unMonastery in-a-box



Okay, so hotly discussed subject, often appearing in the abstract or as a place for divergent thinking - the time has come now to concretely pin down what we mean by ‘unMonastery in-a-box’ and begin to produce it.

I’ve tried to gather together an overview for everything that’s been produced and thought about to date, if you have other documents please add to the list below.

Why do we need this?

unMonastery since it’s birth has been predicated on the idea of easy replication, in order to give rise to a network of spaces - at least conceptually this thinking is heavily indebted to the hackerspace model. Hackerspaces replicate through Design Patterns this is a good way to go but a little sterile for the unMonastery vision.

In order to even begin to call our prototype a success for the future development and spread of unMonastery we need to unload, decant and further distill the knowledge we have generated in Matera about how the model functions. What we produce needs to be highly accessible, replicable and forkable.

What is it?

So, after much deliberation, I think it’s important we start by creating strong foundations that can thrive off simplicity - rather than the deeply complex intentions previously envisioned for a sort of Github for hardware/social space. I do think though that it would be good for it to literally fit in a box.

The Key Components:

  • Stack of Cards [See Methodkit]
  • Wiki [Capable of being printed with PediaPress]
  • The Book of Mistakes
  • The Protocol 1.0 (NOTE: proper validation of rules into Protocol is a long, brain- and computation-intensive process. At the time of the second unMon instantiation we can hope at best for a set of candidate rules)
  • Tech Stack [Software Installed on Raspberry Pi and OS image on USB]
  • Talking Piece

The basic concept for creating meaningful relationships between each component will be predicated on the depth of reference needed by the user / unMonasterian. Methodkit has demonstrated itself to be an effective store of knowledge that can be used effectively in face to face collaboration to build a project (also see How To Use MethodKit)

Since existing MethodKits have to date focused on gathering knowledge into one place for existing disciplines or projects, there hasn’t been a need for a place to store all the knowledge, since generally it’s easily accessible from a google search. For unMonastery this is where the wiki comes in - each card will directly reference a wiki page.

Each wiki page will contain at least a description of how we do things in Matera, with well linked references to EdgeRyder discussions and trello cards (everything useful in google docs should also be migrated to the wiki). Ideally each page should also contain: Design Pattern, alternatives approaches, Metadata (i.e how long was this tested for, who was involved etc), templates, related software, the relevant protocol/rule, relevant mistakes, videos and other pieces of information specific to each area.

These two elements will be the initial building blocks for the box. On top of this comes The Book of Mistakes and The Protocol.

In terms of the tech stack, @marc has put together an initial scope of what might be included. Principally though we’d like to assess and include a set of technologies that match the way we have been accounting, managing resources and communicating. With a view to lowering the operational costs for initial setup and reducing debate around one piece of software over another. Everything though will be open-source.

Going Forward

  1. Hold a meeting at 18:00 on Monday 23rd at unMon to discuss.
  2. Establish a weekly community call for remote participation - and establish an amplified team
  3. Following the amplified team approach use the top of this wiki to give updates on progress going forward and calls to action.
  4. 24th Deploy Wiki
  5. Aim to have a complete list of initial card titles by 5th of July, with definition of wiki format and accompanying content migrated.
  6. 14th Produce whole card deck in single sprint.
  7. By end of July produce single serving page to explain and easily share unMo in-a-box


Replicating unMonastery: Pattern languages and unMonastery in-a-box [LOTE3 Session]

Replicating unMonastery : session documentation [LOTE3 Documentation]

Nominet Application

Nominet Toolkit Notes

Initial Patterns for unMonastery

The Protocol 1.0

unMonastery in-a-box Methodkit working doc [Missing, will find]

unMon in-a-box / IT Infrastructure

unMonastery and EdgeRyders - Amplified Teams

ALL THE KNOWLEDGE REPOSITORIES: Google Folder / Trello / Pbworks

Materatown asks about some waste controversy

Sustainable Models for Creativity in the Digital Age

Maybe this?



Minutes from Session

This is an overview of minutes from the unMonastery in-a-box session run at unMonastery on the 23rd of June. The session was split between 4 core areas, last around 1hr 30min and was attended by elf, James, Marc and Daniel.

