Jonathan Bobrow

designer & technologist

Jonathan Bobrow is an award winning designer and technologist at the forefront of digital interfaces and hands-on play. He’s an alumnus of the MIT Media Lab Playful Systems group and UCLA Design | Media Arts, CEO and co-founder of design and game studio, Move38. Move38 builds curious objects such as Blinks, a board game system with a mind of its own. Blinks are a phygital game system and open platform for hands-on play with complex systems and emergent behavior. Move38 hopes to raise a generation of system thinkers.

Why we invited him?

Jonathan designs hands-on games in era of online world, which can really take a person out of web reality. These games offer not only good amusement for calm evening with friends, but also carry a deeper mission. The game has a potential to influence a mind of a person. It can provide better understanding of various economic topics or provide a solution to tasks from common life. Jonathan wants to create a generation of system thinkers. The life is more fun when you play games. (Nikoleta Moravcová)

Christián Havlíček

founder of OZ TransFúzia

Christián is a trans activist. He has co-founded the first and only organization in Slovakia, called TransFúzia, that is specifically dedicated to support transgender people in Slovakia. For the eighth year, he has been building the Slovak trans community, providing counselling, and advocacy in the area of trans rights, and collaborating with the media to improve the public image of trans people. His work is based on human rights principles and current scientific knowledge from the field of medicine.

Why we invited him?

I realized that during the last 8 years of TEDxBratislava, we did not have the LGBT theme on the stage, even though it is very discussed topic abroad. In Slovakia, this issue is still a taboo and many people have insufficient information. One of the role of TEDxBratislava is also to shed lights on the topics that go beyond the mainstream and which can help to overcome our prejudices. Personally, I look forward to Christiane’s talk, because he is a person with great knowledge and oversight. (Monika Ďurajková)

Zuzana Špačková

doctor of medicine

Zuzana Špačková is a student of medicine and a future psychiatrist who is devoted to break down the myths and prejudices about people with mental illness. She tries to teach people more about psychiatry and about the need for mental health care via her personal blog and instagram. She is a co-author of the destigmatization project ‘Stories of Fools’, which as a traveling exhibition introducing a wide audience to selected mental illnesses and the real stories of people living with it. She consider herself an enthusiastic sports girl and an optimistic idealist, who enjoys changing things.

Why we invited her?

When somebody tells you, that they are feeling bad, we tend to answer: “You’ll get over it” or “sleep on it”. Or my personal favourite “it can get worse”. But would you tell someone, who just broke their leg, to walk it off? According to statistics, almost every 10th person in Slovakia has a history of mental illness, but this topic is still haunted by predujice and bias. And these are the reasons, why we don’t look for help, even when we can no longer help ourselves. And this is why we decided to invite Zuzka, to help us look behind the curtain. (Karolína Chromíkova, Ivona Hodasová)

Florin Badita


Romanian Florin Badita, is the founder of Coruptia Ucide (Corruption Kills), a local civic group fighting corruption, which was founded after the Colectiv club fire that killed 64 people. Corruption Kills is an online community that now has over 103 000 people, and is facilitating the organization of the protests in Romania. He has led a campaign that helped to stop the decriminalization of Romanian corruption cases where damages total to less than EUR 45,000. He is a strong believer of the benefits of Open Data, and until now he has send over 7000 Freedom of Information Requests (FOIA) to over 3000 public institutions to gather information about public spending in Romania. He collaborates with journalists from Romania, doing data analysis and pattern recognition to uncover the patterns of corruption in unstructured datasets. He has been included on Forbes’ 30 under 30 Europe – Law and Policy list. .

Why we invited him?

