Meet the community: Natalia Skoczylas, Andrew Welch

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Searching for the meaning/why am I here? - Natalia Skoczylas

It happened sometime in 2012 when my friend Andrei pointed out to me that Edgeryders are looking for good contributions to their online conversation and if I do well, I might meet them in real life. I started reading. Swimming in this ocean of content, ideas, visions, projects, debates - and tried to add a coin to it. It worked. I got to Stockholm and for two days participated in one of the most advanced, socially responsible talks ever - done in a small group of people, mostly doing very informal, very off-the-path things. I liked it.

I’m a political scientist and journalist with a university paper stating that. I am a journalist, freelancing mostly about culture (music, movies, literature) and architecture in the political and social context. This is what I wanted to do for my PhD. The Uni turned out to be too much of a burden for me - random classes to be taught, questions what architecture has to do with politics were just tiring. During my studies I started moving a bit - studies in Iceland opened my cognitive perspectives and fed me with ideas about civil society and cities as political and social phenomena. Then I came back to Lublin, where I used to study and live, and got into the leftist scene: working for a squat, helping out the most interesting NGO, doing cultural jobs, finally writing a lot of things. Academia was giving us time to do many things. And we did it.

I lived in quite some cities, taking various jobs, always seeking for sense and social benefit in them. I always wanted to contribute to something meaningful. I always believed that even the small things I organised, helped with, made myself - would have a value. Money is secondary. Energy is the asset that requires being directed in the right place. Otherwise, you waste your precious time.

After having to do with ngos who almost destroyed my faith in their mission, I had to jump back in the Edgeryders community and rethink everything. It’s a challenge. It’s different. And I do believe in it. Och, I so do.

I will be doing the communication and media-related work for Edgeryders. I will be asking you for the headlines and sending them every morning. I will welcome you in Matera where I would stroll the streets a month before your arrival in search for chairs, people, enthusiasm, right type of pasta and mozarella. And hopefully much more and for a long time. Happy to be on this board/boat/edge.

Andrew Welch

Hi, I am Andrew.&nbsp My journey started when I enjoyed making  stuff, using computers and being outdoors as a child. I studied BSc Environment, Economics and Ecology at York University and spent a lot of time there exploring the surrounding countryside by mountain bike, participating in races and mountain bike groups. I started a design business designing and printing t-shirts which promoted sustainable and progressive living. I then worked as a mountain bike guide in Croatia (Korcula). Returning to the UK I worked for a network company as an engineer, web developer and graphic designer. I then prepared to cycle round the world. Between 2007 and 2010 I cycled from England to Georgiathen to India, lived in Georgia and travelled to and cycled in Mongolia. I returned to the UK and studied MA Design Critical Practice at Goldsmiths. I wrote two books about my cycle travels (Weave of the Ride Between Worlds). I invented Wandermap which is a theory and project around psychogeography (including a guidebook called 'The Open Wilderness Guiding Book). My dissertation was a skill sharing app called Wequest. I have a website of ‘methods’ (design, research, etc) that I would like to open up to the Edgeryders community. I worked for a design startup called Stromatolite which created the Music Tech Fest Brand and Open Product Licenses. I worked for Viacom at MTV in Camden as a developer. Most recently I became Technical Coordinator of Joya - Arte + Ecología in Almeria, Spain and I also work on Georiderswhich is a mountain bike tour company and community in Tbilisi, Georgia. This is my personal website. I am interested in Edgeryders because I am impressed with the scope of the project and I hope to be able to contribute.