unMonastery.eu is place-based social innovation, aimed at addressing the interlinked needs of empty space, unemployment and austerity. By embedding committed, skilled individuals within communities that could benefit from them.
On the 29th of October Matera will present a first look at this new space.
The world’s first unMonastery opens its doors to pilgrims from around the globe to Living on the Edge, a four day event in the southern Italian city of Matera. A growing number of people find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the need to make a living with the need to do meaningful work. The unMonastery is a radical response which tackles the conflict by developing a new culture around work, and demonstrating it can be effective.
When it comes to work it is increasingly difficult to reconcile making money with making sense. People do work to make a living. Others do work to make meaning. But the two works are not the same work. The unMonastery is an ambitious and radical response to the challenge of bridging this gap. It draws inspiration from the 10th century monastic life to encourage radical forms of social innovation and collaboration. A sort of lay, off-grid mendicant order striving for a society that can better withstand present and future systemic crises. The first prototype is being built in one of the oldest settlements in Europe, the “Sassi’ cave-dwellings in the historical neighbourhoods of the city of Matera in Southern Italy. Now recognised as the first UNESCO world heritage site of southern Italy. Matera, candidate city for the European Capital of Culture in 2019, is hosting pilot projects which link local development to capacity-building, creative clash and technology transfer. On October 29, the unMonastery opens it’s doors for the first time as it welcomes unPilgrims from near and far to a four day event on the premises.
So many people are struggling do something meaningful and having to hustle, doing work to have a roof over their head and food; essentially taking time away from what we are passionate about, or would like to learn about. unMonastery offers them a deal similar to that of the monasteries of old: lodging, board and time to think and realize their ideas, relatively free from the need to make money. unMonasterians from all over the world move to Matera for a period of a few months. They are hackers, farmers, scientists, engineers, makers, designers and developers who intend to work, live and eat together sharing the space, just as the Benedictine monks did during the 8th century. The city of Matera adds to the mix something unMonasterians ﬁnd irresistible: an interface to a local community that wants to collaborate and has some meaty problems to deal with.
The gambit behind this collaboration is that living side by side, hackers and Materans discover and explore new paths to make the city more beautiful, liveable, resilient and low cost. Can we invent decentralized solutions to urban hygiene and urban waste collection problems? What can we learn from the ancient technology of rainwater captation and reuse, by the Materani in the 1800s? How do we solve the problem, of moving people and stuff in the Sassi, where there are far more stairways than roads, without choking the city in private cars?
Corporates, so far have not solved these problems (in some cases they actually contributed to create them). They canʼt afford to: companies have a duty to make a proﬁt, and this means innovating only in ways that lead to generating revenue in short and predictable times. Citizens and their unMonasterian guests are not constrained in the same way. They can afford to explore any solution, even wildly visionary ones, and simply discard them if it turns out they donʼt work. Net result: many more attempts, many more failures, but by the law of large averages, more successes as well. Should somebody stumble upon a solution that can morph into a new company, well, why not? Sviluppo Basilicataʻs business incubator is across the courtyard from the future unMonastery – theyʼll be happy to help.
How to join in and follow the twitter conference?
● We'll be tweeting details from @unmonastery and @edgeryders, using the hashtag #unMon
● unMonasterians, EdgeRyders and those involved in building unMonastery be monitoring the hashtag and fielding any questions you may have during the conference.
● If you'd like to get involved more directly in supporting the project you can follow this thread on EdgeRyders.
Press & Social Media Contacts
Ben Vickers - ben@unMonastery.eu / @benvickers_ (Twitter)
Nadia EL-Imam - nadia@unMonastery.eu / @i_dauria (Twitter)
unMonastery / @unMonastery (Twitter)
Living On The Edge (#LOTE) is a gathering of the Edgeryders community. Faced with multiple global crises (environmental, economic, social, political), we have chosen to act, each of us contributing to finding and testing ways for improvement. We are working on all fronts of radical social innovation, from open source everything to small batch manufacturing, from urban agriculture to moneyless economies. #LOTE is where we come together, compare notes, share skills, experiences and encouragement.