A series of modest funds established by Slought to support the urgent needs of individuals, families and small organizations


Pandemic Uncertainty Fund

A mutual aid fund for staff and collaborators in need of financial relief

Fields of Knowledge
  • Comm. Development
  • Health / Sustainability
  • Social Justice

Opens to public


  • Community care
  • Mutual aid
  • Mutualism

Slought is pleased to announce the launch of the Pandemic Uncertainty Fund and make $10,000 available to our extended community for mutual aid. Current and former staff, as well as artists, activists, and those with whom we have directly worked on past projects, are invited to seek aid. We hope these funds, though modest, will be helpful to our colleagues who are vulnerable at present. If you are in need of funds, please request them here. Requests and disbursements will remain confidential and multiple requests are permitted as circumstances change. We will fulfill requests in the order they have been received until all funds have been distributed.

The massive economic uncertainty and pervasive health inequities of this moment compel us to ask: are we doing all we can to help each other? Many civic institutions were already chronically under-resourced before the pandemic, and all have had to rapidly adapt their organizational structures, finances, and programs in order to survive. Nevertheless, many organizations are far more secure than their employees and the communities they serve. Has the cultural sector fully acknowledged this pervasive precarity? How can we work together to scale mutual aid from the interpersonal realm in which it typically operates to the institutional?

In launching this microfund for our extended community of past and present collaborators, we also purposefully challenge the transactional nature of interpersonal working relationships. In a financialized society, we must resist the tendency to reduce people to their economic function, and to structure our relationships around principles of contract law and the service industry. Indeed, as a volunteer-driven organization for nearly twenty years, Slought intimately understands the value of collaboration and has long been committed to the power of mutuality and mutual aid. Though chronically under-resourced, we also recognize the necessity of just compensation, and in recent years have offered modest wages to those without full-time employment elsewhere as our resources have improved. Yet healthy working relationships require more than compensation alone; we hope this microfund embodies this expanded understanding of relationality and offers additional material support to the many individuals who have, all these years, supported us.

Recent projects at Slought such as "Beyond the Financialized Public" have investigated how the language and values of financial institutions have creeped into the arts and society at large. Indeed, the work of mutual care is often in tension with the nonprofit model itself, which encourages organizations to adopt the terms of the marketplace and engage in labor practices that contradict their own values. We hope this project contributes to a larger conversation about how practices of mutual aid and community care can be inscribed within the non-profit sector. Small non-profit organizations in particular have a unique reflexivity and experimental disposition which makes them particularly suited to rising to this challenge.

read more

As explained by legal activist Dean Spade, mutual aid is "a form of political participation in which people take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions, not just through symbolic acts or putting pressure on their representatives in government but by actually building new social relations that are more survivable."

This project builds upon histories of radical cooperativism, drawing inspiration from the food, medical, and financial support networks established by the Black Panther Party, Food Not Bombs, and the Young Lords, among many others.

Further Reading

Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, 1902. Read online.

Dean Spade, "Solidarity Not Charity: Mutual Aid for Mobilization and Survival," Social Text, March 2020. Read online.

Rebecca Solnit, "The way we get through this is together': the rise of mutual aid under coronavirus," The Guardian, May 2020. Read online.

Request Aid

Donate to the Fund


"In our mutual relations every one of us has his moments of revolt against the fashionable individualistic creed of the day."

— Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, 1902

"In order to face the resource depletion and other climate change realities just around the corner, we need to be experimenting now with alternative ways of relating to each other that are based on humanity and generosity, rather than self- interest and greed. It is imperative for our collective survival."

— Jonathan Staufer, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, 2018

"[Mutual aid] is not only a practical tool but an ideological insurrection... The pandemic marks the end of an era and the beginning of another – one whose harshness must be mitigated by a spirit of generosity."

— Rebecca Solnit, The way we get through this is together..., May 2020

Related projects
Begins Jan 1, 2016

A series of projects about democracy, economy, and how we measure value in society

No results
No results