January 2020.

Consultancy – Social Change Initiative: Social Change Initiative is seeking an experienced consultant for ‘Stories of Change’, a case study evaluation of the effectiveness of, and learnings from, using the middle approach for progressive narrative change. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.  

Chief Executive – European Foundation Centre: European Foundation Centre is looking for a new Chief Executive. The successful candidate will report to the Management Committee and Governance Committee of the EFC’s membership and will be responsible for the overall leadership, management and execution of the activities and business of the EFC. They will work very closely with the Management Committee and staff on the execution of the multi-year strategic framework, vision, plan, policies and programmes to evolve and refine the EFC’s business model, advancing the interests and value add for its members. Location: Brussels, Belgium. Deadline for applications is 16th January 2020.

Consultancy – An Options Appraisal for Piloting a JRCT Movement Building Fund: The purpose of this consultancy project is to develop and appraise a set of options for a pilot JRCT fund to test and evaluate an approach to support the work of movements in the UK. Staff within JRCT have done some initial thinking based on a previous learning initiative. The pilot fund will connect with the Trust’s core focus on tackling conflict and injustice and our five thematic grant programmes. It is envisaged that the pilot fund will have at least two core aims; to build the capacity and long-term infrastructure of movements, including increasing reach and engagement; and to facilitate connections, collaboration, and movement-wide planning to harness the power of a range of approaches. Deadline for applications is 24th January 2020.

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


Public Meetings

February 2nd – 8th
Introduction to Living Wage Workshop: This one-day training from Social Accountability International provides practical guidance for companies looking to implement living wage concepts in their supply chain. Topics covered by participants will include: estimating the living wage; assessing current wages; conducting gap analyses between living and current wages; prioritising areas for implementation efforts; implementing responsible purchasing practices; creating a roadmap to paying a living wage; role of collaboration and global initiatives in the path to living wage and other strategies to drive improvements in wages in a supply chain. The event will take place on 4th February in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. A repeat of the workshop will take place on 7th May, and you can register here.


16th January – March
Facing Change: Philanthropy House’s ‘Facing Change’ exhibition captures the real-life changes experienced by those who have been supported by projects funded through the Government of Ireland and Genio over the past decade. It features 10 portraits and 10 films of inspiring people from the four corners of Ireland, from a variety of backgrounds and across ages and genders. They have all been supported to overcome personal challenges related to mental health, disability, homelessness and dementia and to have more control over their own lives and live in the community. The exhibition will run from 16th January until March 2020 in Brussels, Belgium.


January 12th – 18th
Welcome Reception for Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, the Incoming President of the Human Rights Council: ISHR and HRCnet invite you to attend a welcome cocktail reception for Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, the incoming President of the Human Rights Council. The event will take place on 16th January in Geneva, Switzerland.

February 16th – 22nd
Europe after Eurocentrism? The Test of Migration and Citizenship: At this event, Chiara Bottici and Benoit Challand will reflect on the theories produced by those who are in or in the margins of, but not from, Europe to rethink the European project in a global context marked by mass migration, challenges to established forms of citizenship, and the new forms of oppression created by climate change and global warming. The event will take place on 20th February in Geneva, Switzerland.


January 5th – 11th
Climate Litigation: Achievements and Challenges: Climate change litigation continues to expand across jurisdictions as a tool to strengthen climate action. But are courts prepared to protect the rights of future generations, wildlife and natural resources – collectively referred to as “the voiceless” – from the impacts of global climate change? This panel brings together leading scholars and practitioners in the field of climate litigation to discuss the potential and challenges for the law in addressing climate change. The event will take place on 9th January in London, United Kingdom.

January 12th – 18th
Investing for Good: A Responsible Approach to Impact Investing: There is a growing interest in impact investment and an increasing number of clients are looking for ethical investing options. This event will seek to explore questions such as: Is impact investment working? What are its successes and failures? What improvements need to be made to be able to invest to scale? How supportive and competent are professional advisers in guiding their clients in social impact investing and philanthropy? What are the issues related to measuring impact and reporting? Is it a solution to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs)? How is the power of millennials and women of wealth influencing a shift to impact investing? This event will take place on 16th January in London, United Kingdom.

