Urban Connectors



According to the dictionary definition, “to connect” means “to join or fasten together usually by something intervening”, whereas that something refers to “the connector”, or the object doing the connecting. Connectors can range from molecules in chemistry, over electronic devices in technology to a person fostering connection through their social activity.

At TEDxHamburg “Urban Connectors” we want to highlight these connectors that act as the driving forces, whether they come in the form of tangible objects, inspirational ideas or innovative inventions.  We have invited the people behind these connecting forces and will provide a platform to share innovative ideas and connect with other likeminded connectors that are shaping our urban society - and beyond.



  • Paul Hilder
    Paul Hilder

    Paul Hilder is the vice-president of “Global Campaigns” at, the world’s fastest- growing platform for social action that allows anyone, anywhere to start, join and win cam- paigns. He led its global growth to more than 30 million users and 18 countries over the last two years. Born in Silicon Valley, has become one of the most successful social businesses in the world. Hilder is also a co-founder and board director of the network movement 38 Degrees. Previously he was the director of campaigns at Oxfam GB, campaign director of avaaz and a co-founder of international affairs website Hilder has worked on democracy, conflict resolution, governance and civil society organizing in the UK and around the world, including with the Young Foundation. He is the author of Contentious Citizens (2007), a book-length study of people- powered campaigning.

    Twitter: @paulhilder |

  • Sascha Haselmayer
    Sascha Haselmayer

    Sascha Haselmayer is the CEO of He trained at the Architectural Association and in 2003 co-founded (previously Living Labs Global), a non-profit association working with 82 leading global cities; leading global research institutes; and 1,200 innovative compa- nies with a commitment to innovation and advancements in digital services in cities. Haselmayer co-founded Interlace-Invent, which advises on science and technology as well as, socio-economic and development strategies in cities such as Barcelona and Shanghai. They have worked for the Government of Thailand, for several Taiwanese cities, and for leading global universities, investors and trans-national organizations.

    Haselmayer is recognized as a social innovator and entrepreneur through an Ashoka Fellowship and by being a selected member of the Clinton Global Initiative and on the Advisory Board of the UN Global Compact Cities Program.

    Twitter: @LLGACities l Website:

  • Katina Sostmann
    Katina Sostmann

    Katina Sostmann has been working as a product-, process- and interaction designer in an academic and commercial context. Since the completion of her studies at the Universität der Künste Berlin, Sortmann works as a freelance designer in the areas of user-centered product and interaction design for international clients from different sectors. She worked as the project director of design for ART+COM. With the help of interdiscipli- nary teams she realized projects such as exhibi- tions, representations and visitor’s centers as integrated, holistic productions. Alongside her freelancing commitment, she has been teaching and researching. She works as an artist assistant to the project group for interactive systems headed by professor Burkhard Schmitz, which operates in the area of tension between digital and physical design. Simultaneously she also works as a visiting professor at the CdK in Hangzhou, China. Since 2013, Sortmann holds the position as the design lead of IXDS.

    LinkedIn: Katina Sostmann | Website:

  • Jennifer Wood
    Jennifer Wood

    Jennifer Wood’s commitment to Holocaust history and human rights was sparked when she was fourteen years old, and the son of a Holocaust survivor spoke to her class about his mother’s survival. She followed her interests to Dachau where she worked for three years in the former concentration camp (also called a memorial site) as an educator and public historian.

    Wood is passionate about young people learning from the authentic sites, where the Nazi genocide took place and believes that supporting teachers in this work is essential. In addition to learning about the history, Wood actively explores how kindness and empathy can be cultivated as a response to: it should never happen again, but what can I do?


  • Katherine Zeserson
    Katherine Zeserson

    Since 2002 Katherine Zeserson has been the director of Sage Gateshead, responsible for the strategic design, direction and implementation of its ambitious, internationally acclaimed “Learning and Participation” program. She has a national reputation as a trainer, music animator and educator, having lead programs in a notably wide range of community, educational and social contexts: from pre-school settings to post-graduate and professional development training programs. She has taught vocal skills, music theatre, improvisation, elements of world music, commu- nity arts theory and practice. She has designed and run animator and teacher development programs for many local authorities; and has designed and lead staff and leadership develop- ment programs for the cultural sector, third sector and businesses. She has held several arts-in- education residencies, working with both primary and secondary age children.

    Katherine Zeserson is working towards a pro- fessional doctorate and performs regularly
    with the cappella vocal ensemble Mouthful and Human Music.

