Replicating unMonastery: Pattern languages and unMonastery in-a-box

This is part of a series of speculative sessions, that need facilitators read more here:



We got to the second round of a nominet bid for 90k to build this, due to numerous factors we dropped the ball on this a bit but myself and Gaia are in the process of reorienting the approach, here’s some extracts from the first application we made:

“unMonastery-in-a-box supports rapid startup, running and evaluation of locality-based social innovation based on an existing prototype: the Italian unMonastery project in Matera. It allows for an iterative open source development approach to offline projects.

What need is your project looking to address (100):

Too much social innovation happens in small, disconnected projects and is disseminated in dry case studies that overstate success and downplay failures. Similar problems are being faced, and similar solutions often reappear.

unMonastery”, a current model of place-based social innovation, addresses the interlinked needs of empty space, unemployment and austerity. This project allows unMonasteries to be started up and replicated easily, allowing each project to be consistently evaluated with innovations and improvements fed back. As with GitHub, the project models will branch and iterate so that different places can learn from the projects that are most similar to them.

How will your project address this need? (200)

The unMonastery model is well suited to a time of high youth unemployment, a sense that traditional approaches are failing, and a hunger for

participative, community-based solutions to common problems.

unMonastery-in-a-box uses digital tools to multiply the impact of local projects, and encourages locally-tailored replication with consistent evaluation and access to existing expertise. By taking an open source approach to projects, it iterates rather than copies in each locality, with each repetition the model improves and develops in response to each place’s need.

Evaluation will be upfront in the model allowing for common metrics to be used across projects, and for the live-time updating of how each project is doing along standardised measures.

With a peer-to-peer ethos, it will  build on and develop a network both of ideas and people without the need for funding a central hub.

unMonastery projects will benefit from connection to others with similar ambitions and ideas, supportive challenge to the work they want to do, better evidence of success and measurement of progress, and a route to share their work and good ideas with the wider community.”

Key Questions:

-What can we learn from Github that we might apply to the replication of unMonastery?

-What are the base elements for an unMonastery in a box?

-What are the right tools for evaluating the success of the unMonastery?

-What are the pattern languages already emerging from the unMonastery building process?

-How can we capture tacit knowledge at each stage of unMonastery’s development?


Tech Skills

Strong understanding for evaluation models

Ideal Facilitator:

Someone who’s built apps, software or social networks. Anyone involved in starting a hackerspace.

Possible Outcomes:

-Initial requirements for the unMonastery in-a-box platform

-New ideas for how to document the building process

-Set of pattern languages for what we’ve built so far.

Reference Points:

1 Like

So vvorski is happy to

So [vvorski] is happy to facilitate this and he has years of experience in building software. I’m moving our previous conversation here, where [Ben] can offer guidance if needed. How is the approach of unMon in a box being reoriented? are there tech specifications posted somewhere or should this session start from scratch? (namely with the base elements for an unMonastery in a box? )

I’m taking the liberty, if you guys agree, to schedule this session towards the end of the unMonastery track at Lote, seems like this tool will benefit from outcomes from other sessions, including the meetup with the community in Matera… vvorski will you be present at the conference until Sunday (included)?

Yes, I will be at the conference until Monday morning.

Looking forward to this!

What should I do to prepare

@noemi @Ben what should I do to prepare for this?

Brilliant News

Hi vvorski,

Sorry I must of totally missed this! It’s great to hear you want to faciliate this session. Could you email me your gmail docs email and I will share 2 documents with you that give an overview of what we’re intending with this. Then at some point (i’m a little overwhelmed for the next week) we could have a skype call to discuss what’s needed in terms of prep. I’m happy to assist with this session and perhaps we could put together a short presentation together with an approach and core questions.

It might also be interesting to use methodkit as a methodology for mapping the project > particularly because myself and Ola have discussed producing a methodkit specifically for the unmonastery in-a-box kit!

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I ordered the methodkit for projects, looking forward to trying it out. I wonder if it could be used to plan this session.

I sent you an e-mail, did you get it?

Trying to get in touch

Hi Ben,

Still having trouble getting in touch with you. I arrive in Matera tomorrow, when can we meet?

Kind Regards,

Victor Vorski

in touch


Ben came in late last night and is unlikely for a couåple of hours yet.  If you come today, just head down to the location on the map.  We are flying around in several directions, but someone will be either around Casa Netural or the unMo location of a café inbetween.  If you cannot locate Ben look for me as we are having fun tweaking the Track two dynamics.


Open Architecture Network

This is an interesting project, open source architecture, probably there are things we can learn from them.

Session documentation

The session documentation has been written up here:


Please edit and add notes or comment on the document if you have ideas to add!

unMon 2.0 Terms and Conditions?

Replicability is an intrinsic component of the unMon. Conversations about replicating the unMonastery started before the first prototype came to life, so the unMonastery in a Box.

We should expect that more would be asking how to start the unMonastery. What is needed apart from a toolbox to build it from? Any requirements?

Some want unMonastery because they know of a particular building which is beautiful, others will start from the operational capacity, interest and support from local authorities, institutions, interest and willingness to participate from people living in the area, basic infrastructure or a capacity to build and maintain one.

The concept of the unMonastery is beautiful and inspiring, it does make people dream. Good to keep levels of motivation high. It is important though to be aware of the workload and dangers, so the initiative doesn’t falls into the same trap most of the intentional communities do.

Prototyping is a good means of dream induced disasters, as well as of building a fail-fast unMonastery in a Box.

”…through consistent prototyping it iterates rather than copies, and with each repetition it is intended that the model improve and develop in response to a place’s conditions.”

In a Recent post by @Bergamo-Hub @Ben mentioned that the unMonastery in a Box is not ready yet

However, the conversation with those willing to give unMon 2.0 a go is crucial to the unMon in a Box. It not only relates to unMonastery, but it can also shed some light of how to go about other ER projects local iterations, prototypes and remixes. It is important to start these conversations early. Discuss rules for iterations, so the project preserves it’s opensourceness, but immune from cascading failure, dilution of ideas and a general loss of oomph.

Less dreamy they are the better: let’s not limit the conversation to renovation of beautiful buildings on the hillside. Though, beautiful buildings I like.

Dreams aside, people with a good understanding of their local infrastructure and experience with residency projects, discussing concrete proposals would definitely be valuable contributors to the unMon in a Box.

Questions which I would like to bring out from previous conversations, while the unBox is on it’s way.

  • What a standard procedure of handing over The Box with the unMonastery inside can be?

  • What are the rules of replication, and what are the rules for changing rules?

  • Which processes can be established to allow test mode unMon

We can have a look at existing models.

During LOTE3 we had Replicating The unMonastery Session very nicely facilitated by @vvorski. Overall the session was about developing and implementing standard processes. Tools and rituals to run once established unMon were documented. Though, I couldn’t find documentation of one of the very important parts of the conversation which happened during the session.

Please, ping me if you came across any bits of information around this topic.

@ElfPavlik you’re suggesting groups for each provisional/possible iteration? I like the idea of having Edgeryders groups for it: it is simple. Though one aggregating thread for discussing iterations is important, so it doesn’t get spread across the platform, so one can’t see another. A new group, or an appropriate existing one? Keep it in this thread?

Is this what you’re looking for?

This? @k