Welcome to Back to the Land 2.0

We would like to welcome you to this international course about reconnecting Urban and Rural communities by exploring Food Systems through sustainable Co-Creation. The course will investigate ways to enhance food culture and security by exploring local food systems that connect aesthetic, social, ecological, and economic factors together.

During the course, you will be introduced to different design approaches that focus on food and relationships.  The sustainable leadership methods from ‘Theory U’ (Scharmer, 2016) are applied throughout the entire course with an emphasis on care and the aim to transform complex social contexts towards a more resilient state that celebrates contact between generations and cultural diversity. 

COVID Changes- ONLINE: The entire course will be run online this year 2021. Students will receive an email on June 10th with an invitation to the course ‘workplace’ where all course information will be posted. The WORKSHOP WEEK during August 8-14 will also be conducted online where we plan to connect online with the rural village Hjulsjö in the middle of Sweden.   

The course leaders represent the following three clusters;

Food Systems / Place with John Thackara from Ganges, France
Aesthetics / Haptics with Cheryl Akner Koler from Stockholm & Gotland, Sweden
Sustainable leadership / Social Body practice with Annika Goran-Rodell from Grythyttan & Sångshyttan, Sweden

By the end of the course – with its readings, activities, and collective living experiences – students will have experienced:
– new ways to think about food and food systems; 
– how to be as well as what to do, in a food system context; 
– who you need to connect with – and how, – in order to intervene in a food system;
– how to reflect, in your journey ahead, as well as how to take action.

Here is a brief outline of the course:

Course Plan /Syllabus -Design for Sustainable Co-Creation_7,5 

Introduce yourself – make a short video (max 3 min) in your local environment that gives a feeling for where you live; and share with us, in a few words, what motivated you to apply to this course. Upload the video on the workplace before June 20th; there you can also find films where the teachers present themselves.

Begin with defining your local place. Each week, with your place in mind, you will investigate different aspects of a food system context inspired by the Menu below. You will select three discoveries for each week that have the potential to enrich your understanding. Post these discoveries on the collective Miro board by Sunday evening before Monday Check-In. 
We also encourage everyone to write a Haiku poem for each week and share it on Miro.

Start Up – Monday June 21 we all get together on zoom at 16:00 CEST for an informal meeting. This meeting will introduce you to the course program, leaders and students.  Before joining the meeting please look through the video of the participants that have been posted on FB so you get a feeling for the other participants.

Monday Check-In – Mandatory
One hour session starting at: 10h – 11h (Swedish time) hosted by the course leaders and guests. We expect you to join all check-on sessions. After the check-in you may sign up for tutorial session if needed with the leaders to discuss assignment 1.

Thursday activities Two-three hour session starting at:10h – 13h, you are expected to take part in at least two of the Thursday activities.

Week 2: Soil Monday June 28, 10h-11h, Thursday June 1, 10h-13h Soil Lab/Meal
Week 3: Farming Monday July 5, 10h-11h, Thursday July 8, 10h-13h Farming Lab/Meal
Week 4: Processing Mon. July 12, 10h-11h, Thur. July 15, 10h-13h Processing Lab/Meal
Week 5: Eating Monday July 19, 10h-11h, Thursday July 22, 10h-13h Eating Lab/Meal
Week 6: Digesting Monday July 26, 10h-11h, Thur. July 29, 10h-13h Digesting Lab/Meal
Week 7: Support Monday Aug. 2, 10h-11h Thursday Aug 4 10h-13h support assignment 1.

  • Assignment 1 final delivery: Present a summary of your discoveries in a poster + text 750 words. The poster should have headings followed by a short text block that support the heading and the visual images. A separate word document is written to further explain your learning experiences. Upload your poster and text to Miro by August 7. See Poster examples below (a second written page is expect that bring more depth to your poster).
  • Assignment 2– online Workshop week Aug 8- 14 This week is the most intensive period of the course that is also run ONLINE this year involves an online collective living situation for 6 days.  Participants will investigate food system resilience, on-site, by carrying out local studies in their own community, interest board meetings, dialogues, and tutorials. You will also join different groups with experts such as agro-forestry, eco-farming, and food waste. The course will be structured around the five stages of the Theory U-processa model founded by the Presencing Institute. The different stages involve 1) suspending judgment, 2) embodied meditation, 3) performative activities, 4) poetic reflection 5) journaling/mapping.   Participants will also carry out communication, knowledge exchange activities during the week, with a focus on the co-creation of online collective meals whose content, process, and form express ecological and sustainable perspectives. A local and national Swedish perspective will be shared in relation to insight from our  International participants who will be encouraged to propose practices from their own cultures with the potential to be adapted locally.

