9 weeks starting from the 1st of December: then it's unMonastery in Matera

Following up on the mothership of all updates on the unMonastery and the documentation uploaded during and after the LOTE, here is a tentative of pinpointing actionables, priorities and practical issues linking them to what has been built in Matera.

Seems clear that the unMonastery is going to happen in Matera, and if we don’t build on all the resources we have it’s gonna be  hectic, to say the least: I guess there is not going to be much place for narrative and speculation in this post, it’s more gonna be about organization and connecting the dots.

We have 9 weeks to go starting from the 1st of December.

Selection procedure

  • when do we know who's going to be selected? 
  • when unMonastariens are selected, they should: 1) send a video with the description of their project and the questions they want to ask Materani 2) send a written description of their project (+ eventual evolutions since some of the applications date quite back)
  • video + project description is translated in Italian and posted on the 2019 online platform for p2p review. Discussion is nourished, enlarged and animated by mt2019 webteam. 
  • once a vivid discussion is created we can host on air hangouts in the unMonastery itself through physical encounters. 

This would:

  • speed-up the selection procedure
  • give face, flesh and interaction to this vague unMonastery 
  • link the unMonastarians to local community
  • revitalize mt2019 platform
  • open up the physical unMonastery 

Stuff that could be done in the unMonastery in Matera up to February:

  • p2p reviews of unMonastery selected projects
  • sessions on rewording the unMonastery in Italian (materano?)
  • DESIGN issues 
  • Profumo di Svolta 
  • p2p language exchanges (English) 
  • viral academy (David?)
  • offline 2019 community events 

Now, to help us out on achieving this, we are going to need a bit of clonation, a lot of patience and a great sense of humour. A part from the first piece, the rest seems like it’s ensured.

Should we add to the list the coulds/woulds of the mothership of all updates?  :-)

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I don’t understand this:

  • once a vivid discussion is created we can host on air hangouts in the unMonastery itself through physical encounters.

On air hangouts through physical encounters? Can you explain?

If I may…

I remember this was one of the ideas we discussed at Lote when brainstorming how the unMon space will be kept alive and engaging Materani. Ideally during the selection process, and even after (before the unMon starts) the applicants’ ideas to tackle local challenges will be recorded on video, sent in and then projected and discussed during physical, open workshops in Matera, on location. They would be hosted by visiting Edgeryders or local collaborators. Everyone in Matera who is interested in helping refine the solutions and bringing in ideas is welcome to do so, and even encouraged to use of the non-selected ones and develop them anyway…

In addition to connecting potential unMonasterians to the local approaches to solutions, it will also open up the selection process and make it more transparent (I even suggested to Rossella to publish all applicants’ ideas).

Reading the “on air” formulation, it dawns on me that we could even broadcast the applicants’ recordings or workshops discussions through the unMon radio? Perhaps this is what Ilaria is refering to?

More ideas about how to keep the space alive are available in the documentation of Matera2019 meets Edgeryders.

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So far, it seems that [Ben] had overestimated the willingness of candidate unMonasterians to submit additional material…


Noemi explained it perfectly: most importantly, getting the videos by December would be ideal. I don’t know at what stage the selection process is, but if we don’t want the unMonastarians to be dropped from the moon in February we better start building interaction now. It also makes more sense that the peer-to-peer review is done by Matrerani.

What do you mean by cloning?

“link the unMonastarians to local community” - that’s it. Is there a separate thread on that, or should I start one?

clumsy joke!

We’re gonna need some cloning in the sense that if I see all that has to be done, and think of local human resources, we’re in for a burnout :slight_smile: This low-budget thing is also possible because skilled and generous people are putting in the leg work on a voluntary basis. I don’t know how much this is sustainable on the long run. We’ll see. So clonation can be another option :slight_smile:

Direct response!

Okay forgive the delay, I still haven’t even begun to decompress from LOTE3 and am scrambling this weekend to make sense of all the bits. But in the meantime an answer to your question.

when do we know who’s going to be selected?

We’ll likely to confirm the first 4-6 applicants in the next week.

I’ll follow up tomorrow with a sketched plan of what I was thinking, to sync with what you’ve laid out already. Shall we have a call soon @ilariadauria with @ritao and @bembo_davies to discuss this process further?

revealing the selection rpocess

I too have been struggling with all that didn’t get said or done during the LOTE.  And awoke this morning to write my way into my concerns.  Most astonishing is that we still have no decision as to how we take decisons.  Alberto’s one veiled reference towards the end of what became the ‘Difficult Questions’ seesion to the hierachies of old within a The Rule and The Order model, lurks in the background but hasn’t been aired clearly.