    Twitter: @KaZeserson | LinkedIn: Katherine Zeserson

  • Geraldine de Bastion
    Geraldine de Bastion

    Geraldine de Bastion is a freelancing international consultant with a multicultural background based in Berlin, Germany. She is an expert on information and communication technology as well as new media for development and advises organizations such as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Develop- ment and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Interna- tionale Zusammenarbeit on digital media and communication strategies. She also works with activists and bloggers around the world. Geral- dine is founder of the consultancy Konnektiv GbR. She also works as a free curator and moderator for re:publica, Europe’s largest conference on the Internet and society and other international events. Geraldine has an honorary position as head of board at the German NGO Digitale Gesellschaft e.V. and is an active member of iceBauhaus e.V.

    Twitter: @geralbine | Website:

  • Van Bo Le-Mentzel
    Van Bo Le-Mentzel

    Van Bo Le-Mentzel has a thesis: people would work more efficiently, more creatively and more innovatively if you free them from any constraints. What would people do with their lifetime if they didn’t need to go to work anymore for money reasons? In his talk Le-Mentzel will introduce the D-Scholarship, a new form of scholarship based on crowd funding.

    As the initiator of a movement called Build more- buy less (Konstruieren statt konsumieren) Le-Mentzel has started up a global furniture production (Hartz IV Möbel), house fabrication and even sneakers production with the help of hundreds of people he knew through Facebook. They all worked as volunteers and without any constraints. With the D-Scholarship Le-Mentzel is seeking new economical values of labor.


  • Jörg Reckhenrich
    Jörg Reckhenrich

    Jörg Reckhenrich is an artist and adjunct profes- sor for Innovation Management at the Antwerp Management School. He has a passion to bring the creative principles of art to the organizational world. He believes that we can unfold our creative potential better and become artists, working with other people, if we sense and shape relationships very much as a space.

    Through his work as a consultant, he helps organizations to implement creative strategies within existing frameworks. Recently he devel- oped a Creative Lab for a pharmaceutical company to explore patient-centric innovations. Reckhenrich is a member of the faculty at the Lorange Institute Switzerland and also visiting lecturer at IMD Lausanne, ESMT Berlin and London Business School. His book The Fine Art of Success was published by Wiley in Spring 2011.


  • Anja Fiedler
    Anja Fiedler

    Anja Fiedler detects food treasures in the city and shows how easy it is to do something good for oneself and for the future through food. For her projects - Stadt macht satt - ernte die Stadt (Food for the City - Harvest the City) and Apfels- chätze (Apple-treasures) she works a lot with children - who make for the perfect actors and visionaries when it comes to a sustainable future. Anja Fiedler is an artist, a cultural manager and a social entrepreneur. She positions her work at the interface of art, society and economy. Her credo: to connect different people in order to create

    new views, ideas and synergies. She forms new fields of experience and ideas that create an appetite for finding new manners of handling resources, a different kind of economizing and a new way of living.


  • Giacomo Pirazzoli
    Giacomo Pirazzoli

    Giacomo “Piraz” Pirazzoli is an architect PhD. He graduated with honors at the “School of Architec- ture”, University of Florence and then carried on research activity at the Fondation Le Corbusier in Paris, while at the same time practicing at Christian De Portzamparc’s Pritzker Prize office. Based in Florence and Milan, he designed several buildings, museums and exhibitions (some awarded and published) in Italy and abroad, often in collaboration with other firms. He was a committee member at the European Architects Council, on behalf of which he served as a joint project coordinator in Albania. He has been appointed the President of the Academy of Fine Arts, Florence, as well as the president of the Foundation for Art Studies belonging to the same academy. He served as the founder chairman at the iCad_International Course on Architec- tural Design at the University of Florence.
    He coordinated the national interdisciplinary research workshop Site Specific Museums and chairs, the think-tank which recently produced “GreenUP - a Smart City” cross-media research.

    Twitter: @GPiraz | Website:

  • Jennifer Aksu
    Jennifer Aksu

    Jennifer Aksu has a background in Theatre Science and Communication. With a background in the humanities but a passion for tough and creative accountings, she works as a production manager for the arts in Berlin. Though she never really played computer games - except for Quake with three friends on a single keybord - she is part of the Berlin based artist collective Invisible Playground since 2010, because there is more games than escaping into a computer. Invisible Playground designs playful systems that remix the connections between people, the environ- ments they inhabit, and the technology they use. The collective realises projects at different scales – from lightweight design workshops and playtest- ing events to elaborate transmedia productions, in Berlin and around the world.


  • Erine Gray
    Erine Gray

    Erine Gray founded Aunt Bertha - a search engine that makes it easy for people to find food, health, housing and education programs in the USA. Aunt Bertha’s mission is to make human service program information more accessible to both people and programs. Erine Gray is a 2014 TED Fellow and a 2012 Unreasonable Institute Fellow.

    LinkedIn: Erine Gray

  • Kilian Kleinschmidt
    Kilian Kleinschmidt

    Kilian Kleinschmidt has more than 25 years of hands-on experience in international develop- ment, emergency response and resource mobili- zation as well as political and regional coopera- tion in a wide range of organizations such as the UN and numerous NGOs. His senior roles include his current position as manager for the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, which is the largest camp for Syrian refugees.

    In previous assignments he served as a deputy humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, a deputy representative for UNHCR in Kenya and a deputy to the special envoy of the UN secretary general for assistance to Pakistan. The list of assign- ments in which he served is extensive; their locations have ranged from South Sudan, Somalia and Congo, over Sri Lanka and Kenya to Bosnia. Kleinschmidt is skilled in managing complex operations and programs in sensitive environ- ments and is solution-driven and experienced in inter-governmental, inter-organizational and crosscutting cooperation.

    Twitter: @KilianK | Website:


  • Dekel Bor
    Dekel Bor

    Dekel Bor, composer, guitarist and bandleader, is a 34 year-old phenomenon, who has taken the jazz world by storm for his highly original and captivating musical vision and performances.

    His long-term collaboration with legendary music producer Robert Sadin has produced an album entitled “Emuna” and an EP “Home”. Widely heralded by global press for his inspired perfor- mances, Bor has performed in major festivals and concert venues across the US and Europe with the elite of the international jazz world.

    Bor produced a new series of collaborations at the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He has collaborated with NYC star choreographer David Parsons, various pop and rock stars and the cutting-edge Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. In the past three years Bor has performed the music of J.S. Bach in the project “Bach Electrified”, performing at major festivals in Europe, as well as playing the music of jazz icon John Coltrane, with TV specials in the USA, Canada, Germany and Israel.

    At TEDxHamburg, Dekel Bor will perform a new piece with Christian Berkel.


  • Christian Berkel
    Christian Berkel

    With his distinctive demeanor and his characteris- tic appearance, Berlin actor Christian Berkel easily leaves an impression on his audience, whether through his multiple roles in cinema productions or through his role as “The Criminal- ist” in the TV series with the same name. He received the Golden Camera for his transforma- tion ability and his impressive enactment of the role of Helmut Schmidt in the film Mogadischu. Among an international crowd, he is known for playing side by side with Tom Cruise in the film Basterds by Quentin Tarantino. For his role in the German cult series Tatort Christian Berkel was awarded with the Golden Gong in 1998. He received the Bambi in 2004 for his role in Der Untergang and also received the Bambi public award for his role in the two-part TV film Der Mann mit dem Fagott. Finally, Berkel is patron of the foundation A place for children.

    At TEDxHamburg, Berkel will collaborate with Dekel Bor and perform a new piece.

    Twitter: @BerkelChristian

  • Tanga Elektra
    Tanga Elektra

    Tanga Elektra is connecting extremes:
    streets and clubs, ecstasy and serenity, dalliance and seriousness, complex melodies and hard rhythms, acoustic instruments and a loop station. Two Brothers. One Soul.
    Being successful with soul music in Berlin, the capital of electronic music?
    That’s only possible if you can trump it up with creativity and authenticity. Two brave brothers from a small town in northern Germany take on a big adventure in the big city jungle playing concerts from club to club and demonstrating to the audience how to dance and rave to soul music. The duo creates a unique sound contain- ing neo soul, electro and funk elements using only violins, drums and their singing voices.
    Tanga Elektra has played several festivals all over Germany, toured through Italy, Brazil, Switzerland and Austria and now the band is coming to TEDx in Hamburg.

    Twitter: @TangaElektra


9am - 10am Registration
10am - 11.30am Session 1
Paul Hilder Heart Power: the future of swarming change
Sascha Haselmayer Open, Agile and Empathic Cities
Katina Sostmann Designing an independent information structure for crisis regions
Jennifer Wood Be Kinder
11.30am - 12pm Coffee Break
12pm - 2pm Session 2
Katherine Zeserson The Power of the Stranger
Geraldine de Bastion Made in Africa
Dekel Bor Performance
Christian Berkel Performance
Van Bo Le-Mentzel Crowdfund my life
Jörg Reckhenrich The Invisible Sculpture
Anja Fiedler Harvest for the City
2pm - 3.30pm Lunch Break
3.30pm - 5.30pm Session 3
Tanga Elektra Performance
Giacomo Pirazzoli GreenUP - a Smart City". A vertical network to make the metropolis sustainable
Jennifer Aksu Breaking the habit - How to find freedom to play in public
Ryan Holladay TEDTalk: To hear this music you have to be there literally
Erine Gray The Impending Human Services Traffic Jam
Kilian Kleinschmidt Global Resource Networking - Connecting Refugee Camps and Slums with the 21.Century




Partners of TEDxHamburg are companies that believe in "ideas worth spreading" and that are innovating examples for their industry as well as for society. If you want a chance to connect to a world wide network of thinkers and do-ers, a chance to show that you care, that your company supports the biggest and boldest ideas in Germany, please contact Sam ( and partner up with us for upcoming TEDxHamburg events.

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