  1. Run through of history.
    1. Overview given of history in above Wiki.
  2. Overview and run through of proposed approach. Feedback
    1. James suggested the need for an absolute beginners guide to the unMonastery - 10 page brochure. “So you want to start an unMonastery?” in style.  
      1. For groups, councils and town halls to establish an initial understanding.
      2. Containing 10 key circumstances / conditions for an unMonastery.
    2. unMonastery Card Deck: Feedback
      1. Generally agreed that this is a good approach.
      2. Consider outlining a set of components and recipes that can go together // rather than strict you must do this.
    3. unMonastery wiki: Feedback
      1. Question arose regarding editing rights - who can edit?
      2. Should be ALL IN ONE PLACE
      3. Attributes and content for the template for each wiki page:
        1. Design Pattern
        2. Description (with anecdote)
        3. Testing Time, Where and Who / Contact Details
        4. Key Risk/s
        5. Mistakes reference
        6. Cross referencing [Large Links to other cards]
        7. Reference any and all documentation
        8. Alternatives / Recommendations
      4. Contribute to other community wikis so to amass reference points
  3. Software and Hardware, What to include?: Feedback

    This part of the session was focused on establishing the baselines in relation to software and hardware that should be considered as a baseline. Marc will be leading on this.

    1. Pop-up local network: RaspberryPi, Router, Satellite WiFi Antennae  
    2. VPN
    3. Open Energy Monitor
    4. Basic software: Calendar, Contacts, Project management software that can be run offline.
    5. Dedicated Computer/Tablet and Screen for a single device that can be used for the above.
  4. Next Steps.
    1. Set up remote hangout - Friday Mornings - Describe next 4 sessions.
    2. Deploy MediaWiki > Connect with Kasper
    3. Circulate initial list for card titles and encourage people to add to this over course of this week.
    4. Establish 2 sessions this week to contribute to the first iteration of the card deck, title and strapline are required.



Myself and Bembo sat down for a wonderful few hours yesterday and made the initial list of cards, we also discussed more broadly the framework.

The card titles we have so far are here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11ZB-DNGowb8r-8vAqCj2Wq4F8t3LaPF-6TGsxbC1c2k/edit

This is an unrefined list, which I encourage everyone to add to, if you think a different title is appropriate for the same thing add alongside with a ‘/’ - if there’s something we’ve missed that you think requires its own card add at the bottom. Don’t delete anything.

Right now we’re way beyond the number of cards we should have, ideally we should have 50 Max.

We decided to introduce a new concept to the cards, currently methodkit has process cards like ‘Prioritise’ etc. Rather than having process cards, we thought it would be more fitting to have Axiom cards, each of which can be applied to other cards to question the quality of the endeavour and whether it fits with the principles on which a unMonastery is to be constructed. An example of Axioms we previously built together can be found here from the sessions Cristiano ran earlier on in the project: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wyIje9lqc1oFF7viViN6Tpls3p0J50GmTbuD47_m-XY/edit - examples would like be ‘Everything is a prototype, reiterate, hack and improve at every step’

Moving forward, this will be worked on each day for the next week, the times are (which are added to the calendar):

3rd 14:00

4th ??? - Kei can you let us know which time would work to do a remote session?

5th 10:00

6th 14:00

7th 11:00

8th 17:00

By the 8th the first iteration should be entirely complete. In the following days I will go to Berlin to work with Ola to do a sprint on putting together the card deck and working on some Wiki related stuff. Once the card deck is complete (and also hopefully prior) we should begin to populate the wiki.

It’s a bit chicken and egg though right now, since we need the cards before we can produce each wiki page, as to avoid a duplication of efforts.

That’s all for now!


Open Card Deck Standard

hello. currently working on loose plans for deckon sometime early 2015. anyway. this i worth a read -> White Paper: Open Card Deck Standard // http://www.poszu.com/open-card-deck-standard.html


unMonasterian in a box?

I think after today’s discussion it became apparent (to me) that there are two paths we are treading: the unMonastery in a box and the unMonasterian in a box. Are these two entities inextricable from one another?


my take

I think the idea is that unMonastery-in-a-box will provide the (loose) framework within which the  (lighthanded) definition of the unMonasterian will become apparent. Yes, ideally, inextricable.


write a free/libre recipe !

FYI, the Movilab project (in french) also documents everything about third places in order to make it easy to identify and replicate best sustainable practices.

