Living and Working as an unMonk - Wiki

Name: Harry Bovill



Google Hangouts:

M: 07795195168

The projects name is BeltUP and is a portable mobile Dojo Studio capable of onsite podcasting.

My proposal is to use BeltUp as a bridge between the general community of Matera and the UnMonastery group. As well as fostering the disciplined behavior required for the internal functioning of the group and providing a way of releasing tension.

A brief description of what you will do at UnMonastery:

BeltUp It is designed around community engagement and communications outreach that will support and help develop existing UnMonastery projects. The Mobile Dojo Studio will be run by two Martial Artists from London (Harry Bovill and Jonathan Hatzimazorous)  and collaborate with local Martial Artists of Matera (Felice Fulco and Rosario)  to showcase the performance of martial arts skills in a number of public locations on a weekly basis.  The performers will engage the public directly in conversation around innovation, community development, fundraising and  Matera’s bid for Capital of Culture 2019. Advances in mobile technology, live streaming and low cost high quality microphones enable us to film and live stream hd multiple camera action footage on location this will provide documentation of the project as well as  public reaction. These recordings will be analysed and ultimately used to develop programs and partnerships for ensuring the continuity of UnMonastery in Matera while further develop their own local social innovation projects by encouraging people to form self-organised peer groups working together. BeltUp will work alongside Viral Academy to ensure the access to the skill sets needed to carry out a sustainable project can be learned.

Preferred dates of stay: Anytime between the beginning of June - July 20th or August 3rd - September.

Languages you speak: English, Greek

An overview of your skillset and experience in realising successful projects.

I am a Gracie Barra Blue Belt under Eduardo Cariello

Apart of an on going project with the KungFU school of Matera.

  • Agile Management
  • Project Management 
  • Teaching Martial Arts/Fitness/Healthy living
  • Science, Biology
  • Communication and Engagment
  • PermaCultureCollective - I have engaged in community outreach for Viral Academy
  • Art and Design

A brief description of why you want to be a part of unMonastery.

What attracts you collective living and working.

T (technical point)

IMO by using plain nested comment thread for managing all this information we make rather poor choice! (or we just don’t give ourselves any choice?)

Once again I suggest experimenting with Loomio to get better overview of all the involved opinions:

the original wiki does state

“Send an email to with UnMonk as subject”  with the answers to the questions.

So it was not the intention for people to post here.

We will add those posted here to the others.


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Preferred dates of stay: August-September

Languages you speak: Russian, English, French, Swedish.

Since March I had an opportunity to establish good connection with locals helping with Italian as well as contacts.

A brief description of why you want to be a part of unMonastery.

I wanted to come to the unMonastery since the idea came about at LOTE1 in June 2012. I’m interested in the unMonastery-in-a-Box and replicability of the project. Specially since working with Lars Novang, and looking at possibilities to get support from local authorities in Skane for the potential Swedish prototype.

The reason for me to be interested in this particular iteration of unMonastery is spending 3 month in Matera, which, I think, is a minimum to start getting a very basic understanding of the dynamics of the place and to put together a collaborative project.

A brief description of what you will do at unMonastery.

I will coordinate an transnational cooking event and document social connections established during the event.

This project is part of as Open Culture Festival in September. I will be working in collaboration with existing projects related to food, such as Franceso Marano’s visual ethnography project which is focusing on local recipes.

While there is a number of projects in Matera related to the local cuisine, I would like to focus on bringing in migrant communities in Matera, as it is an integral part of urban culture.

Based on what I learned for the past couple of month from migrants currently living in Matera, food festival is engaging and comprehensible for wider community local migrant communities and natives, so it also provides a platform for ethnography and network analysis.

I would like to focus on international community in Matera starting with people I have met since March. City of Matera will benefit from emphasising positive sides of it’s cultural diversity.

The ethnographic aspect of this project can also built on network analysis done by Gaia and has has overlaps with Christiano’s Siri project.

I am planning to use ethnographic research element of this project to write a paper for Migration and Ethhic Relations course Malmo University I’m currently attending.

An overview of your skillset and experience in realising successful projects.

“Don’t ask me where I’m from ask me where I’m heading” project working with people with transnational background in Malmo.

Organising workshops with Social Scientists Without Borders (SSWB) in Malmo University.

Photo exhibitions at Sexodrome, Paris.