People usually want everything right now. In case of building a civil society, the change needs to be built slowly and gradually. It is not sufficient to come to one or two protests. This is just the beginning and the minimum we can do. Florin is a prototype of a man who does not grump at the system, but rather tries to change it with many small steps. It’s a tedious journey and at the end there is no glory. Because the fruits of his work will be picked up by another generation. If ever. As he says, in this kind of work, your ego must be suppressed. (Monika Ďurajková)

Saša Uhlová a Apolena Rychlíková

journalists and documentarists

Apolena Rychlíková (1989) is a Czech documentary filmmaker and editor of the daily commentary She has been dealing with social and political issues in her films and texts for a long time. She studies at Prague FAMU, cooperates with Czech Television or Czech Radio. Her films are regularly screened at both Czech and foreign festivals. The last film Borders of Work, created for the Czech Cycle Journal, won the Czech Joy Award for Best Czech Documentary Film and the Audience Award at the Jihlava IDFF, and won the Czech Film Critics Prize in the Out of Cinema category and the Czech Lion nomination. For her posts for the Salon Rights, she was nominated for the Best Commentary of the Year award in 2017 at the Journalist Award organized by the OSF Foundation.

Saša Uhlová (1977) is a Czech journalist dealing with social problems. She studied Roma at the Charles University and devoted herself to field research in Roma communities. She worked in the Romea organization and then as a journalist at the daily journal Referendum. Since 2017, she has been editor of, for which she has created a series Heroes of capitalist work. In this unique project, she spent more than half a year in secrecy to study low-income jobs in the Czech Republic. For the series, she earned her publicity nomination at the Journalism Prize 2017, as well as the nomination of the jury for the Top Reporter in 2017.

Why we invited them?

We interact daily with the shopkeepers. Sometimes we pity them for their difficult working conditions. But there are far more low-income employees working in tough working conditions. These people are invisible to most of us. We do not see them and when everything goes smoothly, we do not even bother to remember them. Cooks, laundry workers, workers in manufacture, poultry etc. Their hard work is necessary in order to maintain our comfortable life, yet we can not adequately evaluate them. Sasa has decided to try herself, what it is like to live from a “hand-to-mouth”. I look forward to her experiences and solutions that she brings. (Monika Ďurajková)

Ahmed Elgammal


Dr. Ahmed Elgammal is a professor at the Department of Computer Science and Executive Council Faculty at the Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers University. He is the founder and director of the Art and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Rutgers. Dr. Elgammal is also the founder and CEO of Artrendex, a startup that builds innovative AI technology for the creative domain. Prof. Elgammal published over 160 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and books in the fields of computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. His research on knowledge discovery in art history and AI art generation, received wide international media attention, including reports on the Washington Post, New York Times, NBC News, the Daily Telegraph, Science News, New Scientist, and many others. In 2017, an Artsy editorial acclaimed his work on AI generated art as “the biggest artistic achievement of the year”. In 2016, a TV segment about his research, produced for PBS, has won an Emmy award. He received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2006. Dr. Elgammal received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2000 and 2002, respectively.

Why we invited him?

Advances in Artificial Intelligence are changing things around us. Is art and creativity immune from the perceived AI takeover? Can AI change the way we look at art, art history, and creativity. From Picasso’s The Young Ladies of Avignon to Munch’s The Scream, what was it about these paintings that arrested people’s attention upon viewing them, that cemented them in the canon of art history as iconic works? Throughout human history, experts have often highlighted these artistic innovations, using them to judge a painting’s relative worth. But can a painting’s level of creativity be quantified by Artificial Intelligence (AI)? (Nikoleta Moravcová)

Irakli Loladze


After obtaining his MA and PhD in Mathematics at Arizona State University, Irakli Loladze (born in the country of Georgia) moved to Princeton University for a postdoctoral work. There, in 2002, he hypothesized that rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) should lower the concentrations of minerals essential for human nutrition such as zinc, iron, and magnesium in most plant species. However, small-scale studies of crops grown under elevated CO2 failed to detect consistent nutrient declines. Loladze’s multiple grant proposals for larger scale studies were all rejected. This left him to rely on published data for testing his hypothesis. After ten years of data gathering, he attained a dataset sufficiently large for meta-analysis. Published in 2014, it revealed a pervasive and systemic downshift in the concentrations of essential minerals in plants grown on four continents under elevated CO2. Loladze’s research was covered by New Scientist, Nature, Science, Politico and other international media outlets, and influenced the official US policy.

Why we invited him?

