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Are you a hacker looking for an island? A creative who is travelling amongst the new kinds of “monasteries” in Europe? An entrepreneur who enjoys working in the countryside just a few miles from town? Some of you might be experiencing these new life/work environments in the near future. Are you ready to change, not only the way you work, but also your lifestyle? Deskmag attended the OuiShare Fest and was able to watch the debate about this topic.
By Rémy Cagnol - Monday, 06 May 2013

Access to home ownership has become more and more difficult, and what we call the age of access, is actually more like a survival strategy rather than a desirable phenomenon. But here, in this time of crisis, there could be great potential found in new opportunities aimed towards skilled youth aspiring to find a greater sense in their work.  

Between the 2nd to the 4th of May, the OuiShare Fest, the first European festival focusing on the collaborative economy, has been a place of meetings and passionate discussions. Some of the talks were dedicated to Coworking, Coliving and the new lifestyles that go beyond the life/work dichotomy. 

New places for new needs

Obsessed by a sense of urgency and the immediate necessity to earn money, we often forget to find time to work on what we are really passionate about. “Today we need some places that offer intellectual stimulation and where we can feel like part of something greater,” said Nadia El-Imam. Nadia is representing the Edgeryders community and also presented the Unmonastery project.

Initiated in the city of Matera, Italy, the Unmonastery is a residency program for creative workers of all types. It is a kind of idea incubator, which like the old monasteries of the 10th century, provides housing, time for reflection and the ease and comfort that allows one to forget the necessity of working simply to earn money.

You won't find any monks here, but instead the monastery is full of project holders, answering to the local community’s needs. The objective is to allow a collaboration to happen between the hosts and the Matera population, which would ultimately make for a more livable and sustainable city. Matera, in a sense, is just a prototype and the ultimate goal is to create Unmonasteries all throughout Europe.  

In the same spirit of retreat, Antoine von der Broek, cofounder of Mutinerie, has talked about one new project taking place in his coworking space: Coworking Percheron. In this project, about 10 coworkers would have the possibility to enjoy the peace of the Perche region and also the nuances of the local culture. CoPass, another project supported by Mutinerie, aims to create an accessible network of coworking spaces for members with a single account.

These two approaches are in fact quite complementary. Indeed, digital nomads might need to be both mentally and physically isolated, but they also would like to travel more easily through networks that are connecting these "islands".

Navigating through a network of “islands”

In Lanzarote, Canary Islands, there is a peaceful place where your attention is not constantly distracted by images. This place is a social experiment, inspired by the hippie community and their values, which also incorporate the philosophy of hacking and address the question of the possibility of coexistence between man and technology.

This place, or more accurately, this hackerspace, is the first experiment listed on the Cyberhippietotalism platform. The hackerspace is actually a house that can accommodate a community of nomadic hackers wishing to spend the winter in the sun. "We must try to live permanently as hackers and rethink our lifestyle and our infrastructure," said founder David Potocnik. Eventually, David hopes to create a network of similar hackerspaces.

It is true that the dream that we all become digital nomads still exists in our minds and also in some organizations. But we must not forget the basic needs of people. “If the digital nomad feels the need to travel they also need to have a real "home", or a fixed base where they will be welcome no matter what. New initiatives, coliving and coworking, must navigate between these two needs," said Antoine van der Broek.

 Next page: How do these workspaces function

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