More importantly, I was also a part of unsuccessful projects for a number of times.

What attracts you collective living and working.

Teamwork and possibility to increase capacity of parallel projects by clustering them. I’m also interested in different ways of organising collective living and co-working and avoiding common problems associated with it.



Yes @elf-pavlik I totally agree. Using would and should be the way to go. I remember well the original discussion at unMonastery about this topic. Your suggestion, which was supported by the whole group, was that given there was short term space at the unMonastery, and a pressing need for Italian speakers and other forms of project help, we should look for people to fill these places based on reputation and the need of the project. This reputation based do-ocracy is at the pragmatic core of EdgeRyders.

As @mariabyck was the only person objecting to this approach - because of her passion for democratic inclusion (particularly for the local people living and working in Matera), it was suggested that she take a lead on this issue - which she has valiantly done! It’s a lot of work, and she should be praised for putting the time and effort into to do this.


I’m making this post to introduce a topic I feel is central to both democracy, and effective community engagement. This is not the way to do things! This is a half hearted and superficial way to attempt democratic community engagement.

It is half hearted because it is neither democratic, nor makes effective use of personal knowledge and real word-of-mouth engagement of people on the ground. Also, and importantly, it is not transparent. As was brought up in the original meeting, but so far not addressed (at least publicly), the hard question is not - let’s make a widely publicised “call”, nor “post your project proposals on a web site so everyone can read it”. The real democratic question is who decides. Is it a small group, all the present residents of the unMonastery? Or perhaps the whole EdgeRyders community? Do we include people in Matera? These are the real issues.

True democratic transparency would be to use something like Loomio, and / or hold local group meetings to get peoples opinions locally who don’t use these platforms. True effective community engagement would have been to trust people on the ground and actively go out and seek people with the required skills. Doing a bit of both gives us the worst of both worlds - a long process, beds empty, projects with unmet needs and no real democratic decision making ever taking place. I feel strongly that both strategies are good, if they are done fully and properly in a transparent way, but this is not the way to do it. It’s a pigs dinner and we can and should do better than this!

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Exceptionally Useful.

Given that this is a process that has been in motion for a month now, happening in full open view, with all minutes and points being added to this thread, it’s exceptionally useful @fortyfoxes that you now step in at the last moment and declare the entire process a sham and insist that a different approach be taken - diplomatic as ever.

Need it be reminded that “who does the work calls the shots”?

I agree with some sentiments and that this isn’t a true democratic process - but everyone involved has done their best to make this work given the restrictions and precarity of the situation and what is being offered.

how to participate in projects

I would like to make a quick note that our way at the unMon to get involved in projects is the following:

  1. Someone decides to do it,

  2. and proposes it to the unMon group, so people who feel they have something to contribute, or strong views on it, can participate.

  3. The small collaborative group puts a proposal together, present it to the rest of the unMons where we discuss it. If people cannot reach a consensus, the ones having trouble with the original proposal join the group to come up with a new proposal. This continues until we agree.

  4. Project is led by people who worked on it all along.

As @fortyfoxes points out above, it was @mariabyck only who felt strongly enough to put a counter proposal together to the original idea of asking people personally. She has been working on this for a month at least, sharing all her thoughts along the way. There has been plenty of time for anyone to step up and point out problems. Nobody did, and that includes @fortyfoxes. Since it is the final day for accepting calls, it is too late to change anything.

In a do-ocracy, criticism without participation only counts as complaining. And that is against the rules at the unMon.

So who decides?

Sticking to the subject - who decides on these applications? Is @elf-pavlik’s suggestion a bad one? Can you guys be transparent about your process here?

Also in the matter of etiquette - please note it is valid to make points about real issues of content, especially when they are important. The topics of transparency and democracy are important enough to speak without the fear of speaking out. If you have any thoughts on the subject matter of the post - please comment with respect, but as strongly and clearly as possible. Trying to stop a well considered argument which has general implications for EdgeRyders process, by stating it is “too late to change anything”, or by “ad hominem” attacks, is a bad precedent for open collaboration. You guys need to be talk about these processes on this platform - it’s a good important topic, we can all learn from.

Re: UnMonestary Radio and Distributed UnConferences

@aden a couple of thoughts… first you should take you mobile phone and other details off the site :slight_smile: On the project description, maybe it would be stronger if you described the way in which internet radio can be used by people here in Matera - how individuals with a simple mbile phone can be part of the programme and record their own conversations, and how this would work in practice?

