An ecofeminist history – workshop at Elin Wägner’s Lilla Björka

In November 2021, (Re-)learning the Archive, with support from IASPIS, met seven design practitioners from different places in Sweden and the world. Inspired by the journalist, writer and activist Elin Wägner’s work, we reflected on possible sustainable futures. Below is the invitation that was sent out to the participants.

You are cordially invited to a three day online/onsite workshop in November 15-17th of November, 2021, at Lilla Björka in Småland, Sweden. It is a workshop that is staged within the framework of the project (Re-)learning the Archive, a three-year project aiming at re-learning design through formulating other histories and from here find seeds for possible sustainable futures. (Re-)learning the Archive argues the importance of place in understanding design, for specific knowledges and agency of local cultures. The county Småland in the south of Sweden is the place of (Re-)learning the Archive. Here we re-learn in collaboration with various places, with young and old with different interests and backgrounds.  The specific site for this workshop is the house Lilla Björka located in the small village of Berg in the center of Småland. This house was built by the author, journalist and activist Elin Wägner in the 1920’s. From here she continued her activist work on women’s rights and pacifism that had previously mostly taken place in urban settings, but was also broadened by intersecting with an engagement with the rights of nature. She had a particularly keen eye to worms and trees. Wägner integrated observations of industrialisation, patriarchy and militarization through efficiency-seeking agriculture and turned to one of her creative expressions of imagining otherwise through writing fiction. She drew long temporal and geographical lines as she connected with myths and histories in her speculations on how good life could be lived for humans and other species.

Lilla Björka performed an alternative in the first part of the 20th Century and is a site of critical history of ecology as well as a critique of patriarchy. In this gathering we’re opening up for the questions: about a hundred years on – what can we learn from the articulations of Elin Wägner and what on this location can we activate as generative directions to pursue today? What aspects of relations to ecology back then can we draw on in our ongoing re-learning today? And, when anchoring us here, what answers can we together create and design?

In a co-learning experience we will, in this gathering, speculate on possible future(s). The re-and co-learning will be enacted through materialisations, movement, stillness, active listening, silence and discussions.  


(Re-)learning the Archive

is a three-year long development project run by Designarkivet in Pukeberg with support from the Swedish Arts Council and Region Kalmar län (Kalmar County Council).

Christina Zetterlund
Project Manager

Maija Zetterlund
Project Coordinator  

In collaboration with

Virserums konsthall
Linnaeus University
Kalmar Konstmuseum

Designer in residence:
Evelina Mohei
Design and webb:
Mika Kastner Johnson

With support from 

Region kalmar läns logotyp
Kulturrådets logotyp