Following a recent call with Katalin, Jeff, Kei, Maria, Luisa and Bembo – and a prior loomio decision, it was decided that it would be wise to fix in stone the dates 24th – 27th of September for the next unMonastery Summit.
There are a couple of good reasons for this, firstly back in February we made a pledge of commitment to doing this alongside incorporating unMonastery as an organisation, which for the moment functions more or less as a time bank and legal vehicle. The connection and our intention being to hold an event as a milestone and opportunity that's open to all for collectively advancing the organisational form and ensuring a shared strategy between all those who work on unMonastery for the next few years.
Another motivation is to set a concrete deadline for the beta release of the toolkit, the unMonastery Bios and opportunity to give it a test run.
Perhaps most vital is to demarcate a moment of convergence for everyone who feels they have a stake in the project as well as opening up for possible new collaborations.
Now we've got a few options. We had proposed actually folding the summit into LOTE5 with this proposal on the EdgeRyders platform. Now there seems to be a deadlock between ER LBG having financial issues, and no clear process for deciding what's the best proposal for LOTE. Whilst we are still open to hosting and facilitating LOTE, we don't feel we can wait (with the potential for postponement to early 2016) our greater priority is the summit.
Location will inevitably affect the theme and how we approach the event - so please bare that in mind when responding to the relevant options.
We have 3 options and I wanted to outline the pro's and con's so that we can discuss further:
Option 1: Athens (Greece)
As described in the LOTE post on EdgeRyders, the focus in Athens would be 3 fold; bolster unMonastery operations in the city, work with the refugee and migrant communities in the face of difficult conditions and road test existing infrastructure built within our networks.
-Potential for support from existing partnerships.
-Strong network of connections which would likely ensure free access to a venue and accommodation for a substantial contingent of attendees.
-Swarm support for existing initiatives.
-High level potential for political instability, it's very hard to know what the situation in Greece will be come September (this shouldn't be a reason not to act, but could make planning difficult)
-Unclear commitment/priority from contingency of unMonastery in Athens to working on such an event.
Key question: What are the thoughts and feelings of those on the ground in Athens with respect to the above?
Option 2: Nottingham (UK)
We already intend to do an event in the city in collaboration with Near Now as part of the fellowship and the organisations support of unMonastery, this was intended to be a smaller event of 1-2 days lifting off from Quest’s 'Cities and Communities' specifically focused on Nottingham as a real and fictional space.
It’s also worth noting there are many interesting initiatives in Nottingham and would make for an interesting context, consider the luddites, Robin hood, the long standing biotech industry and the new ‘creative quarter’
-We already have (some) resources and funds allocated for this – including a well equipped venue.
-Strong opportunity for engaging new partners and participants interested in unMonastery (despite a high number of unMon people in the UK, there is generally limited opportunity for participation)
-Fullfils Arts Council deliverables for the funding we received at the beginning of the year.
-Strengthens our relationship with Near Now and could open interesting avenues for future collaboration.
-Accommodation might be expensive.
-We don't at this time have any intention of opening an unMonastery in the city, so there's a risk that activity and engagement would be restricted to an event, rather than building capacity for future work (collaborating with Near Now on this issue could ensure it's resolved though)
Key question: @mathewtrivett what are your thoughts in respect to possibility of this event in Nottingham, specifically in relation to possible themes, interesting points of collaboration and logistics?
Option 3: Gerswalde (Germany)
About 45 minutes from Berlin, a small village with a population of around 700, we have recently been involved in scoping and negotiating with a group who are involved in what resembles non-state town planning. At the moment we are discussing the possibility of taking on a building and some resources to kick start a chapter of unMonastery Germany (we'll share our last scoping report on here shortly).
-Potential to build capacity for a future deployment of unMonastery and/or launch event.
-Interesting networks and partners present in Berlin.
-Ample venue space and potentially plenty of accommodation.
-Funding and support is a big unknown.
-No one currently based on the ground.
Key Question: Who would be able to drive this and be on the ground in advance of September?
Thoughts, feelings and suggestions? We do at this stage need to move relatively quickly – if you can see other pro's and con's to the various options please do add.
In addition, some other questions loom.
-What sort of scale are we looking at in terms of participation? 40 people, 80 people, 200 people?
-Do we want to exclusively focus this event on unMonastery as a subject, or broaden it? Or should unMonastery be restricted to host and choreographer, similar to LOTE4 in Matera?
-What are the most urgent themes for interrogation?
-How much should the location define our focus?