In the same spirit, a lot of people are trying to document and share social innovation as free/libre recipes to facilitate sharing of the best practices in the spirit of free/libre open source software; See this article: Open Source Recipes to Make Social Innovations More Shareable


Thank you.

This is a really great article - I had no idea that people were going down a similar track to us and having this overview is exceptionally useful!


Bonjour :slight_smile:

Very cool article @lilian! I had chance to meet Simon from Imagination for People last year in Paris :slight_smile:

I made a short post here a short while ago on Expressing Innovation (+ Linked Data Vocabulary), do you know by any chance people working on Assemblée Virtuelle? I hope they may like to pick up that topic…


Thanks :slight_smile:

Hope all the various groups thinking along the same line become aware of each other.

I don’t know the people behind Assemble Virtuelle, but I think Simon might do (you can catch him on twitter @simons_fr). I kind of feel your post would  resonate with some of his work.

Btw, I was with Simon last week, you should check out Unisson, the latest project he’s been working on with colleagues to enable projects built upon the commons.

Here’s an automated Google translation, it’s rough but might give you some idea. They are working on identifying and documenting bricks essential to build and manage commons (governance, technologies, contributions, sharing, legal, funding, mutualization,…) in order to help growing projects built around the commons. You might find it of interest.



Update on current stage of development:

We’ve produced the initial list of cards - it’s way to long right now but over the next day or so we’re going through a period of reduction and consolidation using a printed copy. The list can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11ZB-DNGowb8r-8vAqCj2Wq4F8t3LaPF-6TGsxbC1c2k/edit

In order to achieve some balance we’ve assumed that there exists 4 sectors which cards can fit into, which can be crudely summarised as:

  • Personal
  • Physical Space / Aesthetics
  • Outside / Local Community
  • The Idea / Narrative


UnMonastery Radio

I wanted to add here to the discussion on one of the components of unmonastery in a box, which is the last one - talking piece. I am guessing this is something to do with the manual interface of the UnMon in a box - that could be documented in a visual radio form about the activities and small discussions happening during the process of designing, testing and prototyping UnMon.

This is the blog I am working on developing since last three weeks, I am going to post my recent trip to Matera couple of months ago. However, the discussion behind the establishing UnMon Radio and what should it mean started from lote 3 back in Nov 2013.

Will keep posted on the updates on UnMon Radio … also share how it can help/support connecting four main balance cards …I would be interested how radio can be used to merge personal cards with ideas , that in turn are being mapped on some collective platform …


Keeping it real!

I posted it in reply to unMon mailing list and @Ben Vickers asked me to repost it here.

I would like to point out once again that we may want to keep

distinction between what we:

  • Experienced on ourselves during 6 months period in Matera (including

lack of something but then we leave it very open as: "We see need but,

we don’t know tested solution")

  • Fantasized, some of us feel sort of sentimental attraction to this

idea but we didn’t test it IRL, eg. Vow of…, Uniform, 200 Year Plan,

Privacy and Contemplation

It doesn’t mean completely ignoring our romantic aspirations, but rather

making sure we don’t get drifted into telling fairy tales!

IMO we do need to have some content written with decent amount of

references (links) to digital artifacts from Matera Pilot #1 before

deciding which cards we want to include in first edition and which not.

How about for now creating for each card a trello card?


just creating a new board: [Project] In-a-box

We could also try to keep an eye on balance across distinct concerns

(separate lists):

  • coliving

  • coworking

  • networking

  • culture


Since I did a lot of nit picking here, I would like to add

GREAT WORK Ben et al


Slow reply.

Thanks for reposting here elf.

So I’ll cover some of this in the update I’m just about to make but:

"* Experienced on ourselves during 6 months period in Matera (including

lack of something but then we leave it very open as: "We see need but,

we don’t know tested solution")

  • Fantasized, some of us feel sort of sentimental attraction to this

idea but we didn’t test it IRL, eg. Vow of…, Uniform, 200 Year Plan,

Privacy and Contemplation"

I agree fundamentally that it’s important to be clear what has and has not been tested, as you’ll see on the wiki template I forwarded the other day, each section has a place to express this explicitly, with contact details. However on the subject of ‘fantasy’ I have some disagreement, unMonastery existed entirely as an idea that we fantasied about for a year, it was through the construction of a narrative that it was bought into existence - narrative is a much more effective tool for development than rigid documentation because it allows the vision to expand and in many ways is what draws a lot of people to the project.

