Guests enjoying the EyeEm TOA Satellite event in 2016

Satellites of love: putting Berlin’s community at the heart of TOA

  • TOA’s Satellite unique events mean that there is the perfect event for everyone, everywhere in Berlin during TOA
  • “We’re bringing people together from different walks of life, and they’re making interesting things and sticking together. That’s cool — and that’s exactly what TOA is about!”
  • TOA is the inspirational heart of a city pulsing with hundreds of exciting events — join us in Berlin in July!

Last week, we chatted to the TOA Content Team — the people who find the speakers that make TOA’s main event so incredible. This week, we meet the team who coordinate TOA’s huge, incredibly varied Satellites programme — and find out exactly why these events should be in your orbit…

TOA’s always been about community — it was Europe’s first crowd-funded festival after all — so connecting with the many, not the few, is central to what makes TOA, TOA. Our Satellite events mean that everyone can get their fingers dirty and join in — and our Satellites Team are your trusted guides, curating fascinating experiences all over Berlin! Oh yeah — and almost all of them are free, and open to anyone.

It turns out that working on the TOA Satellites Team is a brain-expanding experience. The process of digging out hundreds of fascinating events, and then helping them blossom into life, means that Laura, Reem and Roberto have quickly become experts in the myriad learning opportunities on offer in Berlin.

Their job is to arrange a few amazing days of dizzying variety.

Here’s the briefest of glimpses of what awaits in mid-July: maybe the hair-raising thrills of a “High Voltage Plasma Installation” appeals to you, or you can explore how Pokemon Go has turbo-charged our journey to an Augmented Reality future, or perhaps you simply want to better understand the groundbreaking benefits of Blockchain Smart Contracts.

Whatever your technological niche, kink, or wrinkle, there will be nearly 200 events to scratch that itch — and it’s all happening between Tuesday 11th and Friday 14th July.

Head of Satellites, Laura Cuttiford, sums up the fundamental strength of these events:

“TOA Satellite events are all about bringing the incredibly diverse Berlin community together. They’re open to anyone and everyone who’d like to be a part of a tech (and art, and music, and science…!) takeover of Berlin.

“We’re working with an incredible selection of different communities, from women in tech, tech in Africa, to integrating refugees into the community through tech. Even if you think you’re not a ‘tech person” there is something for you — that’s the coolest part of these Satellite events.”

Roberto and Reem from TOA’s Satellites Team

TOA’s Satellite events don’t just showcase existing ideas.

On one hand, it’s a chance for startups, researchers, and artists to fling open their doors so that the wider world can step inside and learn what goes on inside.

But the Satellites also provide a unique opportunity to help bring brand new ideas to life by putting together new groups of people and stirring the creative stew. And this is where the Satellite Team’s job gets really interesting…

Laura explains how, by carefully curating the events and by linking one group to another, the deeper and more meaningful idea behind the Satellite programme emerges:

“By connecting the dots across the different Satellites, communities begin to form and intersect through creativity, innovation and discovery. The outcome is truly phenomenal!“

As a result, new communities arise out of TOA’s satellites — groups that live and breathe after the July festival finishes.

For Reem, this is an unexpected and happy outcome.

“As we’ve been organising this year’s events, I’ve spoken to people who are creating cool satellite events in collaboration with people they met at previous TOA satellite events! So we’re bringing people together from different walks of life and disciplines, and they’re making interesting things and sticking together. That’s cool — and that’s exactly what TOA is about!”

Roberto’s idea of a perfect Satellite event is something that creates excitement and unity:

“I’d like to see an interactive gathering that brings together creativity, innovation and discovery, that’s accessible to all. Not everyone can attend the main TOA event at the Funkhaus, for all sorts of reasons — but satellites allow everyone to jump in and be involved with something extraordinary and unique.”

Ultimately, Satellite events are the physical embodiment of TOA’s interdisciplinary, community-focussed ethos.

And Reem wants to help organise a series of unexpected events to spread this ethos to every corner of Berlin:

“I really love building a new overlap between two disparate and seemingly unconnected communities, so I want to see Satellite partners explore their wildest ideas when hosting a Satellite. Whatever they’re thinking of, I try to help them think of the biggest, most exciting version of their event!”

There will be 200+ unique Satellite Events all across Berlin, so whether you’re heading to the main TOA Festival or simply interested in a few of the most intriguing and far-flung events, we’d love to see you there.

Check out the ever-growing line-up and sign up to events here — and if you want to host a Satellite Event yourself, a very enthusiastic team awaits your email

Originally published at on May 3, 2017.

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