The unMonastery is a social clinic for the future. It is a place-based social innovation is aimed at addressing the interlinked needs of empty space, unemployment and depleting social services by embedding committed, skilled individuals within communities that could benefit from their presence.

The Story of unMonastery

The first unMonastery opened its doors February 2014 in Matera, Italy. We successfully implanted the first prototype in cooperation with the vibrant city of Matera, Italy and it’s campaign for an Open Future. Working with Matera 2019, the we hosted projects including CoderDojo, Mapping the Commons, and unTransit, an app to follow the city’s transport system in real-time. We (the unMonastery idea) inadvertently activated an unexpected level of attention from others enticed by the model of life and work that we were exploring. Greater details on projects, people, and the community involved in the prototype are available on the unMonastery Matera site.

It is a non-profit project that aims to challenge existing dependency chains and economic fictions, developed in collaboration with EdgeRyders LBG over the course of 18 months. Edgeryders started out as a project by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, which after termination developed into an international, community-run social enterprise.

unMonastery activities moved to Athens, Greece working to support autonomous initiatives around appropriate technology, open workshops, and collective kitchens, while continuing to develop the model and BIOS toolkit. The goal was to connect all those involved in the unMonastery organisation and aligned networks around the question of the future(s) of living together.

After sitting on our egg after of incubation, the initiative transformed; we focussed upon the replication, deployment and expansion of the unMonastery plan. Whilst our initial hypothesis was that finding locations would be our limiting factor, the opposite turned out to be at least partially the case. Offers of land, property and resources were unexpectedly plentiful.

More uncertain was the level of interest from those that might wish to get involved.

We suspect that there is a little unMonasterian in all of us. Yet at the moment it seems that our idea was before its time and is now in a state of deep hibernation.

The unMonastery BIOS

A toolkit for starting new unMonasteries and evaluating projects throughout their development, designed on the principle that all knowledge generated by the unMonastery should always open to all, easily accessible and applicable to other initiatives.

The BIOS Alpha version was released at transmediale 2015 CAPTURE ALL on an offline network.