Rich Mama, Poor Mama

A mini guide for alternative funding in the arts and culture

Funding is a pressing topic for many cultural organisations. The current political and economic conditions offer little support for cultural activity, and the instability in funding for arts across Europe has left many independent cultural actors looking for immediate survival strategies.  With this in mind and in collaboration with Tandem Europe*, we focused on finding out about alternative funding tactics for European cultural actors. The result is the Rich Mama Poor Mama cards and guidelines.

When two cultural managers, Zala from Ljubljana (prostoRož) and Mirja from Edinburgh (Interview Room 11), got together and started to brainstorm on how to secure space, time and money for their beloved projects, they realised there was grassroots knowledge to be discovered. Disappointed by the official, formal funding guides, they decided to ask other cultural managers around Europe how they manage to survive in hard times.

With fewer grants available to arts and cultural organisations, Zala and Mirja were curious to know what their colleagues and peers think about alternative funding tactics such as crowdfunding, fundraisers, selling merchandise, donations and on-going contributions. They organized a survey which collected the opinions of 57 cultural managers from around Europe. The gathered material was so rich it needed to be shared with the wider public and it led to the creation of the “Rich mama poor mama – selfless self-help cards”.

The cards are full of useful information for those who want to get first-hand advice on alternative funding in the arts and culture in Europe. They also give a pretty realistic picture of the funding landscape, and the level of effort needed to hope for any kind of contributions.

For a printed version of the guide please write to us to, and you can download a digital copy here. For more information about the project, please visit the project blog.


* “Tandem Europe is an initiative which was developed by European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam) and MitOst e.V. (Berlin) together with Fondazione Cariplo (Milan). It is financially supported by Robert Bosch Stiftung (Stuttgart) and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (Athens).”

Ljubljana, Edinburgh, Athens

Support: Tandem Europe

Collaboration: Mirja Koponen

Technical support: Riso Paradiso

Photography: Costanze Flamme, Nina Savič

2015 - 2016