It really never came to my mind that the rising level of CO2 in the atmopshere can have a radical influence on the quality of plants. We consider it to be really the information worth sharing. CO2 is the main cause of climate changes all over the world and we should have a thought about that. The outcomes of our current lifestyle are being mirrored to such aspects as plant quality, while plants are one of the main ingredients of our daily food. The quality of the plants influences quality of our diet. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for thousand of years, cumulates heat and causes the global warming, which has huge effects on all the aspects of the life. (Nikoleta Moravcová)

Peter Hartkamp

founder of the Democratic School

Peter Hartkamp (1961) was faced as a parent with the adverse effects of the education system on his children and has founded three highly innovative schools. To be able to do this, he has, over the past 15 years, developed an in depth knowledge of education, Dutch education law and Human Rights. Peter Hartkamp has been active on the Council of the European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC) and gives presentations on education and human rights in different countries.

Why we invited him?

When I first discovered democratic schools, I was totally blown away, and at the same time, it raised many important questions. How would our children grow up if given the freedom of choice? Wouldn’t they just play all day long? If so, would it be a problem? I think everyone who gets to know this concept is forced to re-evaluate their opinions on education, freedom, respect and responsibility. (Danaka Moravcová)

Niccolò Massariello

actor and screenwriter

The native Tuscan Niccolò Massariello has always dreamed of working in the film or music industry. After studying Audiovisual Communication in Pisa he continued the studies and got his master’s degree from the Music Industry Management in Barcelona. He settled here, started playing in a band and writes for various magazines, including the well known VICE. Currently he writes movie scripts and he is feeding his acting ambitions for the first time in his life. But his face had previously sold alcohol and milk, books about monsters, and articles about genital diseases. And if you are in marketing, you may have used it, too.

Why we invited him?

Personal data protection is like Lord’s prayer hundred years go. Everyone is highlighting it but barely someone knows what it really means. Then I am honestly fascinated when people upload their profile picture into some app just to find out which celebrity they look like and later they are surprised where their photo shows up. We need to realize the Modern age changed into the Digital age. And although it brought us many achievements, it can also steal a lot from us, for example our cyber identity. And all it takes is a little negligence, just like in Niccolò’s case. (Dominika Babulicová)

Viliam Matuška

the head of Stará Turá Railway Museum, train dispatcher

After completing his studies at the SOU Železničné, Viliam began working at the Slovak Railways as the switch supervisor and later on as a railroad dispatcher. In 2006, he founded Stará Turá Railway Museum and began working at the Railway Museum of the Slovak Republic in Bratislava, where he renovated several historic railway facilities. He then returned to the profession of the dispatcher and, in his spare time, he intensively dedicates himself to the management of the Railway Museum in Stará Turá, saving and restoring the exhibits, documenting the history of the local railway Veselí nad Moravou – Nové Mesto nad Váhom and guiding the visitors. During the reconstruction of Stará Turá station, he managed to save the historic building from being destroyed. He was twice awarded by the Life in Stará Turá Foundation for the preservation of history in the region.

Why we invited him?

Viliam is the railway man from within and out. I vividly remember, how he told us the stories about the construction of the railway line between the Nové Mesto nad Váhom and Veselí in Moravia, about the train station in Stará Turá, the way of organizing transport via telegraph and the synchronization of time at our first meeting. Later, when I got the photographs documenting his stories that he told us at the meeting, I knew that the rail theme would be great for everyone. Please, finish the exit and embark, the door is … (Peter Jančár)

Ján Tkáč

music teacher

Ján teaches music as part of the SUPERAR project, which merges children from various social settings (from well-established families to Gypsy settlements) through music and thus builds social inclusion and prevention of negative social phenomena such as extremism. He studied music at the University of Cambridge, the Comenius University, the Conservatoire in Bratislava, and the Academy of Performing Arts. He also studied philosophy at the College of Antoine Neuwirth and experienced various study stays in Europe and the USA (Acton University, Michigan and Witherspoon Institute, Princeton). He is actively involved in the projects of the Anton Neuwirth and Ladislaus Hanus community and cooperates on various projects focused on society and education (Domka, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, Catholic Charity, Stop Gambling, Pamätaj, LEAF, Unimak, Fjuzn and others). In the past, he worked in internet media company and also he cooperates as an editor with the Slovak Radio. Besides music, he has always been interested in communication, classical education, and storytelling.