A fine example of this in respect to one of the cards is the 200 Year History session which we ran at LOTE3, which was by far the best, most attended and engaging session - it allowed many to go beyond the bricks and mortar needed to develop the project, bringing to the surface what it is about the unMonastery that draws people in. It also allows for a space where ideas can be more generative and enable those participating to embed themselves in the project based on their wishes and hopes for the future. It’s also important to consider that although some ideas weren’t tested prior to opening in Matera a lot of conceptual work went into them, like the uniform idea, I don’t believe the unMonastery in-a-box should be restricted entirely to the 6 months in Matera but rather span the 2 years we’ve been working on the project.

RE: Trello, if there was more time I’d like to take this approach but right now we have 2 weeks left to make a decent stab and compiling everything we know.

In respect to the division and balancing, we devised a similar schema based on; Internal, External, Narrative and Phyical/Logistic and within this reduced and balanced out the cards. As has been highlighted in this thread, there is a slightly philosophical question about what grows an unMonastery and whether we do ourselves a disservice in attempting to create a balanced model for replication - since we haven’t defined whether it’s the framework dictated by physical space and projects that enables the growth of the unMonastery or the development of the individual as part of a shared consciousness within a group.


Another Update.

So it got tricky trying to produce something that’s intended to be physical in an online doc, so we produced a prototype of the 81 cards that we initially listed. This set was then subdivided into 4 areas (internal / external / physical / narrative) to get a sense of where we were focusing our attention - as you can see there was a heavy bias towards the personal. Over the course of a few days we then reduced down the set to something hovering at around 50 - the maximum number is 60. We cut out very little, instead folded concepts into other cards and added them as strap lines where it made sense.

Since then I traveled to Berlin to meet with Ola to discuss and work on the kit. It’s been a really interesting exercise, particularly having worked with MethodKit in workshops and projects over the past few years, watching it grow. It’s especially interesting now, as it seems in order to condense the unMonastery framework into something as simple as this we’ve needed to introduce some shifts and add on’s to the logic of existing MethodKits, which are as follows.

  • New Knowledge; Firstly, almost all MethodKits are predicated on developing frameworks or checklists for an existing knowledge base (Gender Equality, Projects, App Development etc), unMonastery is different to this since it's not in anyway a part of the general intellect, it's new and unresolved. So in the creation of the cards there needs to be a corresponding archive and this effects the way you think about each of the cards.
  • Without opinion; existing MethodKits are relatively neutral and unbiased in what they include (although they have an overarching ideology that suggests knowledge about particular disciplines shouldn't be held hostage in walled gardens) - unMonastery isn't an unbiased or neutral space, it has opinions, approaches, politics and a particular way of doing things that you may not adhere to but should be aware of. Which has led us to introduce the Axiom cards so that each individual card can we be considered in respect to the values or principles of the project. Although the intention is to leave space for others to devise their own Axioms in each iteration dependent on how they wish to live and work.
  • Narrative Driven; the unMonastery upon just the utterance of it's name deeply embedded within an existing historical narrative, much of what we consider is through the lens of metaphor and analog. This led us in the process of developing the cards to think about how a group might sit down to use them, what titles, ideas and provocations might lead to the most generative conversations. For example adding a card like 'Virtues' with no strap line is intended explicitly to provoke a group to address something that is inherently difficult to reach consensus upon. But also to include items that lead to expanded and longterm thinking like the '200 Year Plan' or lighter touches such as 'Miracles'. In order to ensure the toolkit is able to capture some of the spirit and joy that we've experienced in the more freeform development of the concept over the past few years.

So what lies ahead?

We’ve very almost completed the first set of card titles, strap lines and symbols - the latest document can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ydAEQeMJSNGNFCuAgcJkjG3Iumsmc5Vram04kuqnu9o/edit#gid=0

We’ve set up a wiki here: http://unmonastery-wiki.mirelsol.org/doku.php

And I folded in all the thinking for what each page should encompass and made a template here: http://unmonastery-wiki.mirelsol.org/doku.php?id=daily_rituals

Now, I estimate that each entry will take the equivalent time for writing 500 words, with 50+ cards that’s at least 25,000 words. Fortunately much of this is about consolidating the disparate documentation we currently have, however it’s quite a task ahead.  If you’d like to help out in someway let me know!