Co-livingco-working, and hackerspaces are all the rage these days. So what would you get if you melded all three into one? An unMonastery which brings together a group of specifically selected thinkers, hackers, and makers to serve the greater good of the surrounding community.

The dearth of affordable housing has prompted all sorts of innovative solutions all across the world. It's fitting, then, that austerity-riddled Europe — a land where monasteries have a rich history — is where the unMonastery has taken shape. While it's not a religion by any standard, the project does draw from ages-old tradition. The historical role of the monastery in Europe involved a range of features, including:

  • A physical place – building or set of buildings;
  • Set within or nearby a community;
  • Members committed to a particular way of being within their home;
  • And to helping and serving the community that they were located in.

The unMonastery is an an effort to serve both housemates and the local residents "by enabling a process of co-creation and co-learning between the community and unMonasterians." Bringing new resources and sharing existing ones in communities where they are lacking allows for native solutions to arise. 

The unMonasterians, somewhat free from the burden of income generation, devote their talents to regenerating decrepit infrastructure while building resilient communities. They are culled from the Edgeryders network, an international gaggle of some 1,300 "citizen experts" who have previously advised the Council of Europe on youth policy. For the upcoming Matera 2019 project, priorities for the group include unemployment, the massive unused housing stock, the rollback of state-offered services, and brain drain from small towns. 

Applications to join unMonastery Matera 2019 (Italy) are being accepted through December 20.

Kelly McCartney


Kelly McCartney |

Having won prestigious literary competitions in both grade school and junior high, I attended college with a Scripps Howard Foundation scholarship, earned a BA in Journalism, and interned at Entertainment

Things I share: I seek. I write. I think. I roam. I listen. I care. I wonder. I help. I flirt. I try. I dream. I grow.