    New ways to re-connect the city with the land will be a core theme: Ways that are part-time, but long-term; ways that involve an exchange of value, not just paying money; ways in which land, knowledge, and equipment are shared in new ways; ways based on the re-discovery of historical links between town and country – but reinvented in an age of networks and social innovation.

    Each morning we gather ONLINE to participate in common routines such as: preparing and sharing breakfast each morning and introducing Theory “U” lead by Annika Göran Rodell, followed by a unique program designed for each day. Course leaders and invited experts will introduce activities to be carried out in a combination of online sharing and exploring your own local environment. John Thackara’s recent experience in China is on the agenda as well as Food Labs, lead by  Corina Akner (VÄRT) and Cheryl Akner Koler and will be offered in which haptic sense, touch, and other non-verbal forms of communication are used in a variety of taste and meal experiences.  

  • Assignment 3 – Reflection: You will summarize your experiences during the weekly meeting and the workshop week. Each student refines these experiences according to their own perspective, skills, and long-term interests for themselves and for the community. See the menu assignment for more information.

Anna Andreasson is our course administrator. For any formal questions about the course email her at: anna.andreasson@konstfack.se.

If you have other questions before the course starts please send them to the course leaders through this mail: backtotheland@konstfack.se.

Take care from the course leaders, Cheryl Akner Koler, John Thackara & Annika Göran Rodell

Course Plan /Syllabus -Design for Sustainable Co-Creation_7,5 




A homepage section

the archive shows material from the course in 2017
























Workshop week

Here is a brief outline:

This online intensive week workshop runs from Sunday, August 8- until Saturday, August 14. 

Covid changes: All information about the activities for this week will be posted on the FB workplace.  

The entire workshop week is shaped by the 5 stages of ‘Theory U’ model as we explore sustainable food systems from both rural and urban perspectives.

  • Suspending judgment
  • Redirecting: embodied meditative and performative activities,
  • Letting go
  • Letting come: mapping
  • Enacting activities that make tangible connections to intangible experiences.
  • Embodying

Each day offers a variety of opportunities to meet participants, course leaders and local partners /experts. 

We begin each day with a shared breakfast followed by a collective group practice in a circle. The day ends with the co-creation of a meal and the collective meal experience that activates our senses and gives time to enjoy and reflect on the taste of each course. The meal experience gives content, process, and form that express ecological, aesthetic and sustainable perspectives with a local and national profile.


When we meet online on Sunday August 8th and we start with sharing a Taste experience that expresses the diversity of the students/ leaders. We ask everyone to prepare a Taste of their culture & context.  It can be anything that you can make that has a unique flavor and tactile/ haptic experience that is vegetarian. Do not prepare food that needs to be heated or requires any extra preparation. Keep it simple so we don’t have congestion in the kitchen. 

Please prepare a statement that about ingredients (vegetarian), the name of the food and your name. 


Food waste meal making with haptic and tactile cooking methods,

Local experts knowledge and experience in:

  • eco-gardening 
  • agroforestry
  • ranching

Our partners and invited guests are welcome to join our collective meal where we serve food products from Hjulsjö and the surrounding area.

HJULSJÖ WORKSHOP WEEK  – Back to the Land 2.0  

The Workshop Week is on location at Hjulsjö. This is a unique and thriving cultural-ecological community. The Workshop Week involves hands-on explorations of sustainability approaches, food issues, and design skills through lectures, tutorials, and design tasks. This will take place in connection with the local environment and with local partners in the region. 

See Menu tab: Transport for info on Bus 

When the bus arrives, put your taster at the missions house. Sett up your tents at the camping area, have a stroll around the premises, become familiar with the facilities, etc. Our first gathering will be at the local Missions House (across from the campsite) in the evening around 6 PM (18:00), with a mingling activity and a ‘potluck /collaborative tasting’ dinner. 

If you arrive earlier call the course leaders +46 70 279 83 76 and inform them of your arrival time. You can set up your tent and help out.

Where is Hjulsjö? map


The  Missions House is our main location for meals & meetings.   


CAMPGROUND (The cost for camping is covered by Konstfack)

The campgrounds are across the street from the Missions house.                 The grounds and facilities are run by Elin Mulderij who drives  Landleva Hjulsjö a family sheep ranch, cafe and camping center.

Contact person: Ellen Mulderij Email: <landleva@gmail.com>  http://www.lantlivisverige.se/


The summer in Sweden can be hot in the day however in August it could also rainy and chilly, especially in the evenings. Many activities of the course will be outdoors. Bring:

Clothes:  Raincoat and waterproof boots, warm wool sweater, lots of socks, long pants and a knitted hat to sleep in. Summer clothes, swimsuit, sandals, sports shoes etc.                                                               

More stuff: towel, flashlight, ecological shampoo and toothpaste, mosquito repellent, thermos, water bottle.

