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Dash Cafés

Dash Cafe

Dash Café: The Cosmonaut's Party, April 2014

Dash Cafés are events featuring conversation, live performance, film and music that have run monthly since 2010, featuring over 700 leading artists, academics and journalists to audiences of over 10,000. Dash Cafés are a deeper exploration of the extraordinary and often lesser known ideas, films, books, music or performance that emerge through Dash Arts’ international research with experts in their fields along with the diaspora communities in the UK.

A shopfront for Dash Arts: cross-disciplinary, international, and carefully walking a fine balance between professional production and informally participative; asking difficult questions, confronting generalisation, and searching for new insights through brilliant artists and open conversation with audiences. Follow the links below to read about the over 80 cafes we have held since 2010.

Arabic Series | Revolution17

Contact us if you have any questions about our Dash Cafés or suggestions for future programmes.

View the Dash Café Gallery

Upcoming Events


Dash Café: Europe and the Velvet Revolution

27 November | Rich Mix London | £5 | Book here

In November the Dash Café will explore the impact of the 1989 revolution that caused the collapse of the Soviet Union, 30 years on. Through the prism of artists, filmmakers and writers from across the Czech Republic and Slovakia, we explore whether that extraordinary spirit of activism still exists today. 

Speakers include Tereza Nvotová, Zuzana Kepplová, Ondřej Štindl and diplomat Monika MacDonagh-Pajerovaand, who will be discussing the impact of this legacy on their work and whether it continues to have an impact today.

Tereza Nvotová is an actress and director, whose films include Filthy and political documentary Meciar. 

Zuzana Kepplová is a columnist, writer and an editor of the opinion section at the leading Slovak newspaper, SME.

Ondřej Štindl is a journalist, writer and award-winning screenwriter who also works as a DJ.  

Monika MacDonagh-Pajerova is a diplomat, author of The Velvet Revolution – 30 Years On and former spokesperson for of the Student Striking Committee.

This event is created in partnership with the Czech Centre and The Embassy of Slovak Republic, part of events celebrating the 30th anniversary of 1989.

Book tickets here

Previous Events

Dash Café: Earthly Wisdom

19 October | Warwick Arts Centre | £13 (£11 conc.) | Book here

Could indigenous wisdom be the key to saving our future? 

In the midst of a climate crisis, this special Dash Café brought together Indigenous activists and musicians from around the world. Sharing knowledge of our environment from indigenous cultures, we investigated how to be better caretakers of our world through performance, music, and storytelling.

Featuring wisdom from Ecuadorian Shaman Kurikindi, music from Mercury Prize nominated folk musician Sam Lee, West Papuan musicians The Lani Singers, and performances from Peruvian puppeteers José Navarro and Bella Lane.

Kurikindi is an indigenous Kichwa Amazonian Shaman. He was born in the rainforests of Ecuador and into an ancient line of Shamanic Families. He has travelled afar and spent time with Shamans from other cultures and nationalities to learn and share knowledge and experiences. 

Sam Lee is a Mercury Prize nominated folk singer, song collector, promoter, broadcaster, animateur, and naturalist. Sam traverses many worlds, challenging and pioneering folk music in diverse places and ways. His work expands beyond his two highly decorated albums to foster live music in the UK, where he has been instrumental in the explosion of folk in the last decade. 

Benny Wenda leads The Lani Singers, who play traditional West Papuan music. Their freedom songs sing of the deep suffering the West Papuan people endure under illegal Indonesian occupation, described as “Gently haunting [music]” by The Guardian.

José Navarro is a Quechuan artist working with traditional dances, music and puppetry, using shadow and marionette puppets to frame and reflect on current environmental issues. “Five minutes of bliss” (Origins Festival).

Co-curated by Border Crossings' Origins Festival.


Dash Café: Soviet Hippies

Wednesday 23 October | 7-10pm | £5
Rich Mix 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA 

Our October café for the UK premiere of documentary SOVIET HIPPIES (2017), an anthropological look into the hippie movement in the USSR, produced in Estonia in collaboration with Germany and Finland. 

Revealing unseen archives, psychedelic animations and music from the Soviet underground, the film tells the story of a vast yet unknown movement that looked towards Europe from the other side of the Iron Curtain.

Post-premiere, we hosted a conversation with director Terje Toomistu and one of the film’s stars, Vladimir Widemann, finishing the night with live music.

Co-produced by the Embassy of Estonia.

Imagining Europe

Wednesday 25 September | 7-10pm | £5
Rich Mix 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA 

London's liveliest forum is back just in time for Brexit!

