Getting my Matera contribution on track... Strategic Considerations

How does the proposed LOTE#3 serve the convergent goals of Edgeryders, Matera and the unMonastery?

On a recent collective video hangout, I was twice told that LOTE#3 and the unMonastery were to be considered two different things - I understand the genesis of this understanding, but this does not strike me as optimal project management.  I’d like to air an alternative:

Surely there is a deeper rationale for placing LOTE3 at the location of one the ER community’s first major projects?   I can spot some obvious ones:

— forces afoot (administrative?, economic?, both?) have pushed back the unMo launch date another 4-5 months to mid-winter, it could be valuable to maintain momentum by demonstrating our presence.  —  At the same time, exposing a broad selection of Edgeryders to the potential of Matera can help distill both general enthusiasm and a useful flood of fresh concrete projects. 

It is at this point my questions of strategy arise:  How specifically can LOTE#3 be angled so as to nourish the unMo both in its practical infrastructure/logistics challenges, and as an interactive social organ in the broader community?  Should it ideally mark the arrival of our first ‘permanent’ residents?   ( It likely desirable that we don’t mirror the pattern of descending northerners there for the scenery. – nor of course repeat versions of drunken revelry by the canal.)

I suspect this can be adressed by refining the conceptual narrative of the event from something like:

ER is investing in unMo by injecting energies in the unMo space; this cannot help but to make unMo thrive.

  • to -  unMo has invited ER to come and initiate our local activities in their own special way.

Having appointed myself a guardian of theunMo spirit, I strongly support some version of the second storyline.  The problem then being that while ER actually exists, unMo doesn’t.  This may leave my belovéd second scenario a bit of a needless fantasy; what will happen will be a compromise between the desirable and the managable with a heavy weight upon the latter.  However, I feel strongly that this need to use the LOTE#3 event to root the unMo in the realitiies of the community becomes a collective central tactical concern.  That as yet undeveloped elements of unMo culture determine the quality of the LOTE, rather than the imported culture of, say LOTE #1 + #2 descend upon Matera. 

The unMonastery is more than a conceptual home of the ER spirit, it is its practical manifestation - if, and this is an uniformed, but not an unlikely if -  the volunteer committee charged with kitting out the unMo location needs some practical guidelines (and deadlines), placing  LOTE#3 in the unMo location (Drafty and dusty as it may be) gives us some leverage.  If we accept this choice of test drivng the unMo location, it flavours others. The descent of dozens of ERers to initiate the unMo space has practical and symbolic power.  We could easily do a mop & bucket brigade and remove 95% of the cave dust in an afternoon.  A light show and some flag unfurling might just render us visible (amid the other flags and light shows) to the Materani that something is finally about to happen.  Addressing the plumbing, cooking and sleeping logistics would require that we address plumbing/cooking/sleeping logistics; more sustainable solutions might not be that much harder to solve than temporary ones (especially when they need to be done anyway.)  This may effect economy of scale - 45 workers might be more flexible than 145. 

The suggested primary goal of LOTE#3 is to create a catalogue of the combined skills/excellence of the ER community.  I suggest that by building the unMo as an organ for ER research we get something beyond a catalog of current skills, we get a laboratory for refining new ones.  A motto might be experience first, then reflexion.  The very minimum, before we risk diluting our already taxed resources, is to create a project management spread sheet that slots in all activities and actors to ensure that everything is building in a coherent effort.

At this point the unMo is lagging behind.



Legwork is the key (as usual)

Bembo: lote is not for making a catalogue of skills (how boring that would be!). Rather, it is for us all to learn new skills conducive to making more stuff on the same level as the unMonastery. We have forged new tools over the last year – not least a British legal entity called Edgeryders LBG; the more people learn to use them, the farther our reach will be.

