Art and Conflict – the case of Syria

Tuesday April 3rd, 2012

Art and Conflict – the Case of Syria

4th April 7pm, Dash Cafe
Rich Mix, 35 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA

Dash Café Arabic Series presents “Art and Conflict – the Case of Syria”, a panel debate organized in association with Literature Across Frontiers and Firefly International.

What is the role of art in situations of conflict? Can art convey the horrors of war, interpret conflict and reveal human nature caught in the middle of inhuman conditions in ways fundamentally different from journalistic reporting? How can art that responds to conflict empower both the makers and the viewers? These and other questions will be discussed by a panel chaired by The Independentcolumnist and commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in conversation the author of The Road from Damascus Robin Yassin-Kassab, Syrian journalist Leila Adnan, and cultural activist and director of Reel Syria Dan Gorman. The night will also feature music from Fantazia. See for more information. 

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown came to the UK in 1972 from Uganda. She is a journalist who has written for The Guardian, Observer, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Evening Standard, The Mail and other newspapers and is now a regular columnist on The Independent and London’s Evening Standard. She is also a radio and television broadcaster and author of several books. Her most recent book is The Settler’s Cookbook: Tales of Love, Migration and Food.

Dan Gorman is the director of Firefly International, a UK based NGO which aims to break down barriers between communities via the arts and education. Firefly International works on arts and education projects in the UK, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and more. Over the past four years, Dan has established and coordinated Reel Festivals, a project which focuses on dialogue through arts events. The festival has focused on Iraq, Afghanistan, and most recently as a tri-lateral series of collaborative events between Syria, Lebanon and the UK, and featuring artists from the three countries. Outside of Firefly International Dan also has worked on many community arts projects, both in the UK (such as the Forest Café and Roxy Art House in Edinburgh) and in Europe and the Middle East. All of these projects have the aim of increasing dialogue, communication and collaboration, while promoting social justice and equality through the arts.

Leila Adnan is the pseudonym of a Syrian journalist who has dealt with subjects such as re-occupying public space and expressing resistance through festivities and songs.

Robin Yassin-Kassab was born in west London in 1969. Except for six months in Beirut, he grew up in England and Scotland. He has lived and worked in London, France, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Oman. His first novel, The Road From Damascus, was published in 2008 by Hamish Hamilton and Penguin, and by il Saggiatore in Italy. He is also a co-editor and regular contributor to Pulse (, recently listed by Le Monde Diplomatique as one of its five favourite websites. His blog can be found at Qunfuz is the Arabic word for ‘hedgehog’ or ‘porcupine’.