Another aspect that I think is strong is how an open Creatively Commons archive of such conversations and debates, can both be democratic, and be used in an unConference style to capture distributed conversations? You’ve made good contact with communities here from your own cultural perspective and experience as a journalist and this does not come across strongly in your project description?

Creative Commons - how to make it UnCommon ?/

Copyrights issue might come about if UnMonastery Radio uses mainstream media content without permission. However, the audio broadcast by users from either "Phone", computer or private studios of the locals may use it under not for profit creative commons licence stored on public online server. And programs and shows developed from the feeds may attribute the original producer of the content that can be used by the listeners to edit and modify. This process will hopefully promote locals to build, market or collaborate interests and ideas with more control. 
The project testing  of the UnMonestary Radio can be used by the locals to browse through live or recorded interactions, adwords, events, weather, or other important updates by uploading streams from 3g connections. which can afterwards be taken by community broadcasters, like Radio stations in Matera or UnMonestary Radio itself.
The radio shows can be developed in remote areas and can organize collaboratively radio programs using source fabric airtime or shoutcast servers in the beginning. These activities will hopefully try to make cultural and social development events around Matera more engaging by sharing info of do's and dont's of the gatherings, and establishes communication channels between the organizers and their participants in a more open way.  
Also I updated my post also on how to proceed in terms of setting up the radio streams across Matera. 

Re: Transnational Food Event

@K - some quick thoughts… there is along history of food-art events. How about the more grounded aspects of this project? I think you should mention Christo’s (from Bulgaria but living here precariously in Matera) project he discussed - and is keen on bringing to the unMonastery. Also the aspects of the project which people can do at home, or in the outlying villages and how this relates to Ramona Bavassano and the cultural programme she is organising here with placing artists in outlying villages and organising food related events?

Last suggestion would be to describe the relationship between food, open culture and Creative Commons. Food is a fantastic example of open culture - there is no copyright on recipes (in the USA), yet this does not hinder a rich and creative industry of restaurants and cultural exchange?

@fortyfoxes Reason for me to propose this project, is that most people I spoke to about it in Matera can related to it and can join. Participation doesn’t require having a venue, nor catering business. Speaking of Open Culture, Creative Commons Film Festival in Matera also gets positive feedback.

And keeping in mind the theme of the next LOTE.

@katalin Time is great, as

@Katalin Time is great, as long as there is space.

I have been appointed an official house heretic, but was suggested not to step up and point out the problems right then temporarily for several reasons. I agreed. In some situations, it is more appropriate to first point out problems in private, and leaving to the person you have pointed them out to, to decide whether to make these problems public. Dissent in a box. We can talk about it, if you like. But here is the story of discussion about democratic decision making @Mariabyck work on selection of new unMonks starts:

First discussion about democratic decision making happened when Christiano left the unMonastery, and unMonks unanimously agreed that the best person unMonastery can welcome is Juliana, based on her reputation: projects she is involved in, knowledge of local community and language skills. Maria objected claiming that a selection based on good reputation is not democratic and needs an open call. However, the objection appeared contradictory, as Maria then mentioned that one of the reasons to object this candidature is the lack of personal relationship with Juliana.

@Ben, whom put work in the first selection round, and aware of the difficulties associated with this, said that regarding limited capacity, we can’t afford a full blown open call, and in a tradition of do-ocracy proposed to Maria to work on it the way she wanted. There is a dilemma here in terms of do-ocracy. When one person wants to do something which might not be regarded as particularly useful, but put a lot of effort o it, calls the shots. Do-ocracy requires discussion, not just a passive agreement to go along just for the sake of avoiding confrontation. Do-ocracy also wouldn’t work in a group where questioning, doubt, and dissent are temporarily discouraged.

It was and is still unclear to me whether designing the call also implies the selection process will also be her responsibility. Though, social contract usually benefits from reputation, charisma or both. @Ben we like benign dictatorships as well as true democratic processes.

I like Elf suggestion to use Loomio, there is no reason for not tryig it out. But, of course, the question then is who will be voting: Edgeryders community+ people of Matera? Is there age limit? Should you have a permanent address in Matera? Are unMonasterians themselves allowed to vote? I won’t go into long discussion about flaws of conventional democracy right now, but I’m sure we all have something to say on this subject, and when time allows I would be delighted to continue.

