2013 Year of the unMonastery: Latest Update

2013 Year of the unMonastery: Latest Update - New Website, New Online Workspace, ESIP and Matera

Quick recap - unMonastery is a project birthed at the first #LOTE conference during June 2012. If you’re not already familiar with the project here’s our current definition:

"unMonastery is a new kind of social space, akin to co-living and co-working spaces, that aims to serve the local communities of towns or small cities in which it’s situated by enabling a process of co-creation and co-learning between the community and unMonasterians. By embedding committed, skilled individuals in places with a deficit of diverse skills and knowledge it can solve social and infrastructural problems by enabling native inhabitants to realise their own potential.

The unMonastery recreates the best of the social functions present in the traditional monastery: by giving the unMonasterians a collective purpose, a chance to develop deep relationships with one another and a reduced need to generate personal income so time can be dedicated entirely to serving the local community. "

We’ve been making major progress with the development of unMonastery since the first #LOTE, in the past month alone, thanks to the burst of energy from #LOTE2 we’ve built the first iteration of the website (to be launched by the end of the January), we’ve applied for the European Social Innovation Prize, been offered a possible first location and established an online work space for collaboration. This blogpost is intended to give you an overview of what’s happening and how you can get involved.

unMonastery’s ongoing development:

In order to collate all the content created so far and collaborate at a distance we’ve moved everything to the online workspace PBworks, which functions a lot like a wiki with the ability to divide tasks, set milestones and create content together. At the moment we’re using this space to devise the internal unMonastery lore and governance model, write copy for the website and define the collective goals of the project. The front page can be view here: https://unmonastery-unmonastery.pbworks.com/

How can I get involved?

  • If you'd like to contribute directly email joinus@unmonastery.eu for access to the workspace.
  • Join us for an online meetup on 23rd of January 1pm CET - http://unmonastery.eventbrite.com/

New Website:

During #LOTE2 we attempted to sprint towards building a whole website in a weekend - defining requirements, designing layout, writing all the copy and building the thing. For 3 days work that was perhaps a little bit unrealistic but we did amazingly actually manage to get about 50% of the way there. In one single hour long session we managed to set requirements, design a logo and begin development. We’re aiming to launch the first iteration of the site by the end of next week.

This is the current version of the site http://unmonastery.eu/index.php?cID=113 we’ve deployed the site using Concrete5 as the CMS. Currently we just have a holding site online.

How can I get involved?

  • Write content - we're using the online work space to produce copy for the site email joinus@unmonastery.eu for access.
  • Help BUG TEST! Visit the TEST site: http://unmonastery.eu/index.php?cID=113 and Report bugs to ben@unmonastery.eu
  • Produce a video telling us why you're excited about unMonastery for the site.
  • Create functionality - if you can code and have design suggestions email ben@unmonastery.eu
  • Promote unMonastery - when the site goes live write a blogpost, circulate it on twitter/facebook/tumblr


In December we applied to the European Social Innovation Prize, the Competition was launched by the European Commission in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos. The aim is to find the best social innovation solutions to help people move towards work or into new types of work. The deadline was on the 21st and they received 598 entries. You can read our proposal online here.

How can I get involved?

  • The prize has a twitter account (@EUSocialInnov) and hashtag (#diogochallenge) - tell them that your excited about the unMonastery?
  • Other prizes and funds - If you know other funds we could be apply for let us know via twitter or email joinus@unmonastery.eu


The Italian city of Matera is considering staging the first prototype of unMonastery as part of its strategy to become European City of Culture in 2019. This is increasingly looking like it will be the first iteration of the unMonastery. A possible venue has been singled out. It is a former call center, property of the city itself: renovated, used for a few years, then abandoned again, but still in good condition. It is fully wired; the bathrooms are quite new and in good condition. It is a huge space, resulting from connecting several ancient buildings more or less embedded in each other; it is around 3000 square meters.

If this is going to happen the tentative timeline looks like this:

  1. End of January: Pre-call for interested parties
  2. February: Collaborative work on writing the exact terms of the call; on trying to converge on the perception of the most interesting problems to fix in town; on inventorying the most active local groups and finding out what they are working on and what they need; and on working out a selection procedure and an explicit social contract that applicants can sign off to.
  3. February 15th/March 1st: Official call for applications
  4. March or April: unMonastery prologue
  5. May 1st: Deadline for applications.
  6. June 1st: Successful applicants are notified.
  7. September 1st: Grand Opening of unMonastery Matera

How can I get involved?

  • Initial Pledge - If you're super serious about joining the unMonastery we'll be putting up a pledge form on the site when it launches at the end of January.
  • We're working in advance of confirmation online in the workspace email joinus@unmonastery.eu for access.
  • Come to Matera - we're planning a trip to Matera in February or March to scope it out, if you'd like to come email joinus@unmonastery.eu

That’s everything for now folks. Special thanks to everyone who has contributed to making the above possible and all the hard work done during #LOTE2.

Stay up-to-date with unMonastery:

  • www.unmonastery.eu
  • www.twitter.com/unmonastery
  • www.facebook.com/unmonastery