The AKO Foundation provides grants to a range of important projects promoting the arts. This includes the funding of new art museums and collections, educational programmes, scholarships and endowments.

The Arts

Tate Modern

The Foundation is the main sponsor of the “Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life” exhibition at the Tate Modern. This is one of the larger exhibitions ever put on at the Tate and it runs from 11 July 2019 until 5 January 2020. For all but one of the exhibited works this is the first time they have been seen in the UK.

Tate Modern – Olafur Eliasson
Tate Modern – Olafur Eliasson


SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum

The SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum (“SKMU”) is a regional art institution, located in Kristiansand, Norway, which has collected high quality arts and crafts objects from its local area since its foundation in 1995. SKMU has developed a wide range of educational activities including establishing a museum for children, The Children’s Art Museum, within its premises. Recently, under its new CEO Reidar Fuglestad, SKMU has been progressing very strongly. Visitor numbers are up a very impressive 50% in the last year and its revenues have nearly doubled.

The Foundation has made a number of grants to SKMU to be used for the purchase of Norwegian glass, ceramics and similar artworks dating from 1930 onwards for public display. It has also supported an initiative by SKMU to cover the cost of transport to bring school children to the museum.

SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum

The Courtauld Institute of Art

The Courtauld Institute of Art (“the Courtauld”) is an international centre for the study of the history and conservation of art and is also home to one of the finest small art museums in the world.

Its Institute of Art, a college of the University of London, is the pre-eminent centre for the study of the history of art in Europe. The Foundation has endowed an academic post for the study of European art of the 20th century, in particular, German Expressionism. The gift was made by the Foundation in honour of Dr Shulamith Behr, Honorary Research Fellow at the Courtauld, who taught Nicolai Tangen during his MA studies there. Dr. Robin Schuldenfrei, a distinguished art history scholar specialising in the history and theory of European and American modern architecture and design, is the first appointee to this endowed post. She has made several important contributions to teaching and research at the Courtauld including launching a new MA degree, “Experiencing Modernism: Utopia, Politics, and Times of Turmoil”. The course is consistently popular and oversubscribed.

Courtauld Connects is a major capital project to redevelop the Courtauld. Its objectives are to increase access to the Courtauld and improve the user experience, to create the best teaching and research environment, and to preserve and reveal the Courtauld’s heritage building and collections. The Foundation has provided support for this project.

In December 2017, the Foundation presented its first annual AKO Curatorial Award to the winner and runners-up of a curatorial competition for graduates of the Courtauld’s MA programme Curating the Arts Museum. The assignment was to conceive an imaginative exhibition of modern Nordic visual arts and the entries received were of a very high standard. The winning entry, “Between the Trees” by Courtauld student Harry Dougall, was put on public exhibition at SKMU in the summer of 2018. The AKO Curatorial Award is the only prize available to curating MA graduates in the UK and the Foundation and the Courtauld Institute of Art look forward to its continuing success.

The Foundation also supported the Courtauld’s 2014 exhibition “Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude”.

The Caine Prize

The Caine Prize for African Writing is the most important and influential literary prize for African fiction. It recognises, rewards and celebrates the rich diversity of African writers and brings them to a wider international audience.  There are also annual Caine Prize writers’ workshops which help emerging Africa writers enter the world of mainstream publishing. The Foundation has made a donation to act as sponsor for the prize and support the workshops.


Turner Prize

The Foundation will be a principal supporter of the 2019 Turner Prize for contemporary British art, one of the world’s most prestigious art prizes. Named after JMW Turner (1775-1851), the Turner Prize was established in 1984 and is awarded to a British artist who has exhibited work in the previous twelve months. This year the Turner Prize and Exhibition is being hosted by Turner Contemporary, a remarkable and recently established art gallery in Margate, Kent.

AKO Kunststiftelse

The Foundation has begun a major initiative of support for AKO Kunststiftelse, a Norwegian non-profit foundation whose objective is to advance the public’s access to Nordic visual arts from the post 1900 period. To achieve this objective, AKO Kunststiftelse is building a collection of such art for public exhibition and will give SKMU the right to use this collection free of charge and on a perpetual basis.

AKO Kunststiftelse
AKO Kunststiftelse


It is planned that the public exhibition of the collection will be in a new museum, the Kunstsilo Museum, in Kristiansand. The establishment of this new museum is being undertaken by SKMU in cooperation with the Kristiansand municipal authorities and other Norwegian institutions, and is currently in its development stages.

To date, the focus of AKO Kunststiftelse has been on building the collection, while SKMU has undertaken the identification of the building to house and exhibit the collection and the recruitment of the director of this new museum. The ultimate combined vision is to create a public art collection of international importance housed in an art museum of outstanding architectural quality.

AKO Kunststiftelse (rendering of the Kunstsilo)
AKO Kunststiftelse

University of the Arts

The University of the Arts London (“UAL”) is Europe’s largest specialist arts and design university. It offers courses in arts, design, fashion and communication and is attended by over 19,000 students from more than 130 countries. The Foundation has made the following three grants to UAL:

  • A grant to facilitate UAL’s launch of its Creative Computing Institute. This is a UAL wide centre of expertise on digital and computing matters which will both have an input into art and design courses across UAL, all of which require ever-increasing use of digital and computing elements, and also generate new areas of study and practical outputs with real world applications.
  • A grant to kick-start the launch of a second new UAL institute, the Social Design Institute. This institute will apply design solutions to some of the world’s biggest social and environmental challenges to produce solutions that are actionable and deliverable.
  • A grant which continues the Foundation’s history of providing support for students who otherwise would be unable to meet the cost of their education and which funds bursaries at the UAL Central Saint Martins arts and design college. These bursaries support third year students who UAL think are particularly promising, but who are at risk of dropping out of their course for financial reasons.
University of the Arts


Venice Biennale 2017

The Foundation made a donation to support the Nordic Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale exhibition.

British Museum

The Foundation made a donation to the British Museum to be the sole sponsor of its exhibition entitled “Edward Munch: love and angst” which went on display in April 2019. The British Museum collaborated with the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway to stage the first ever exhibition in London to focus on Munch’s remarkable prints.

The British Museum
The British Museum


Wigmore Hall Trust

Wigmore Hall is a leading venue, located in London, for chamber and instrumental music, early music and song. The Foundation contributed to the Wigmore Hall Endowment Fund, whose purpose is to ensure that Wigmore Hall has resources to invest in the development of inspirational projects, residencies and unique programmes with the world’s finest performers and ensembles.

Wigmore Hall


Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (“Zeitz MOCAA”) is a public, not for profit, cultural institution in Cape Town, South Africa. It focuses on collecting, researching and exhibiting cutting edge contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, and on the enrichment and inspiration of the public through outreach programmes, academic support and supplementary tuition. The Curatorial Training Programme at Zeitz MOCAA offers practicing professionals and recent graduates practical curatorial experience at a functioning contemporary art museum. In accordance with Zeitz MOCAA’s objective of providing access to all, candidates are financially supported through a monthly honorarium, which covers the programme costs, accommodation, local transport and food. The Foundation made a grant to support four participants per annum through this programme.

Statens Museum for Kunst

The Foundation made a donation to the Statens Museum for Kunst (the National Gallery of Denmark) to support its planned 2019 exhibition of the works of the sculptor Sonja Ferlov Mancoba.

Statens Museum for Kunst
Statens Museum for Kunst


Translation of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy

The Foundation has made a donation to support the translation, which is expected to take four years, of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy into Norwegian.