Fogelstad – Soil, Peace, Women’s Rights and the Environmental Pioneers in Sweden. Art & Science Retreat No. 2

Fogelstad – Soil, Peace, Women’s Rights and the Environmental Pioneers in Sweden. Art & Science Retreat No. 2

3-4 May, 2021

During this second art & science retreat (see No. 1 here), we continued our series of walks, where we visit knotted sites that bear witness to how human-soil relations have changed landscapes as well as heritage and soil imaginaries in a Swedish context.

Our last walk ended at the Experimental Field in Stockholm. This time we attend to movements and practices that have focused on living soils, microbial life and ecological farming as early as at the turn of the last century, departing from another historical site, Lilla Ulfåsa at the Fogelstad manor in Sörmland. This is where the pioneering Fogelstad group founded the Fogelstad Citizen School for Women (Kvinnliga medborgarskolan vid Fogelstad), an education center for women. Together with the politician and activist Elisabeth Tamm, Elin Wägner wrote the book Peace with the Earth that presented an integrative view on soil, peace, women’s rights and ecology (published 1940). In many aspects this book captures the work and spirit of that very special place and time.

The Fogelstad group was a group of women who worked for women’s rights. In 1923 they started a weekly newspaper, Tidevarvet, that was published until 1936. Left to right: Elisabeth Tamm, Ada Nilsson, Kerstin Hesselgren, Honorine Hermelin, Elin Wägner. Source: Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Again, due to the pandemic, we were forced to do a virtual walk, where we took turns storying different aspects, adding layers, perspectives and experiences from earlier visits to Lilla Ulfåsa, firmly guided by Peace with the Earth, which in turn resonates with the writing of Vandana Shiva in her book Making Peace with Earth from 2013.

This Art & Science Retreat also included a seminar and conversation on the Legacy of the Fogelstad Group with artist Åsa Elzén, who for several years has focused on the lecacy and practices of the Fogelstad group, using ”the fallow” (Swe: träda) as artistic methodology and ethical stand-point. Read more about her artistic and historical research here.

Åsa Elzén. Photo, the artist.

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