I think this conversation is extremely interesting and beneficial to the unMonastery-in-a-Box, and it is a right moment, context and place for it to happen.

Multiple font sizes are unintentional.

"…he question then is who

“…the question then is who will be voting: Edgeryders community+ people of Matera? Is there age limit? Should you have a permanent address in Matera? Are unMonasterians themselves allowed to vote?”

for now we may need to go with what Loomio offers as for today, in long run we may need to do feature request (even better put effort into a pull request) and add way to visualize opinions within different circles, for example: current unMonastery:Matera residents, involved ER community members, local community in Matera (which might happen in Italian), general worldwide population… this way everyone could openly express opinion but also everyone could filter it by certain contexts!

Re: portable mobile Dojo

@hazzard hope all is going well in the UK, and good luck at the Jiu Jistu Open Championships on Saturday! I know you don;t have so much time to update your proposal - but here is my feedback.

I think you should describe the physical nature of the Dojo - how the mats are light and portable. how it will be used at the Piccianello event, not just as a showcase with the local kung Fu School and other martial artists.

Also we’ve been having a number of good conversations with local people about the limited access to public sports and games in general. Maybe you could consider broadening the proposal to a wider access to public games. Outdoor table tennis is completely lacking here and we’ve been talking to a number of local people about starting a competition, and you could mention the use of the dojo for discussion, meditation, and playing board games?

It is true

I do feel strongly that we should not invite people in to UnMon without an idea of what they want to do or why they want to be here.

I also feel it is important for all of us to be able to explain to others what the process is for expressing interest in joining unMon.

That is what has been established, through discussions here and in meetings that have included Rita, Lois, Antonio, Bembo, Ben, Lucia, Katalin and me up to this point, notes have been posted here and on Trello.

Request for Method

In our meeting this morning @fortyfoxes requested that the method for this process be made clear - here is that method as I understand it and the context in which the process was followed.


  • As a result of optimising and reducing the expenditure of the unMonastery, we were able to save around 10,000 Euro, which meant we can feasibly run the project for an additional 2 months.
  • This budget allows for 6 funded positions within the unMonastery based on previous calculations.
  • MT2019 agreed to this and had the decision signed off by the municipality.
  • Recognising that we needed better support for Italian and better integration locally we targeted the call towards people we had already begun working with or have close contact with.
  • Given that limited timescale and lessons learnt in the initial selection process it was determined that we should "hand pick" individuals that make sense - discussed here with @Alberto
  • Since we were keen to have some locals join existing unMonks, it made sense to discuss with those unMonks already from Matera how well or badly we'd been doing so far, so to factor it into the process - found here.
  • We then defined expectations and folded it into the above wiki - so to make clear what the offer was.
  • Acknowledging that we do not have time to do comprehensive integration nor can we act as a support to existing projects, we framed the invitation for someone who would be a quick starter and who "gets it" see 'Conditions' in the wiki.

Process and Method. (Taking into account the above context.)

  • Assessing the budget and timescale we decided 6 funded unMonasterians were all we could invite at this time.
  • The call was explicitly only for June and July, since this is the only gurantee we can offer.
  • Through a series of meetings and conversations on EdgeRyders we defined the call and the expectations.
  • We circulated this on EdgeRyders, by word of mouth and via personal emails, asking individuals to answer the questions that had been filled out.
  • We also asked each current unMonasterian who wishes to continue their stay to clarify what they would be doing in June and July and why they think that should stay - so that we could match internal objectives effectively with new comers.
  • The deadline was Thursday last week.
  • On Friday an internal meeting was had to assess the applications recieved by existing unMonasterians, because; this was an informal call, unMonasterians are at this time best placed to assess which projects make sense to the continuation of the project and we have neither the resources, time or inclination to approach the process in any other way.
  • Each application that met the requirements of the call (i.e was focused on a June and July stay, met the conditions and preferably spoke italian) was entered into a matrix - to assess applicability.
  • On the basis of that assessment the decision was taken as to who was a good fit.
  • Next step is the officially invite those individuals.

No argument

Everything is clear and documented, as far as I am concerned. The only thing I don’t understand is the matrix (as per this comment).

I would like to emphasize that this was not a formal selection process by open call, nor was it meant to be. “Hand picking” was both necessary and interesting as a learning opportunity.