As the Halloween Brexit deadline looms, we take a fresh look at the story of European unity, exploding myths in a heady mix of live music, performance and charged debate – with you, the audience, at the heart of the event.

Kicking off Dash TransNational Theatre's theatrical tour across Europe, the café will follow a workshop with European actors at the Young Vic, bringing material hot from the creative fire. 

Join us as we debate, drink and dance away the 11th hour of Britain's belonging in the EU.

Facebook Event

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Brussels – Whose City Is It Anyway?

Wednesday 26 June | Rich Mix, London

June’s Café took on Brussels / Brussel / Bruxelles – a city made up of different communities, languages, governments and neighbourhoods. A city on the border of two language groups taken over by the vast political and bureaucratic operation of the EU and struggling to integrate its newer migrant residents. We looked at the role of the city as a cosmopolitan interconnected hub and who it belongs to through short films, poetry and architecture with exceptional guest speakers and performers from Brussels and the UK, including writer and commentator on architecture and cultural politics Owen Hatherley and Belgian-Rwandan artist Laura Nsengiyumva.

With support from The General Representation of the Government of Flanders, Wallonia-Brussels International & The Embassy of Belgium.
Part of the London Festival of Architecture.



Dash Does Eurovision

Wednesday 22 May | Rich Mix, London

We did Eurovision, Dash Arts style! In a tongue-in-cheek evening about the 65-year-old song contest, we explored in more depth the purposes, stories and politics behind it. We featured performance artist and self-professed Eurovision fan Richard DeDomenici and expert and media commentator Paul Jordan, aka Dr Eurovision, who wrote his PhD thesis on the subject, and others.

Plus there was impromptu renditions of favourite contest tunes, by participating artists and very brave audience members!


31 March 2019 | The Gulbenkian

An afternoon of FREE live music, delicious food, storytelling, comedy and short animated films as we went in search of the heart of Europe. In a packed afternoon of family-friendly activities, we welcomed Victor Patrascan, Romanian comic and hit of 2018’s Edinburgh fringe, Nomad Folk featuring Cassandre Balosso-Bardin on recorders & Galician bagpipes with Nicola Barbagli on accordion, a great selection of animated shorts and Kitchen Tales, our mass cooking / storytelling project.

On The Border

27 March 2019 | Rich Mix, London

In the week that the UK was supposed to step over the threshold and out of the EU, we explored what life is and might be like on Europe's borders. We brought together Berlin based author, composer and editor-in-chief of Flaneur Magazine Fabian Saul and his Traces of Resistance project on the borders of Europe, alongside visual artist Mariana Gordan and economist Martin Sandbu author of Europe's Orphan, with live music from Lori Secanska .

Destination Europe

27 February 2019 | Rich Mix, London 

Continuing our exploration of migration to Europe and its impact, February’s Dash Café focused on questions of contemporary European identity. We premiered short films by the phenomenal Swedish actress and filmmaker Bahar Pars, who alongside Nanna Blondell, starring in one of the shorts, actor, writer and translator Houda Echouafni, and Tom Green of Counterpoints Arts, we delved into European migration today and questioned – is their experience different to previous generations, and what defines a European identity for artists and migrants born outside of it? 

Songs of The Migrant Worker

23 January 2019 | Rich Mix, London

Kicking off 2019, we looked at Europe through the eyes of its migrant workers. We were joined by Berlin-based German-Turkish novelist Imran Ayata and artist, director and composer Bülent Kullukçu, co-curators of Songs of Gastarbeiter Vol.1, which features music by guest workers and pays tribute to the cultural contribution made by the first wave of migrants to Germany.

We also delved into the legacy of the Windrush Generation with poet Hannah Lowe and Artistic Director of Windrush 70 Zerritha Brown, and explored its impact on contemporary UK culture with conversation, music and a DJ set.

Watch the video

Beats From A Vanished World

5 December 2018 | Rich Mix, London 

Our last Dash Café of 2018 explored Jewish culture in Lithuania and traced the impact left by disappearing European cultures. Collaborating with our partners, Lithuanian Art and Culture in the UK and Lietuvos Respublikos Ambasada Londone / Lithuanian Embassy in London's Litvak Days, we explored specifically how Lithuania’s almost entirely lost Jewish community continues to inspire contemporary culture today. There was film and conversation from Paulina Pukyte, artist and curator of the 2017 Kaunas Biennial on the (im)possibility of memorials, and Ben Lunn - Composer and Conductor, on the impact of Jewish composers on Lithuanian music, and the wonderful Dj collective Baltic Balkan wrapped up 2018 in a frenetic dance whirlwind of Balkan Beats, gypsy punk and klezmer.

