Last Update
April 2024
Collaborative funding as a tool for agency & shared responsiblity. Bring people, ideas and money together, encouraging participation at every stage. Civic tech that enables democratic resource distribution.

Project Story


Cobudget’s origins go back to 2014, when two different self-organized communities began (independently from each other)  experimenting with collaborative funding: the Enspiral Network from Aotearoa New Zealand, and The Borderland/Blivande communty from Scandinavia. Thanks to the initiative, drive and technical skills of a handful of members of both those communities, their fledgling collaborative funding practices were quickly turned from spreadsheets into software prototypes, leading to the creation of two different tools: Cobudget and Dreams.

Years of practicing ‘cobudgeting’ and multiple prototypes later, several Enspiral members started a new venture - Greaterthan - to explore what still felt like the hugely untapped potential of Cobudget. In 2017, they took on the development of the open source tool, with the goal to grow this essential infrastructure and set of practices for collaborative leadership and governance. At the same time, the community-run Dreams platform kept evolving and growing, quickly becoming a hallmark of the annual Borderland Festival, enabling the participatory allocation of resources towards art installations and projects brought to the event.  

In 2021, Hugi Ásgeirsson (Dreams) and Francesca Pick (Cobudget) realized their efforts to spread collaborative funding practices would be more impactful if they joined forces. And so they initiated the merging of the two platforms into one project. This led to the forming of a new team and today’s Cobudget Association, a cooperative made up of the individuals and organizations who are now developing and maintaining this open source infrastructure.

João Journey

The platform's use within the dynamic ecosystem has significantly broadened, now facilitating a wide array of uses, from gallery exhibition proposals to applications to the Stockholm Stad project "Ungas Egna Kulturprojekt," as well as requests for new tools in our studio spaces and the development of container projects. The integration of the platform offers several key benefits that enhance its utility and impact.

One of the standout features is its ability to foster interactive communication through its coupling with a Discourse Forum. This functionality transforms applications from being unilateral submissions into dynamic conversations that can receive constructive feedback during their development. This is especially valuable for gallery submissions and stipend applications, where ongoing dialogue can significantly refine and improve proposals.

Moreover, the platform serves as a wellspring of inspiration, exposing users to active applications and facilitating connections among applicants and project initiators. This transparency not only fosters potential collaborations by revealing other projects and their budgets but also assists users in accurately budgeting their own proposals by understanding financial considerations in similar endeavors.

Another innovative aspect is its approach to the democratic allocation of resources. Specifically, when new tools are required in the studio spaces, the platform allows individual community members to have a say in the distribution of shared budgets. This system encourages a more democratic and participatory method of resource allocation, ensuring that decisions regarding new acquisitions are made collectively.

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