There is no doubt that PEX 2020 was pioneering. At the same time, though, there was also a sense of deja vu in relation to some of the issues covered. Consequently, today’s choice of painting from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection is Tanguy’s “Time and Again”. This seems to relate particularly to questions about where (if at all) academia sits at the table, and how the relationship between academia and the foundation world plays out.

Questions about the impact and contribution of academia to the wider world have been prominent since at least the 1990s, when the evidence based policy and practice movement (EBPPM) gained traction. Potential answers to some of the questions surrounding academic impact have been identified, and some of the challenges and opportunities of engaging with philanthropy research that present themselves to both the foundation world and to academics have been illustrated.

Rather than revisiting well-trodden ground around ‘bridging’ academia and practice in general, the issue at hand seems to be what can be done specifically within the not necessarily aligned agendas and incentives of academic and foundation worlds? With wider ambitions of a European data project under way, a frank discussion around perceived and actual roles, resources and rationales seems necessary, particularly in light of the still very emergent European philanthropy education landscape.

 

This short blog series reflects on ten overarching points relating to the 2020 Philanthropy Europe Networks (PEX) Forum through ten paintings from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection. All images featured in the series are photos taken in line with the museum’s policy allowing no-flash photography. Free acess to digital versions of the paintings and accompanying information on copyrights are provided on the museum’s webpages at https://www.museothyssen.org/en/collection.