PEX through Paintings #9 – “Still Life with Cat and Rayfish”

Thursday 6 February 2020

Following on from yesterday’s focus on abundance, today’s image for a reflection on PEX is Chardin’s “Still Life with Cat and Rayfish”. Just like the cat in the picture is sneaking up, trying to get its paws on the food, so does the abundance of opportunities, particularly around data and knowledge, present a luring feast for those interested in monetising those opportunities.

Unfortunately, there is a long history of foundations funding initiatives without (explicitly) considering intellectual property, access to data and information, or wider knowledge-sharing and knowledge-mobilisation. As data and knowledge are valuable and access is power, let us hope that, as the European philanthropy landscape moves forward, foundations will be reflective and astute enough to address this issue to ensure appropriately wide, open and free access and knowledge sharing.

Here, the UK once again might provide a promising example of how this could be approached: 360 Giving. This initiative suports organisations to publish and share ‘information about their grantmaking in a way which allows others to use it easily and for free’. The data is there and can be sliced freely, in different ways, and as often as one wants (or at least has the resources to do so).


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

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