Ticks – there are ticks in Hjulsjö so you should check yourself regularly (each day). Ticks are possible carriers of Borelia – so be careful.

CAMPING EQUIPMENT  Please bring your own TENT, air mattress /thick pad and a  WARM sleeping bag for at least minus 10 degrees!  At the end of August, the evening temperature can fall under minus degrees in this area. During the last workshop, some participants brought summer sleeping bags and literally froze every night.

Shower  & WC Outdoor sink for preparing lunch

Toilets  & showers    

  • Dry toilets in the red cabin (above photo) across the street from the camping area
  • WC’s in the Missions house
  • WC’s and showers at Motion center  (showers require a cost,  paid at the cafe)

Bathing, sauna  & showers    Bathing and washing in the lake by the campsite and swimming area is highly recommended! This is a classic Swedish tradition. Bring your own ecological soap and shampoo. There is also a wood-fired Sauna available by the lake, close to the campsite.  Showers: camping facilities & Motion center.


Other living arrangements

There are other alternative places to stay in the village, however, you will have to cover the costs your self.  Link to:  farmhouse , youth hostel , more on MTB website

Electricity  There is electricity at the Missions house, cafes and at the motion center.

FOOD PLAN  during the HULSJÖ WEEK  (see menu FoodPlan) 

Local cafe Here are some cafes that may be open: ( however they may have limited service.) 

Lantliv cafe is a small shop/kiosk/café at the campsite where you can buy ecological jams and products and some very basic essentials.

Hjulsjö 103 cafe Next to the campsite

Motions Center café  in the village across from the church

Recap of links


Bankomat and withdrawing cash: There is no money withdrawal at Hjulsjö. Regular credit/debit cards can be used for most things.

Systembolaget:  Alcohol can only be bought in Sweden at the national monopoly stores called Systembolaget. There is no Systembolaget in Hjulsjö i.e. you must bring alcoholic drinks with you if you wish to have any.

Shops: Nearest Bank, Grocery, Systembolaget, clothes or other shops are at Hällefors or Kopparberg (see map).

Valuables: There are no lockers i.e. do not bring jewelry or other valuables!


Check for more important changes that will be updated on the homepage 

Send questions to  email: backtheland@konstfack.se

General Program: will be updated a week before the course starts. 


Arrive at 16:00. Bring your Taster to the missions kitchen /window bar. There will be tea and coffee with fruit at the window bar to land and relax.  Check out the surroundings and set up your tent.                                       The Taster starts around 18:00 at the missions house.  You first meet in pairs and explain what you have made. Then each pair tastes each others taster.  Finally, everyone tastes everyone’s taster and start to mingle, eat and drink. Take a small spoon first so there will be “Lagom ” enough to go around.

We then gather in a circle inside the missions house to learn each other names, go through the week program, practical issues and end with an evening walk.








The course is run from Konstfack’s  DIV Institute; Design, Interior design, and Visual communication. Course leader: Konstfack-Cheryl Akner Koler, Professor in Aesthetics at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, in collaboration with John Thackara who is our international expert in food systems, and Annika Göran Rodell an expert in sustainable leadership and will be facilitating the U-theory process.  Annika is from Örebro University, Campus Grythyttan School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts &Meal Science.

John Thackara, a world–known design expert on sustainable development and social innovation & director of Doors of Perception. For more than thirty years John Thackara has traveled the world in his search of stories about the practical steps taken by communities to realize a sustainable future. He writes about these stories online, and in books; he uses them in talks for cities, and business; he also organizes festivals and events that bring the subjects of these stories together. John will be working with an economic them in relation to food systems. We recommend reading his book: How To Thrive In The Next Economy and his previous book was the best-selling In the Bubble: Designing In A Complex World. John organizes conferences and festivals in which designers and social innovators share knowledge.

Link to John’s   twitter

  Cheryl Akner Koler (course leader) is a sculptor, design educator, and Professor in Theoretical and Applied Aesthetics at Konstfack since 2001. She teaches a sculptural gestalt approach that involves embodied studies, aesthetic abstractions, and product semiotic.  She held a 4-year guest professorship at Campus Gryhyttan, School of hospitality, culinary arts, and meal science at Örebro University where she worked with the culinary artist in developing their profile in aesthetics and haptics. Cheryl is also the main project leader of the HAPTICA project; a 3-year research project funded by the Swedish Research Council.  Some aims of the HAPTICA project are: 1) Offering insight into the complexity of human haptic perception through following artistic researchers in how haptics can drive the aesthetic gestalt process. 2) Exploring ways to bridge haptic pathways through our hands with haptic experiences of smell and taste through our nose and mouth. Cheryl’s homepageHAPTICA website Email: Cheryl.Akner.Koler@konstfack.se and Mob: +46702798376

