Summer course 2019: Design for Sustainable Co-Creation, 7,5 credits

Back to the Land 2.0: Reconnecting Urban and Rural through Food Systems

Course leader: Professor Cheryl Akner Koler

Back to the Land 2.0 is an international multi-disciplinary design course about re-connecting urban activities with rural activities as one way to enhance food culture and security. Using a collaborative creative learning platform for preparatory work, and in a live week shaped by the Theory U process, students will learn together with national and international experts and local partners engaged in food systems.

Updated information 2020-06-09:
In past years this course was based on a combination of distance learning and a week of on-site learning at the live workshop in August. Due to the current situation with Corona, the entire course will take place online.

The on-site week-long program at Hjulsjö community offers hands-on experiences in which we craft and test small actions that can effect change in larger cultural, economic and ecosystems. Our work will touch on such as issues as soil fertility and biodiversity; new notions of ecological & economic value; tactile & haptic aspects of food experience design.

Practical lessons will include the social or economic actions that support sustainable hubs in rural and urban situations, and how we can engage and share in ecological location-based sensory experiences connected to meal experience. We will explore how aesthetic driven design activism can stimulate positive changes in ecological and social-cultural systems.

This course is driven from Konstfack DIV Design program:

Lead by Cheryl Akner Koler, professor in theoretical and applied aesthetics.

And is given in partnership with:

  • John Thackara, a world - known design expert on sustainability development and social innovation and the director of the organization Doors of Perception. Read more at:
  • Annika Göran Rodell, lecturer at Örebro University, Campus Grythyttan School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Meal Sciences expert U-Theory leadership methods. Read more at:

With local partners:

Hjulsjö village community

Magnus Westling

Christine Schaffer

Food waste partner:


Course content

The students are introduced to different approaches to design for sustainable development that address a live issue regarding food systems. In the course the students will investigate ways to enhance food culture and resilience by supporting local food systems that connect aesthetic, social, ecological and economic factors.

With the help of leading international and national experts and research leaders, the student will be given the opportunity to develop various design collaborative initiatives with due regard to local contexts and issues.

The course includes a live workshop in a rural local community in Sweden. Students, teachers, experts and other participants both from Sweden and abroad share their experiences and apply different models and methods that have been tested in local environments.

The course is planned around three parts:  

  • Part 1. Preparatory individual work at a distance.
  • Part 2. A collaborative workshop week in a small community

The workshop includes exploration of sustainability in cooperation with local partners, to create collective meals, meetings and tutorials.

  • Part 3. Individual reflection and further development of assignments aimed at connecting people living in cities with those in rural countryside.

More information about the course:

Intended learning outcomes
Upon completing the course, the student is expected to be able to:
– describe and discuss design ideas, activities, prototypes and personal standpoints in dialogue with different groups.
– identify emerging models and platforms for shared value exchange between rural and urban communities.
– explain and combine the question "what is?" with "what if?", based on the social and ecological resources in a specific place.
– apply the three listening abilities described in "Theory U", i.e. to listen to others, to themselves and to what arises from the collective.
– cooperate with others to create common meal experiences, from the preparation of
the meals to serving with a focus on haptic perception.

Entry requirements
– At least 150 credits in design, within the field of Art, Crafts and Design (including architecture and culinary  
    art), or
– At least 150 credits in natural sciences/humanities related to the themes of food systems and sustainability,
– Equivalent professional experience related to the themes of food systems and sustainability.

Additionally, proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary school course English 6, is required.


The selection between eligible applicants is based on applicants' letter of motivation and an overall assessment of the academic qualifications and work experience within  sustainable developement and the field of design / art.

Academic qualifications and design related experience, experience of interdisciplinary projects, food related projects/work experience are assessed.

Course period: 22 June - 30 August 2020 

Study pace:
50% of full time studies

Corse Code: DIF005

Course syllabus: DIF005 Design för sustainable co-creation 7,5 hp.pdf
Course syllabus in Swedish:
DIF005 Design för hållbart samskapande.pdf

Language: The course is taught in English

Maximum amount of participants: 24


How to apply!

When applying to this course Konstfack you submit an online application to the Swedish central application website ( for Swedish speaking applicants), and upload supporting documents.

- submit qualifications to support the entry requirements
to ( for Swedish speaking applicants).

For the selection you should upload:

- 1 CV where you list your education and experience related to sustainable development, design and the theme of the course, such as; experience in interdisciplinary projects, food related projects/work experience (maximum 1 A4 page).

- 1 Letter of motivation (maximum 1 A4 page)

to ( for Swedish speaking applicants).

Important dates 2020

Application is closed!

20 February: Online application opens ( / for Swedish speaking applicants).

16 March:
Application deadline ( /

30 March: Qualifications to certify the entry requirements, and payment of application fee or certification of fee exempt status must have reached University admissions/Antagningsservice ( /

Deadline to upload CV and letter of motivation for selection to /

27 April: Notification of selection result ( /

Tuition fees and studying in Sweden
Students with citizenship in countries outside of the EU/EEA or Switzerland are in general required to pay tuition fees. Read more about application and tuition fees here.

For information on studying in Sweden please visit

More information

If you have questions about how to apply, please contact:
Admissions Office
Protected address
+46 8 450 41 77

If you have questions about the course:

Find more information about the course at:

If you have questions about the course or the workshop in August, please Email:
Protected address

Course leader: Cheryl Akner Koler, Professor in Theoretical and Applied Aesthetics in Design program at Konstfack

Department: Department of Design, Interior Architecture and Visual Communication

Updated: 15 February 2017
Author: Antagningen