I got so far as to pound out a suggested daily schedule before we left, but it is entirely from my own designs and hasn’t been exposed to any sort of collective process.  There are be a lot of such moments that haven’t been examined, and that may come back to haunt us.

In my writing quickly got to point number one - the untransparent selection process. As I understand it we are bound by the clear procedures as regards use of public money, and that this has supplied us a strict jury model that is designed to prevent corupt behind the scenes adjustments.  As one who has submitted a proposal (in some form, at some date) I should then be excluded from any backroom deliberation.  ( I have also wondered if the intense silence as regards my summission is due to machinations afoot to chop me because of my clear rabble-rousing tendencies.)  It seems to me that at this point full disclosure is the best policy – however I don’t know how strong or weak the assembled proposals appear.  Announcing 5-6 accepted communicates what ?  That all the others are thin and undeveloped, that anyone who FaceBook style likes these people and/or projects should find a good excuse to join us in our revelries? That we are looking for projects that supplement these projects - either as contrasts or parallels?

I agree that this should be done qucikly, Yes i’llhave a talk, but if so do Ben and Bem become some sort of hierarchical exemption from selection, and are we then looking at 8 applications?

RE: Difficult Questions!

Okay RE: The Rule and all that. I’m a bit unsure what you mean, following our debrief of LOTE3 with the ER board, we discussed in brief [Alberto]'s role going forward - he said he’d continue to carry the project, and assist with any interfacing needed with the city, presumably wearing both an EdgeRyders and MT2019 hat. What that means in relation to ground rules, the shaping of unMonastery etc isn’t much, the running of the space, the social configuration and the development of some long lasting model is our responsiblity as unMonasterians.

As for the daily schedule, being the Master of the social kitchen [Bembo] I expected you’d post it online soon for collective review and then through some discussion we’d set it in (sand) stone for alteration following the first week of the unMonasteries opening in Matera. This could be aided by the post I’m about to write, summarising next steps.

In response to thoughts on the unselection process. yes this has been causing much friction but I thought we’d established why we need to pass this first hurdle, the way I see it is this: we select the initial 10 unMonasterians, then everything else comes on top - starting the process of everything else on top now would be a good way of meeting the restrictions of such requirements. This might take the form of fleshing out what a residency program looks like for individuals to come for shorter time periods during the time of the unMonastery, to share skills and input, or [David B.] idea for unMonasterians living in the community or specific week long events that could take place in the four month period.

As for your application [Bembo] it was never submitted officially through the online form here: http://unmonastery.eu/index.php/join-us/unmonastery-application-form/ which lays everything out. That aside it feels more to me that it’s a box to tick, and a better way to affirm your place at unMonastery is through alternative routes since you’re part of the core build and are unequivocally essential to the success of the project - so [Alberto] how do we do this? Can we split my role in half with [Bembo] or can we confirm a place if a form is filled out? What’s the best approach towards this…

Not very well

How do we do this? Not very well, I am afraid. The recruitment process is a weak link of the whole operation.

  1. round 1 was assessed by all in writing, but the "make a video/write a post" assessment designed by [Ben] did not pan out. Applicants either ignored us or underperformed. Whichever the reasons, this suggests going back to top-down assessment.
  2. round 2 was assessed in writing by [IdaLeone] and myself, but not by Ben and Michele.
  3. no interview with applicants was done by Ben. Or at least I have not seen any reporting in any form.
  4. [Bembo Davies]'s application never came through. So much for submitting oneself to rules (let alone Rules) valid for all.

This is quite embarassing – also for me personally, since I vouched for the project and stepped in on several occasions. I expect Rossella to complain to me about the application process as soon as they have had their presentation in Rome next week. She will be right.

So, guys, maybe we could still patch this up. I have asked officially to Rossella to reopen the process (we won’t get any attention until next week); maybe she will. But that’s not what the issue is: the issue, I am afraid, is lack of leadership. Edgeryders can interface, raise funds, raise awareness, and we have done all that to the best of our abilities. But we cannot step into the core of the project – or rather, we could, but then it becomes our project. The best way to do it is for you to take responsibility for closing the applications evaluation process as follows:

  • Ben, collate the responses from all of us from rounds 1 and 2. Add your own.
  • Do the interviews. Or don't, forego them and take the associated risks. If I were you I would try to talk to them personally, because that these guys refuse to write a single blog post is a really bad sign with respect to their discipline and esprit du corps once in Matera.
  • Either way, get to an A-list smaller than 10 people x 4 months. These are immediately accepted and asked to sign a statement of commitment. Also make a B-list.
  • If Rossella accepts to reopen, we reopen for a week, and measure B-listers against new applicants. If she does not, we go to 10 people x 4 months using A-listers and the best B-listers. In the latter case, I am afraid Bembo is out.