I also would like to mention that a clear process is not necessarily a good one, and a good process does not necessarily yield a good result (a good process is a process that yields good results most of the times, or in probability if you prefer. It is still a stochastic process). I took the time of re-reading the whole thread: there is much to learn. I especially would like to thank @fortyfoxes for voicing dissent and Ksenia “the resident heretic” for this comment.

A session on governance at lote4 is in order. I have a number of thoughts that I would very much like to discuss.

Thanks for claryfying

Thanks @Ben for your detailed response. We’ve been having a number of good conversations about process and decision making, and I think it would be a really positive theme at lote4. Talking of lote4 is there a place where we begin planning sessions? @Alberto, maybe it would be good to move some of this discussion to a governance thread?

Some of the points that have come up recently here in Matera may spark some interest / discussion regarding decision making democracy etc?

I’ve made a long fuller post on my blog on Why everyone hates voting. I’d be interested in hearing what people think about voting as used in groups in particular, but also on platforms such as EdgeRyders. I’ve had a number of discussion with people over the years on this topic, and I’ve tried my best to describe the main reasons why people tend to avoid voting in group work:

  1. Voting is confrontational, it can be used to coerce people who are in a minority, and encourages combative or aggressive dialogue.
  2. Voting takes time, it is formal bureaucratic, and while in an ideal world we would consider it, it is faster for us simply to meet, discuss and decide together.
  3. Voting is not needed, we come to an understanding by simply debating and talking it through as a group.
  4. Voting does not result in the best result. You get a better result when people who are passionate speak up and make good arguments.

There are also a number of background reasons that people give (often in confidence), when I’ve discussed this topic with them. There is a perhaps surprisingly common apathy and even antagonism to democracy in general, and the focus of this target is often elected politicians, and the quality of the public debate which seems irrelevant to most peoples concerns. Voting is also associated with companies, and legal structures – which people tend to distrust.

I’ve done my best to counter these arguments, in a little detail on my blog, but I’d be interested to hear what people here think?

What to say…

After reading through the post and digesting It’s hard to know where to go in terms of the original post… Sorry my reply is late. There were so many off topic notifications pinging to my email, so I have to admit I completely abandoned the thread until reading over everything last night.

I will say it would be really interesting to have you guys record conversations with V/A, not only would it document the evolution of design/creation of UnMon and Open Collaboration techniques (a great educational process for everyone on the outside); I also have a feeling it would really nurture the internal environment of the group. It takes courage to step into a potentially confrontational situation even on a verbal level.

Visual and Audio documentation can act as a subtle reminder that personalities aside everyone is just thinking of the bigger picture. Confrontation doesn’t have to be destructive and can have positive outcomes if fostered in a positive environment.

@FortyFoxes Was a great experience, will fill you in on the details in person my next tournament is potentially in August

"I think you should describe the physical nature of the Dojo - how the mats are light and portable. how it will be used at the Piccianello event, not just as a showcase with the local kung Fu School and other martial artists.

Also we’ve been having a number of good conversations with local people about the limited access to public sports and games in general. Maybe you could consider broadening the proposal to a wider access to public games. Outdoor table tennis is completely lacking here and we’ve been talking to a number of local people about starting a competition, and you could mention the use of the dojo for discussion, meditation, and playing board games?"

The design of the dojo is to make it as easy to transport as possible. The 200sq/Ft Dojo Studio (Including the mats) weighs 15kg and can easily be extended. The project with the KungFu school was the simplest form the Dojo could be used in and to show how it could draw people to a space. The Piccianello event would take the Mobile Dojo into the Sassi. Work with a local shop owner that @FeliceFulco is in contact with to direct the event towards local food produce.

There is a lot of writing and thoughts I would like to share. The concept in mind for the Dojo is a portable Monastery capable of documentation and if at all possible live streaming. A physical space that can be easily transported and is un-specific enough to be molded to fit the needs.

The term Dojo has an educational heritage which translates to a concept signifying ‘way’, ‘path’, 'route’, meaning a place of any practice. What this allows, along with the concept of Mobile, is a connection between the different practices that can be applied within a Dojo “Our Mobile place of practice”. The Dojo acts as both a physical and mental space, with the physical space creating a peer to peer learning environment, and the mental developing resilience and discipline. The Mobile Dojo has a multi-skill flexibility, meaning all communities can participate.