Edgeryders partners up with Comitato Matera 2019 to create a Civic Innovation Network – and offers support to participate in conferences

Matera, in Italy, is a very special place. It is special in and of itself, with its remarkable resilience (it has been continuously inhabited for nine thousand years, which makes it one of the oldest cities in the world) and its eerie beauty; but it is very special for Edgeryders in particular. Matera is home to the unMonastery; was the seat of Living On The Edge 3 – the unPilgrimage in 2013, and is going to host Living On The Edge 4 – the Stewardship, too.

So, it is with joy, pride and a strong sense of place that I announce a new partnership between Comitato Matera 2019 and Edgeryders to build a civic innovation network. With this term, we mean an ecosystem of meeting places, relationships, initiatives and services that enable ordinary citizens to lead in making innovation, and specifically innovation aimed at the common good. The unMonastery is a strong candidate to be one of the hubs of this network; but what defines networks, ultimately,is always connectivity – not nodes, but links. Edgeryders will deploy activities aimed at strengthening the ties Materan civic innovators have already developed with their counterparts in the rest of Europe; and at building new one.

One such activity, of course, is to be LOTE4. Another one is this: we are willing to support a limited number of people for participating in conferences all around Europe to let people know what Matera is doing and has already done in the area of citizen-led innovation; from open (geo) data to teaching children to program, from walking ethnographies to Arduino-assisted solar trackers and monitoring systems for hydroponic gardening.

Support would consist of a 400 EUR cash refund. We would like to see you as a featured speaker in a conference on social innovation or some related theme. The talk can be in any language. Ideally, we would like that the conference is of the kind that produces high-quality video: TEDx are perfect, for example. We encourage unMonasterians in particular to share their experiences. Contact @Alberto for details if you are interested!


Hello Alberto I am available, because civic network and civic media are tasks on which I am working a lot in this period.

Unfortunately my English is not so perfect, so I am available for conferences in Italian

me too

Happy to speak about Matera (and the unMonastery), in English or Hungarian.


@katalin, you’d need to find your own conference. @invisigot, unfortunately we don’t think Matera 2019 needs much extra publicity in Italy – our focus is on the rest of Europe!


I’ll be speaking on unMonastery next Wednesday, the 27th, at the RGS-IGB Annual International Conference in London.

The session centers on practice of collaboration between distributed spaces, so I’ll be focusing the prototype in Matera, the pattern language developed to construct new spaces, and particularly the nature of co-working spaces that enter into a social contract with the community. Citizen-led innovation - exemplified by the unMon projects - highlights this last aspect well.  @Alberto, if you think this is relevant, I’d be interested to learn more details about the civic innovation network and incorporate it into the talk. I’m not sure if it will be recorded, but I’ll check with the session organizers.


@Kei, I do think it’s relevant.

For civic innovation network stuff, you should mention at least:

  • the "community data" section on the city's open data portal.
  • CoderDojo
  • The rise of OpenStreetMap in town, and its spinoff into unTransit. Have you seen this video? Great material. 
  • The linking of grassroots initiatives in town to European or global initiatives: your own OpenTechSchool radiates from Berlin; CoderDojo started in Ireland; Edgeryders in Strasbourg.

The general narrative is:

  1. the city is accelerating on a policy of enabling its citizens to use cheap, open tech to innovate. Geodata play a central role in this. Notice that the meeting of the Italian OpenStreetMap community for 2014 will happen in Matera, the first weekend of October. We made this bid a year ago already! 
  2. Edgeryders is the advisor for this policy, and it has connected the restless souls in Matera right out to the global level.
  3. the unMonastery is the hub of the citizen innovation network.

Make sure you show the logos, and a pretty picture of Matera. :slight_smile:

Solar Trackers

Hi Alberto is the link for solar trackers a working one?


Well spotted! There was a typo. Fixed now. :slight_smile:

The UnLodge :wink:

Hi all,

here is a very quick note to say that I am in Birr in the heart of the Irish midlands (again) working on the establishment of a new project and in talks to set up two co-living houses in the town in partnership with this work.

The first aspect is our participation on the Growing Livlihoods Program from Carnegie UK and the Plunkett Foundation. Second to this there is a Community space, a building dedicated to hosting community activities for 10 years, that will host a Coder Dojo/hackerspace a MensShed, an arts studio space, and a boxing club, with potential for a community cooperative entity that funds the basic cost of the space while creating local employment.

In addition, a member of the EarthShip crew and trainee architect has moved in across the street and we are in talks about Opening Earthship. So far they had no idea about OS and copyleft dynamics, now about the necessary steps to build transnational netwroked community commons and economic structures and so I’m helping a little that way and interesting conversations are in place.

I’m not spending much time online these days as there is lots of analogue involved in doing anything substantial in Ireland and so thats where my focus is right now. contact me here directly to talk about this if you are interested in getting involved in the doing, or if there is something you feel I should know/participate in on your side.

P.S - one funny thing about the co-living spaces we are in talks about, is that they are houses, and one is on the same street as the local masonic lodge. Also , in the agreement they are being ‘unlodged’ from the rent system, a characteristic of the work in general. definitely worth a wee titter :wink:


Hello @Eimhin! I can only speak for myself (and perhaps, a little, for Edgeryders LBG); my take is that the Irish project seems broadly consistent to the community’s values and interests, but it is not clear what value we could add – especially if everything relevant happens offline. However, if you want Edgeryders involved somehow, let us know and we will discuss it.

As for our side, you might consider connecting the Birr group to LOTE4. It might be a fast way to bring your crowd up to speed on open source everything, and besides we are focusing on Stewardship here. What’s the arrangement whereby you gain access to these houses? If they are your property, or the property of some other person involved in the project, stewardship in the Edgeryders sense is not that relevant, because it is simply guaranteed by private ownership. However, if they are somehow collective or public property, all sort of issues around free riding arise. And they have killed many a well-intentioned scheme already; you have probably been there (or close) yourself. Info here.


Our crew have this event I am coorganizing with the P2PFoundation, Cultivate(.ie), and the WeCreate FabLab, to bring them up to speed:


Check it out and share with other Irish Edgeryders…if there are any.

As for Stewardship: a community space for 10 years that so far has to house a Boxing Club, a MensShed, a Coder Dojo/HackerSpace, a visual and a physical Arts Studio, and a Civic Trust -fits the definition on the page you cite:  “Stewardship: the ability to come together to take care of assets”. 

Saying that, we would aim to do more than just take care of the assets, we intend their use to create a strong and resilient community while creating learning and employment opportunities for a sidelined youth population.

And this despite the houses, for which an arrangement has to be created and agreed upon with the owners, who would sign them over for a designated period for use in a community focussed project.

As far as I know Edgeryders is an open community, and apart from signals I get making me feel as though I have no  place here, I still do still feel a certain kinship ;) 

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@alberto do talks have to be outside of Italy?

@Bezdomny suggested this: http://www.lavoro.gov.it/Notizie/Pages/20140805_Semestre-Europeo_Consultazione-pubblica-crescita-sociale_English-version.aspx

We have some autonomy

But honestly I am not think I am that interested in this thing. People have already suggested that I put myself forward as a speaker, but I worry this might the event might be a little stiff and official. It is great if you have solutions to propose, less so if you come in ignorance, as I do.

What do you suggest, @Bezdomny?