Why we invited him?

At the elementary school, I considered music lessons as a free hour and time especially designed for a certain “relaxation”. The importance of basic musical education has not been taught by my piano teacher, and I therefore believe that Ján’s idea is worth of spreading, and children should be aware of the importance of musical education as part of basic education. (Peter Jančár)

Pavol Pokorný


After 15 years of experience in architecture, Pavol decided to radically change his approach to creation. Since 2009, he has been designing his projects exclusively in an energy-efficient standard. A wide range of buildings can be found in the portfolio of his architectural office, from interiors to industrial factories; from exhibition expositions to office buildings. He is an enthusiastic ambassador for wood constructions with which he celebrates successes at national and international architectural scene. His architectonic studio in Bratislava specializes in energy-efficient wood buildings. At the Faculty of Architecture of STU in Bratislava he teaches the lecture on family house, he is a lecturer of the Institute of Sustainable Architecture of the Institute for Passive Homes, co-organizes the discussions on Openly about architecture and he is a co-founder of the platform

Why we invited him?

(Peter Jančár)

Monika Kapráliková


Monika Kapráliková ballances between theory and practice. After studying culturology at FiF UK Bratislava she worked as an assistant and later as a scientist at a Department of culturology. On side she participated as an organizer of multiple cultural projects (international festival Divadelná Nitra, IFF Bratislava, Bratislava in movement etc.) and co-operated on important exhibitions at Slovak national museum. In 2010 she followed hre husbands career to Spain. But despite long distance she never stopped her research. Although visits to Slovak archives and writing were logistically hard to manage, she kept publishing. Her newest piece is a monography about barely known life and work od Ján Smrek.

Why we invited her?

(Peter Jančár)

Milan Kováč

Milan Kováč


For past 10 years, Professor Milan Kováč has conducted archaeological research of pre-columbus settlements in the North Guatemalan forests with a center in the Uaxactun site. He is a part of an international team that discovered the remains of a massive civilization in the Guatemalan jungle. The research team applied the most advanced laser scanning techniques using the special algorithms developed at Slovak technical university in Bratislava. This method allowed them to learn in one year more about Mayan civilization than people learned about it over the past century, which is why the research was also taken up by National Geographic and Science Magazine. Milan Kováč studied religion, currently is a professor of ethnology, leads the Department of Comparative Religion and the Center for Mesoameric Studies at Faculty of Arts at Comenius University. He established systematic study and teaching of Mayan hieroglyphics in Slovakia. He is the author of many publications, including children’s books, which are used in Mexico as a textbook for elementary schools.

Why we invited him?

We’ve been following Mr. Kovac’s work for the past 5 years and tried to contact him multiple times. Every year we received a reply that went something like this: “Sorry, I’m in Guatemala at that time.” Luckily, this year professor Kovac is in Slovakia during the time of our conference and I’m glad he accepted our invitation. To me his research is interesting by connecting multiple disciplines and professionals from various fields. It is becoming clear now that cooperation was a decisive factor in Mayan civilization blooming as well as its unexpected demise. This will be professor Kovac’s talk.

(Rasťo Geschwandtner)

Ľudové Mladistvá

folk-jazz band

“Folk Youth” was founded in year 2016 and it is an interesting new music project by the pianist, composer and founder of the idea – Martin Štefánik, merging elements of folklore, jazz, classical and modern energetic music. This fusion of seemingly juxtapose components comes out as very interesting in Martin Štefánik’s arrangements. His compositions and their unique style bring an innovative approach into traditional understanding and processing of folklore songs.

Why we invited them?

The man listens to their songs and smiles. At the end, he says, “Wow, that was something!” I love surprised by music. The songs of this band surprised me definitely! Mixture of jazz, folk and modern music is amazing. Composition, motives, tool cast are simply perfect. The cherry on the cake are singers who give “folk feeling” to the songs. (Nikoleta Moravcová)