Örebro University, Campus Grythyttan School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts &Meal Science, The unique academic, multi-disciplinary profile brings together professional and academically merited culinary artists with long experience in the aesthetic gestalt process as well as researchers from the learning & life sciences.  We collaborate with

  Annika Göran Rodell is a lecturer in hospitality, culinary arts, and meal science at Campus Grythyttan, Örebro University, and an expert in sustainable leadership. She is involved in developing course structure that follows the Theory U process.   Annika is a performance artist with years of experience in orchestrating creative events and conferences. Her multidisciplinary background with studies in meal experience knowledge and hospitality, expressive arts therapy, pedagogy, and leadership contributes to wide-ranging research interest,  with an aesthetic foundation. She is also a central member of the HAPTICA research team working on a three-year project in collaboration with Konstfack, funded by the Swedish Research Council.  Email: Annika.Goran-Rodell@oru.se / Mob: 070 333 41 48

  VÄRT is a sustainable food lab/design studio that runs team-building events, workshops, education, lectures.  For the past 4 years, we have been a strong force in Gothenburg exploring methods that are a little unconventional where we use food waste as a tool to understand circular economy and sustainability. Corina Akner is the founder of VÄRT and will be supporting us in food labs based on VÄRT design approach and haptic experiences. Corina is a designer with a focus on inclusive designVÄRT https://www.vartsweden.com/

Anna Maria Orrù work is embedded in biomimicry and nature-inspired design. Everywhere in her practice, she looks to provide solutions to tackle the climate emergency. Based in Sweden and Italy, she holds a PhD in Architecture & Artistic Research from Chalmers University of Technology (Wild Poethics – exploring relational and embodied practices in urban-making’  2017). She is a guest associate professor at Konstfack in the Design program and lectures/ teaches at numerous Swedish Universities that include KTH and Chalmers as well as international universities and companies. As co-founder of Nordic Biomimicry, she directs the center that dedicates itself to collaborate with nature as a mentor, measure and method. In her practice, she is a mediator of sustainability, both by situating herself between academia, research, and companies and as an editor of an art-book press called Vegetable Lamb Press. To further underpin her service to ’nature’, she is a beekeeper and takes care of a biodynamic vineyard and olive grove.


Main local partners are:

Christina Schaffer   has one foot in academia, with a background in Systems Ecology, and has 18 years of experience of inter- and transdisciplinary environmental studies, and is now a part time teacher on sustainable development and urban agriculture at Stockholm University. She has also a practical background in organic farming and entrepreneurship. Lives part time in Kopparberg (close to Hjulsjö) practicing small scale farming for self subsistence purpose which includes growing of fruits, nuts and vegetables, sheep farming and bee hiving mixed with a lot of harvesting from the surrounding forest. She is inparticular interested in applied agroecology and has created a forest garden as a part of a national pilot research project at Örebro University. This became a platform for her own PhD project which includes the exploration of the possibilities for edible forest gardens in urban areas. She is one of the initiators of the urban agriculture community in Stockholm, with experience from starting up several gardens. She is also interested in science communication and has been involved in exhibitions such as “Manna” on our food systems dependency on natural ecosystems, “Tipping Points” at Kulturhuset , Stockholm, and she has designed the urban garden “Odla Staden” ongoing at Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Stockholm.

  Ellen Mulderij & Rudy Hobbenschot run their family sheep ranch in the heart of Hjulsjö.  They have been key partners in generously supporting the Back to the Land 2.0 summer course. They have been our main support in working with the hjulsjö community, making it possible to adapt the missions house to our needs as well as arranging camping facilities and lodging.  They will share their ranching lifestyle with us and work with a group and other members of the hjulsjö community to create the main meal experience for the village feast on Friday.

Landliv www.landleveninzweden.nl/

    Magnus  & Märta Westling work together on their conservation cultivation project and Hjulsjö 103 Inn.  Magnus is Ph.D. student at Örebro University, Campus Grythyttan School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts &Meal Science. Magnus will share his eco gardening knowledge with us and lead a group in exploring the taste and haptic experience of Swedish heritage food, starting with a humbly grey pea. His  PhD-project is to develop gastronomic design combined with using sensory evaluation on the basis of cultivated diversity in order to evaluate traditional varieties functioning in culinary practices and meals. Both Magnus and Märta seek to investigate the gastronomic potential of traditional food varieties.  Their approach enables us to learn about environmental sustainability, meal culture, craftsmanship, traditions, and biodiversity in food production and consumption from the discussion table to the dining table. Link https://www.hjulsjo103.se/

Thank you for introducing yourselves (assignment 1a) to one another and to the teaching team. NOTE: If your information is missing on this page: follow