“Together, we will redraw the maps, steering by the wild stars and the wisdom of many times and places, cultivating the courage which it takes to come alive in times like these.”
HOME is a school that grows out of the conversations we bring together around our kitchen table. It’s a learning community and a gathering place for those who are drawn to the work of regrowing a living culture.
It’s the fruit of the projects we led, the books we read, the organisations we built, the people we learned with and the friendships that formed us over the past two decades.
And it’s a new beginning. Something we’re figuring out together as we go along, with the help of that web of friends and collaborators.
HOME is a school the shape of a pocket. An air-pocket. A breathing space. A pocket of resistance and hope.
— Anna Björkman & Dougald Hine
Who we are
Anna leads projects, a skill that has taken her from connecting cultural foundations around Europe, to setting up children’s libraries across the Middle East and supporting grassroots women’s organisations in Israel and Palestine. You’ll find her running workshops on security and self-care for activists, or teaching methods for building meaningful projects. She’s the quiet radical laying the foundations of this school and keeping us grounded.
Dougald has been a founder of organisations including the Dark Mountain Project, Spacemakers and the School of Everything. He has written things that seem to help people find their bearings in disorienting times. And he has been a visiting teacher at universities, art schools and architecture schools across Europe, as well as giving talks in church halls, community art spaces and the upstairs rooms of pubs.
The two of us met in 2011 in the middle of a Swedish forest, where Anna was helping organise Futureperfect festival and Dougald was one of the speakers. Over the years since, we’ve made a home together that has become a place of friendship, hospitality and intercultural encounter. We knew from the start that we wanted to make a wider invitation and create a shared platform for our work. With HOME, we are taking the first steps to making that a reality.
A place to call HOME
In January 2021, we moved into the old shoe shop in Östervåla, a small town thirty miles north of Uppsala. We are slowly settling into these new surroundings, learning about the place where we find ourselves, and bringing the buildings and the land into use.
For the time being, most of our activity as a school takes place online, but our plan is to make this a space where we can bring together face-to-face events and residential courses.
Read more about where we find ourselves – or listen to this recording of a Zoom session we held in November, 2020, where we told the story of how we ended up here and answered questions about our hopes and intentions.
A brief history of HOME
In March 2018, we made the first public invitation in the name of HOME, calling it ‘a school for culturemakers’. Three months later, we rented a youth hostel in the village of Ängelsberg, Sweden and held our first residential course. Twenty-two guests travelled from near and far to be part of Finding Our Way Home.
That was an intense beginning and we took six months to step back and reflect, then in January 2019 we published The View From The Kitchen Table, a statement of intention for the next phase in our work. That year, Dougald handed on the last of his responsibilities at Dark Mountain. We sold our terraced house in Västerås and began looking for a place to call HOME.
As part of that, we spent three months on the road in the summer of 2019. It took us from village halls and local cafés to the European Commission and the banks of the River Thames. You can read more about what happened along the way in What We Did This Summer.
We returned to Sweden and the slow process of finding a long-term place to call HOME. When the Covid-19 pandemic swept in, we created an online extension of our teaching house, Homeward Bound.
The first series began in May 2020, bringing together 80 participants from around the world over eight weeks, with 30 of them choosing to travel further with us as an ongoing community that gathers monthly. This has grown into a core offering, a way for newcomers to get to know us a little better, and the entry point to an ongoing community. If you want to get a flavour for what this school is about, then you should join us for a Homeward Bound series.
In November 2020, we made another experiment, hosting a one-off four-week series on ‘the dark matter of climate change’ with guest teachers including Martin Shaw, Vanessa Andreotti, Alastair McIntosh and Lucy Neal.
We’re still learning about the surprising possibilities for fellowship and shared enquiry within the limitations of screens, cameras and keyboards, and HOMEWARD BOUND is becoming a long-term part of our work, but we are also committed to creating a physical space for gathering and teaching.
In late January 2021, we took our next step, moving into the old shoe shop in the small town of Östervåla, thirty miles northwest of Uppsala. We are slowly settling into our new surroundings, learning more about this place and its possibilities.
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