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The Myths of Europe

24 October 2018 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

The rape of Europa, 12 gold stars and Turks at the gates of Vienna...Behind the present lies the past and behind the past lie the myths. In our October Café we looked beyond nations, politics, culture, history, and geography to explore the legends and stories that gave us our sense of Europe today. Illuminating conversation and surprising music, all delivered with the usual Dash Arts swagger. The event featured special guests Timothy Garton Ash, Katie Ebner-Landy and Margherita Laera and musical guests Bonnendis

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Art on the Brink of Brexit

26 September 2018 | Rich Mix, London  | FREE

Kicking off the autumn series, our Café in September focused on UK-based international artists and Brexit. We explored their current work and what impact Brexit is having on their practice and their relationship to Europe featuring theatre-maker, producer and dramaturg Miriam Sherwood, ThereThere theatre and performance artist and writer Bojana Janković, stand-up comedian and co-founder of EE Com Fest Victor Pătrășcan. The evening included excerpts of music and performance from Miriam Sherwood’s autobiographical contemporary cabaret piece “Rendezvous in Bratislava”.

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27 June 2018 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

Our Café in June explored the impact of the independence movement and increased attention on the complex Catalan political situation on contemporary art and identity in Barcelona today. Artists, filmmakers and academics joined us in conversation, including Barcelona-born actor Bea Segura, Camera Catalonia (Cambridge Film Festival) curator Ramon Lamarca, photographer Pau Ros and Professor Duncan Wheeler, Chair of Spanish Studies at the University of Leeds. We also screened award-winning short film Los Desheredados by Laura Ferres. 

Sámi - First Nation Culture in Northern Europe

23 May 2018 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

Joined by Sami artists, activists and musicians, explored contemporary Sámi culture, a growing awareness of Sámi first nation culture across the Nordic countries and the complexities of these relationships and their impact on the cultural and environmental landscape today. Finnish Sámi musician Hildá Länsman from Utsjoki and musician & Helsinki-based sound designer Tuomas Norvio created ethereal soundscapes over thick and sampled electronic beats. We were also joined by Nilla Lansman and academic and writer Neil Kent (author of The Sámi Peoples of the North) for an evening of conversation, art and performance. We thank the Finnish Institute in London for their support and award of the TelepART Mobility Support grant.

Europe's Kitchen Table

25 April 2018 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

Together with Italian chef and cookery expert Silvia Nacamulli and Tallinn-born food writer and anthropologist Katrina Kollegaeva, we explored heritage, recipes and food stories. We also tasted the delicious food our fantastic chefs prepared. Our in-house accordion and fiddle duo, Josh Middleton and Favid Lasserson, brought us live Parisian hot-club jazz and East European klezmer music.

Broadcasting Live from the Prague Spring

28 March 2018 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

In partnership with the Czech Centre London, our March café honoured the remarkable bravery and tenacity of Czech Radio and its journalists throughout the Prague Spring of 1968, and particularly during the Soviet invasion that ended it in August of that year. We explored the stories through conversation, film and sound recordings featuring radio journalists from the time, film-makers and activists focusing on the power of media to ferment protest back in 1968 and still today. The event was kicked off by sound artists Langham Research Centre who used a selection of Czech radio broadcasts and other 'sounds' of 1968 to create a new work of modern sounds.


28 February 2018 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

February's cafe featured the screening of Tomasz Wolski’s extraordinary documentary The Palace, about the Palace of Culture and Science - a building both loathed and admired -- and a way into a discussion to explore the physical and cultural impact that communism, followed by 25 years of life in Europe have had on Warsaw today. We’ll be joined by guests including artist Kaja Pawelek and Owen Hatherley, author of the brand-new Trans-Europe Express, a searching, timely account of the condition of contemporary Europe, told through the landscapes of its cities.

Lviv: On the Borders of Europe

24 January 2018 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

For our first café in January, we are bringing into focus Lviv in today’s Ukraine. Joined by academics and artists, amongst others Dr Uilleam Blacker from the School of Slavic and East European Studies, University College London, Philippe Sands, author of City of Lions and East and West Street, artist Asya Gefter and musician Olesya Zdorovetska (creators of multimedia project Fragments of Memory), we will explore the past and present of this city of multiple names and identities  - a city on the cultural and physical borders of Europe throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.