A SOS story

A SOS story

In Articles — By La Scuola Open Source — 05.09.2017

La Scuola Open Source tells the first year of activity, from XYZ to the new courses

In the beginning of the century, after witnessing the social and economic changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, an architect named Walter Gropius conceived a school, in Germany, aimed at creating new professional figures to provide an answer to the innovation demand generated by the changes that were taking place: that school was Bauhaus. A place that would become a legend. It was born from the union of an arts academy, a technical college and a faculty of architecture. In a few years, melting skills and working on real projects, with the help of many internationally renowned experts, they gave birth to a pedagogical experiment of historic proportions.

We believe that today we live in a somehow similar condition, generated by the acceleration of technology and the sudden economic slowdown. We’re in a crisis, and struggle to see the end of the tunnel. The reason, in our opinion, is that the path to be taken is not linear. We should not only know how to move forward, how to progress. We must develop the ability to play on more dimensions. A cognitive agility. Likewise, we believe that the presence of digital in our lives is more and more changing our culture. All organizations are becoming cultural organizations. Every product today is, also, a cultural product. This mutation turns the “vision of the future” as a central issue to address.

That’s why we applied to the CheFare grant in 2015 (winning it) and that’s why La Scuola Open Source was born: we believe that our communities’ future needs new kinds of professionals, new spaces for social gathering, new ways of learning and transmitting knowledge, and it’s definitely worth trying them.

Defining concepts and directions of La Scuola Open Source during XYZ2017

In sociology, we’d speak of “collective intelligence”. According to the French philosopher Pierre Levy, the spread of communication techniques on digital media has led to the emergence of new ways of social bonding, based on gathering around areas of common interest and on open processes of cooperation and knowledge sharing. We keep saying: “Innovation is always social otherwise it’s just profiting from people’s ignorance”. For us, knowledge sharing generates a real process of emancipation and civilization, since it enables any person to serve their community, allowing each individual to freely express and enhance their uniqueness, while giving them the opportunity to appeal to all the intellectual and human qualities of the community itself, at the same time.
And that’s what we encourage, experimenting and developing best practices, starting from the co-design of the school itself with the triple workshop XYZ, in 2016 and with its follow-up, this summer, XYZ2017.

Il Manifesto Open Source, free experimentation during XYZ2016

XYZ is a research and co-design workshop format, but also a social experiment: the declared goal of the three workshops was that of co-designing identity (x), tools (y) and processes (z) of our School, by generating a desired set of output. At the same time, we had a second goal: putting teachers and participants in a condition where they could share their experience, both emotionally and competence-wise.

That’s our treasure: and treasures must be collected and shared, so that whoever will find them, will be able to transform them in wealth and abundance.

The first XYZ lab served as a foundation to SOS’ first year. This year’s workshop is defined as “Common challenges, connective solutions”, focusing on the matters that are shared by most independent cultural production centers, keeping to define shared objectives and designing and testing technological innovation applications connected with social innovation processes. The workshop was divided in three macro-areas: communication design (identified by the letter X), tools design (Y), process design (Z). The learning groups wereare composed by 18 attendants per area, designing solutions together with teachers and tutors from different subjects (philosophers, designers, economists, engineers and many more). Each macro-area has produced produces three projects, open and collaborative, already available online.

The workshop found immediate solidarity from the Mozilla Foundation and its #ChangeCopyright campaign around the expected reform on copyright law by the European Parliament. According to the Foundation, the idea of applying upload filters on all the content to be put online, would compel most online platform to monitor each and every multimedia content uploaded, thus limiting creativity and starting some sort of a new wave of prohibitionism against innovation and freedom of expression.

We’ll keep fighting together and a new joined event is coming. Stay tuned!

Freak Grotesk Next, based on HK Grotesk, all open source typefaces designed during XYZ2016 and XYZ2017
From XYZ to SOS

After XYZ 2016, we finalized and developed the outputs to make La Scuola Open Source the Open Source School a reality.
In March 2016 the school was formally established by a group of 13 people representing different realities, as the whole project reflects its multidisciplinary approach: strategy and design (Alessandro Tartaglia, Nicolò Loprieno and Carlotta Latessa from FF3300 design studio focused on social and political communication), marketing (Alberto De Leo, formerly founder of Proforma, advertising agency), hacking and video-making (Alessandro Balena), making and 3d-printing (Claudio Cesaroni and Chiara Carulli from Barimakers, Roberto Ladisa, Roberto Rinaldi and Agostino Pellegrino from 3dNest), co-designing and languages (Lucilla Fiorentino), social entrepreneurship (Giancarlo Ostuni), arts and scenography (Maurizio Di Luzio).
In October 2016, with Bertram Niessen and Federica Vittori from CheFare, we opened the doors and launched our website, together with the possibility for anyone to submit ideas or run courses and events. We also bought the first machines for our fablab.

In January activities started, with a free and open event about cultural hegemony, political communication, culture, entreprecariat, magics and mesmerism: The Empire Strikes Again!. To mention one of the several courses activated, in February we ran a very successful workshop on Process and Service Design, where students had to go through the narrow streets of Bari’s old town to develop, from total scratch, a service prototype that would solve a particular problem that the local dwellers have: you can read more about it on our blog. As an example of a successful partnership, we can mention the recently organized Civic Meetup, set up together with Pop Hub and the Civic Wise international network. Mentioning a bottom-up approach, in March we hosted an intense practical workshop on how Wikipedia works, held by an extremely competent eleven-year old guy, who approached us to get logistical support, and pulled off a memorable event – for the school and for his own personal growth.

Releasing nature in the ExpostModerno area during “Incontro Civico”

Throughout the year, you can always suggest a course or an activity that you would like to organize with us. After filling the proposal form, our staff will contact you to understand the logistics of your proposal, develop a budget for it and publish it to our community – as soon as the activity will reach the minimum amount of applications needed to make it economically viable, the course / event / lecture / workshop will be activated.

During last months we activated:


  • SOS website
  • 10 courses
  • 16 free events
  • Fablab
  • 2 prototypes (Asimov and Drinkino 2.0)
  • 100k engagement
  • 10 invites to international events
  • 5 co-living agreements

We are working on:


  • debugging
  • publications
  • data viz
  • community engagement
  • partnerships with schools and universities
  • network of independent community hubs
  • SOS platform and membership
  • research projects
Next steps

We’re moving!
Yes… it’s happening.

The Polytechnic, who hosted our project in its building in the old town of Bari, asked us to leave. So we’re moving to a Laboratorio Urbano, “Officina degli Esordi” for the next months. We’ll have our space and spaces to share with the realities (cultural and educational associations, even a DIY bike repair space) also living the place.
We – of course – won’t surrender: we’ll apply for another facility near Isolato 47.

Finally, there’s still time – until September 10th! – to enroll to the next courses scheduled.

We’ll start from here: #modular #fashion, #near #future, #sound #art, #euro #planning, #start-up, #hacking #type, #urban #co-design, #benefit #corporation, #arduino.
All courses are on our website.

So new headquarter and new challenges to start our second year of activity: following the logic that there is never a final result, just a never-ending succession of phases. So we just can’t wait for September to start. YARR!

The Jolly Roger, the iconic pirate flag adopted by the pirates of La Scuola Open Source


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