That said, you are right in saying the relationship between lote and the unMon is shifting; and you are right in saying the latter is lagging behind. The reason, as far as I can see, is this: the lote core group is simply putting in way more legwork. The good news is that it can be easily rebalanced – by putting in legwork! The more things are done by the unMon group, the more the operation will take on an unMon flavor. Bembo, I absolutely love your idea of your mop&bucket brigade! And that’s an example. Others are:

  1. we have people working on the internal architectural arrangement of the space. Hell, they are even being paid – unlike the rest of us. They are producing some material: and they could be prompted to produce even more. This could be shared online, to make the feeling of "hey, we are actually building the unMonastery! How cool is that?" more and more concrete, and drive engagement this way.
  2. you guys have precious accommodation to offer (unofficially, but still). Working out how many people you can give a space to crash should be a priority. Once you know, you'll be very popular, because everybody needs a place to stay, and yours would be for free.
  3. in the spring I got the OpenWear people interested in organizing a participatory design session for the unMonasterian's clothing (the "multiform" as it came to be called). The thing was put on hold, as the spring event was cancelled, but you could easily revive that contact. And this would be, again, a very concrete step towards institution building – and supercool. 

What do you think?

Leg and dancework

I just had a constructive discussion with Nadia that went through some of the same territory.  The two actionable highlights for me, were the idea of creating the projected diary of the unMo.  You know perhaps the Catholic lore better than I do, but it seems to me that I am inevitably the unAncient unKeeper of the unTraditions or something apprpriate.  I’ve started something of the kind about the unMo festive cycle  - which I’ll dig up from a conversation with Ben and insert here.

The other idea that sprung up and is worth pursuing is unSpiritual guidance.  I’ll let it cook for a while.

I sent you a personal message today via the established ER pages about getting down there to lay some groundwork for my outreach project.  My plan is to get to Matera for 3 weeks in August – I suspect that being on site is a valuable piece of leverage in many ways.  Nadia Casamassima and Andrea won’t be in town until the very end, which is a pity.  I’d like some help arranging our stay: basically we can cover the travel . it would be great to get a place to stay from the network.  Three weeks being a bit long for couchsurfing.  Staying in the unMo may work if it is habitable by then.

I’ll be there myself

Several edgeryders will converge onto Matera for the RENA Summer School on the last week of August – this is not intentional, but it seems nothing exciting can happen in Europe these days without a healthy dose of edgeryders being involved! Namely: @pietro Speroni di Fenizio, @smari, I and @stefano_stortone (you may have met him in Strasbourg – he is a participatory budgeting guy) are teachers. @ilariadauria is one of the organizers. @nadia will also be there, and so will @augusto_pirovano, the urban game designer. @andrea_paoletti of course lives there. A small crowd!

As for what it is you do: the unMonastery needs everything, and anything you want to give it is a gift. If you want my advice, I would recommend execution over strategy and legwork over building platforms. But then, I always say that :slight_smile:

See you at the next community call, maybe?

Ask and thou shall be given

I agree with Alberto in that some work done in the engagement dpt., to get people excited about the unMonastery preparations would be great in naturally solving some of the questions you pose, and that the narrative / message will just surface, independent of what design choices we make apriori.

I can’t speak on behalf of all of us Lote3 volunteers, but I think there is capacity to help out. Especially because every other new person and new Edgeryder joining us for the Friday calls is there because they heard about the unMonastery, and that’s what they’re in for! As I was telling [Ben] a number of times, we can make this the topic of a community call, announce it one whole week before with a small agenda, you guys come in and tell us what you need help with and we set up a to do list there and then. (btw next call is Friday 11 am CET)

Another thing to work on is making an entrance in communities of Materani who could help. Ilaria and myself both started thinking about this, but it can’t happen without key people sitting down with us and cooking an attractive offer… - from initial call to action, to list of things they can help with, to logistic coordination. 

I forgot, +1 for mop & bucket brigade!! Love it!



I would definetely go for the actionables more than the narrative, at this point. However, I have only questions before going on to proposals and offers:

  • starting from when is the space going to be officially in the hands of the unMo?
  • who are the people in charge of the internal architectural arrangement? It would help a lot to know what is being produced, share it online and start building on it;
  • the unMo can offer accomodation: I recall Ben wrotabout giving the possibility to whoever could find own funds to come to the unMo and develop a project.
  • How does the "mop&bucket brigade" fit in the picture? (i guess this is linked to the first question). There are many ways of doing so (FlashMob, link it to Legambiente, ecc)
  • Don't know if the proposal of having the unMo host the LOTE3 (in the sense that unMonastarians will be there before and after), but maybe the OpenWear session can fit in right after the LOTE3?

Yes, a dedicated community call would be great… I’ll feed on the follow-up :slight_smile: