Frequently Asked Questions

about school of machines
What kind of students are you looking for?

The curious and inquisitive kind, creative people or the kind of people who yearn to be creative. We also really like nice people and those who enjoy helping others and sharing knowledge. Hi-five if this sounds like you! More specifically, we'd love to find people ready to experiment, to dream up new ideas and to learn the skills to make these ideas come to life.

Technology has been advancing quickly. The things we're able to learn now weren't available back in the day. We're excited for people who've already started down a path that no longer fits them to join us, and push their own unique, creative ideas forward into the future. In short, openness, the ability to work well with others, enthusiasm, and positivity are all traits we look for in potential students.

Our four week programs are full-time, which means they run from approximately 10am--7pm each day, with an hour break for lunch. Sometimes we'll have guest speakers and in the afternoons you can take advantage of open lab time or to explore the city a bit, as you see fit.

Lately, we've been encouraging students to use Fridays as a chance to share knowledge and skills with each other and it's been brilliant. In general, our programs are a mix of lectures, labs, artist talks, field trips, plus lots of time to experiment and create. It's intensive but will probably be one of the most freeing, creative, and productive times of your life.

No, but you can! For most of our programs, we don't expect any prior knowledge but if you do have some, you may be able to push yourself further much faster. We have some really great instructors and no doubt you will learn a lot from them and from the other students, regardless of your current skill level. This is not about being the smartest, it's about learning to expose your creative innards to the world in your own unique way and working with new tools and people who can help make it happen.

Our summer programs, for which we are currently taking applications, will all take place in Berlin, Germany, our home base. We love to take our programs abroad though, and had courses running in Shanghai and Shenzhen, China and Galway, Ireland this year!

We would like our students to leave the month-long courses activated; not only equipped with technical and hands-on tools and skill sets, but also more critically-minded and engaged with their surroundings. By committing to a four-week program, you will create space for meaningful engagement with the technologies we will work with and you will have time for deeper interactions with your teachers and colleagues, with occasions to work collaboratively and learn from one another.

An assortment of individuals (artists, designers, technologists, makers and researchers) come to us to develop their skills, portfolios and project ideas. There is a great opportunity to expand your fields of knowledge and build towards a more interdisciplinary practice. We also allow students who don’t have any previous experience to apply, as we believe that the formative qualities of what makes us each distinctive humans, including our personal  experiences, beliefs and curiosity, can all contribute to a unique collaborative learning environment.

Lovely! The admissions process works like this: Once you've applied to School, your application will be reviewed within a few days. You'll receive an e-mail from us and we'll schedule an online call. The call is a chance for us to get to know each other and for you to ask questions about the program. We aim to let you know whether we can offer you a place in the School within a week after your interview. If so, at that point, we'll then ask that you pay a deposit (30% of the program cost) to confirm your participation. This rolling admissions process is intended to make it easier for those of you travelling from abroad and needing to make plans and travel arrangements well in advance.

Currently, our scholarship applications are closed. We were happy to offer 21 full tuition scholarships for the 2019 programs. We typically put out a call for all scholarship places in December, so please join our newsletter or follow us on social media to stay up to date.

We are happy to provide all students who have been accepted into one of our programs a letter of confirmation to help secure any grants that might cover the cost of the program.

Most of our programs do require a full-time commitment and we're looking for people who can dedicate themselves to it. We've all taken two day courses and shorter programs. If we learn something but don't have time to use those skills, we easily forget.

If you have to do some part-time work on the side, we completely understand. It's just that you'll be able to get more out of the program if you're able to set your work aside for evenings and weekends. We believe in full-immersion so that the new things you learn will stick with you. Our hope for you is that once you leave you'll be armed with a new concrete toolset and can quite easily dream up new ideas and actually know how to turn those ideas into tangible reality.

Sure, we would be happy to help. Accomodation should not be an issue. A monthly room rental in Berlin should be between €400 - €600, depending on the kind of room and area.

Students send in 30% of the program fee as a deposit within one week of being accepted in a program. Full fee is due a week before class begins. You may cancel anytime before class begins and receive a refund less 50% of your deposit. Note: No refunds once class has begun.

If you are selected to attend the School, we will send you an official letter of participation, but we don't have the capacity to help much more than that. That being said, if you will require a visa, send us an email and we'll make reviewing your application a priority: info@schoolofma.org

The tuition covers tuition fee, in-class materials, use of space, and professional mentorship.

The tuition does not cover accommodation or travel costs.

Currently we're funded primarily through student fees. All the money we receive goes entirely back into the School to pay for our wonderful facilities, brilliant instructors, admin, taxes, etc.

This is a grassroots program driven only by passion and a belief in the power of art, technology, and education as an inevitable force for creating positive social change. While we do have a fiscal sponsor, OpenTechSchool e.V., we're currently in the process of establishing ourselves as a legal non-profit entity.

We have had successful partners in the past, whether with fablabs as part of a specific program or institutions outside of Berlin that have allowed us to hold curated programs abroad. We also accept sponsors that are a good fit for the School. We are more than happy to speak with any potential partners and sponsors--if you have an idea, please reach out and share it! All emails about the School can go to info@schoolofma.org

We try to keep the costs down as much as humanly possible! That being said, you're not just paying for classes. The money is being used for materials and to allow an amazing community of people to come together, all of whom are passionate about dreaming up ideas and seeing how far they can push the technology, the creativity, and themselves. It's a unique opportunity to collaborate with and learn from everyone participating and to create something amazing from nothing. Even in a parallel universe I think it would cost just as much, if not more than what we're charging! But good luck getting a cheap ticket to that place.

All of our programs are held in English and all applicants should be comfortable learning and conversing in English. While we require no proof of English language proficiency, we want to make sure students are learning in an environment in which they are easily understood and can learn the program topic with ease. We encourage applicants to take this into consideration. 

Well, for the most part that would be me, Rachel Uwa, although this year my team has grown and I always have a lovely band of cohorts by way of former students to experiment and do cool things with via the School.

Over 5 years ago, I participated in some amazing programs in NYC, namely ITP Camp and School for Poetic Computation. SFPC clarified a lot and gave me direction which I can't thank them enough for! Zach, Amit, Taeyoon, Jen and the first class of SFPC were a huge inspiration and I will always try to live up to that in whatever it is the School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe becomes!

I wanted to bring similar kinds of experiences to Europe and the rest of the world. And I am! Honestly, I was thinking about something like this even before then. Participating in those programs just helped me solidify in my mind what I want to do for the rest of my life: explore art, creative technologies, and being human while helping others do the same! I'm in Berlin, and easy to find. Come join me!