January 26th – February 1st
Guardian Newsroom: What next for Britain? Join Guardian political editor, Heather Stewart, and a panel of Guardian journalists as they unpick the December 2019 election result and cast their critical lenses to the future. It was an historic win for the Conservative Party, and an evening of shocks which ultimately saw the Conservatives secure the biggest majority since the 1980s. What caused such a significant win for Boris Johnson? How can Labour mobilise and rebuild after suffering one of its worst defeats in living memory? In his victory speech, Johnson reaffirmed his desire to “get Brexit done” by 31st January, but what is the reality of this timeline? Is his deal really as “oven ready” as he insisted throughout his campaign? What will the government do about other critical issues, such as the climate emergency, the housing crisis and the NHS? The panel will attempt to address these questions, and more. The event will take place on 27th January in London, United Kingdom.

January 26th – February 1st
An Evening with Ai Weiwei: Contemporary artist Ai Weiwei will talk to Guardian Arts editor Alex Needham about his new project, Omni. His first virtual reality artwork, Omni brings together two videos – Displaced Working Elephants in Myanmar and Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh – and gives viewers an intimate view of the uprooted, both animals and humans, as they experience various forms of displacement. The 360-degree immersive video places the viewer alongside the former working elephants in Myanmar, and within a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, in Bangladesh. Each ticket includes a limited-edition cardboard VR headset featuring a unique design by Ai Weiwei. Use this headset with your smartphone to watch the immersive video on the YouTube app. The event will take place on 30th January in London, United Kingdom.

January 26th – February 1st
The State of Human Rights Consciousness: revisiting vernacularization: Despite a plethora of scholarly writings proclaiming the end of human rights, ethnographic research shows that the concepts of human rights are alive and well. Talk about human rights has merged with other social justice ideologies in a process she has called vernacularization. It has produced a widespread and influential discourse of human rights, a framework through which social groups interpret the worlds they live in. In this talk, Sally Engle Merry will revisit the concept of vernacularization, examining how it works in a variety of contexts and showing how the importance and pervasive nature of this form of knowledge can be effaced by efforts to describe the social world by technologies of quantification such as the sustainable development goals. The event will take place on 30th January in London, United Kingdom.


May 10th – 16th
People, Power & Resources – The Redistribution Wave: During the first two decades of the 21st century, society has experienced major technological, political, and economic changes, resulting in a significant redistribution of people, power, and resources across the globe. As dramatic as these changes have been, it is all but certain that the redistribution wave will continue, or possibly even accelerate, in the coming decades. If that is the case, how do we as social innovation leaders respond? What can we learn from our experiences to create a more just, sustainable, and equal world, and how can we better prepare for the changes to come? The event will take place between 12th and 14th May in Stanford, United States.


January 5th – 11th
The Things They Carry: Photography and Post-migration Trauma: For many of us, it is difficult to imagine the stressful events that migrants and refugees have experienced. Omar Imam and Thana Faroq have gone through this and have found healing through their artistic endeavours. Both use photography and visual media to redefine the topic of migration by challenging its visual stereotypes. In this way, their work contributes to the creation of alternative narratives on the experiences of migrants and refugees. At this event, Omar and Thana will take part in an intimate discussion with the audience, on the role art can play in healing, especially in terms of migration-related trauma. The event will take place on 10th January in The Hague, The Netherlands.


May 17th – 23rd
EFC AGA and Conference 2020: The theme of the EFC 2020 AGA and Conference is: “Foundations and the new normal – How to innovate philanthropy?” The last decade has seen momentous changes as well as gradual developments in Europe that have deeply altered the economic, political, societal and environmental contexts in which philanthropy carries out its activities as an essential part of civil society. The conference will attempt to determine why and how foundations matter today, and what philanthropy can offer under the current circumstances to innovate, create and move open, democratic, liberal and caring societies in Europe and beyond. The conference will consist of four tracks: Climate, Democracy, Society and Philanthropy, and each will consider the four underlying themes of culture, digital agenda, education and civic engagement. The event will take place between 20th and 22nd May in Vienna, Austria.

Ariadne is supported by the American Jewish World Service, Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust and Zennström Philanthropies.

Ariadne is also supported by voluntary contributions from its participants.


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