Splitting the role of unAbbott does not work for me. Ben: when we moved forward with this, you made me a promise to lead. My own commitment was conditional to that promise. You need to embrace that responsibility, not dilute it. Bembo, on the other hand, made me no such promise, and he is free from commitment.

Application thread.

Okay it seems I was less than clear in my communication in the application email thread, I’ve corrected this with a spreadsheet now circulated - I’ll pick up everything else I can and start patching.

Why a problem?

Why does the application process need to ever be closed? Why is make a video/write a post so important? Maybe some people are not that good at that kind of thing, shouldn’t selection be done on a case by case process, there can’t be one standard (or box) that everyone is supposed to fit in is there? Why does there have to be an unabbott? Is the unmonastery metaphor perhaps over reaching here? We’re just talking about a group of people coming to live and work together, they should be able to come up with their own metaphors. What happened to “those that show up call the shots”?

Here’s why

Because, Michael, unMonasterians are to receive a per diem against their living expenses. This was baked in the proposal so that people could not have to think about making ends meet and focus on their journey in and with the unMonastery. Per diems are to be financed with a grant by Comitato Matera 2019, hence taxpayer money. So, we need to be seen as 100% fair and transparent in allocating these benefits. We created a public call; put it out there four months ago on all relevant websites (ER, uM, MT2019) and pushed it out as best as we could. And indeed, applications flowed in – including some from the community: [elf Pavlik], [immaginoteca], [Kathleen], [mstn] and others. If we were now to say “wait a minute, we did not want applications for these people, we wanted applications from those other people over there” we would look like using public resources to distribute among our friends. If we keep applications open forever there is no way to defend ourselves from accusations of self-referentiality, if not discrimination. We did keep them open a good three months.

And there needs to be an unAbbott for the same reason. No, the unMonastery is not “a group of people coming to live together”: that would be any squat. The unMonastery is that, plus a social role: the local community, through the endorsement and support of the city hall, LOTE3 and other gimmicks, recognize unMonasterians as innovators-in-residence trying to solve problems of the local community itself. Back in the day, Ben, Nadia and others (mysel included) thought this would be crucial for the local context to embrace, rather than reject, the unMonastery transplant. So, to make this happen, we needed a local partner. We found one in Comitato Matera 2019; they are trusting us with a building, which is city property; cash resources; and legitimacy. We are accountable to them, and that means there needs to be someone that takes responsibility for the residency, and that someone needs to be paid and commits the full four months. Also, in the spirit of Benedict’s rule, an unAbbott is a valuable service to the unBrethren (see the unMonasterian’s expectation management primer).

These are all conditions for MT2019 stepping in with a building and resources. They (and I personally) did the work of digging out resources, therefore we called these shots.

Bridging the gap?

I feel like adding something to what Alberto just answered. He made it very clear on why there needs to be a deadline, an unAbbott, ecc. But it is important for me to underline why this video/post came out. It’s for interface and starting to link the unMonastarians to a growing supporting local community in MaterA. 4 months is a very short period of time, but things will be (slightly) easier if we start to build links and ties beforehand: no need to have a standard approach to videos and posts, but I do believe that peer-to-peer review, publishing list of unMonastarians, getting in touch with eachother will help the process. Do you have other proposals in mind to start bridging the gap between the future unMonastarians and the local community?

Ok for the call

I guess we are all decompressing after the LOTE3. Thing is I can’t have the time needed: on Wednesday we are going at the Italian Ministry of Culture to defend MT2019: on Friday we know if we are shortlisted, so not a lot of time to wrap my mind around the post LOTE effects.

How about we schedule one right after the 18th? On the 15th we know who the shortlisted cities are :slight_smile:

I do think I did

This is most upsetting.  I thought I it submitted twice -  the first time it was informal.  I wrote my appl. but when I couldn’t find the correct place to submit it so placed on the newly started unMo blog, which had just been launched as the best new thing.  It wasn’t a hit, my appl. langished on this dead end. ( since April).  Whatever happened to my second appl. is beyond me, I thinjk I asked Ben to verify its exisitence - but never heard anything.  If that too vanished in our system, how many others have suffered the same fate?