Speak! Activism in Storytelling

21 April 19.30-23.00 h
Story-Line @ Lumière Cinema Maastricht

How do storytellers relate to current, pressing issues of today? What is the meaning of activism in storytelling and art? When and why do writers, filmmakers and artists become activists? Get inspired by storytellers like authors OLUMIDE POPOOLA (Germany/UK/Nigeria), PRIYA BASIL (UK/Germany/Kenya) and artist MISCHA LEINKAUF in Cinema 2 (EN) and author ADRIAAN VAN DIS and filmmaker BERI SHALMASHI (Amsterdam/Erbil) in Cinema 1 (NL).

On Saturday 21 April, Story-Line presents the event ‘Speak! Activism in Storytelling’.  The evening in Lumiere Cinema brings storytellers from different disciplines together on stage: writers, journalists, filmmakers, artists and slam-poets. They talk, discuss, read from and show their stories on screen.

Speak! will be hosted in two cinema rooms, with a choice for an evening program in Dutch or English. Check the full program below, make your choice and book your ticket.

Entrance per cinema room:

Normal fee E 15,–
Students E 8,–


Program Cinema 2 (English)

  • Interview with Kenyan-British author Priya Basil and Nigerian-German author Olumide Popoola
  • Mini-lecture on the documentary ‘Beuys’, by critic and philosopher Dana Linssen (Amsterdam), with clips of the film. ‘Beuys’ tells the story of the legendary, activist artist of the 20e century: Joseph Beuys.
  • Interview with filmmaker, artist & activist performer Mischa Leinkauf (Berlin), with clips of his work

And more:

– Slampoet Julius Schneege (Aachen)
– Sociologist and accelerator Theo Ploeg (anti-city Heerlen) reads his manifest
– Philosopher René Gabriels (Maastricht) on the importance of May ‘68
– Short film of The Nestcollective (Nairobi) with a critique on the western museum world


– ‘Symbolic Threats’, a film by artist duo Wermke/Leinkauf.

In 2014 artists Wermke and Leinkauf replaced American flags with white ones on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The film shows how the media and the public reacted on this ‘terrorist threat’.

Program Cinema 1 (Dutch)

  • Interview with Dutch author Adriaan van Dis with clips of his tv work
  • Talk with investigative journalist Claire van Dyck and filmmaker Beri Shalmashi, with video- and filmclips

And more:

– Slampoets Carmien Michels and Kevin Amse (Antwerp/Gent)
– Philosopher René Gabriels (Maastricht) on the importance of May ‘68
– Publicist Ben van Melick (Heerlen) on Pé Hawinkels and his poem hi-ro-shi-ma
– Short film of The Nestcollective (Nairobi) with a critique on the western museum world


Priya Basil

Priya Basil is Kenyan-British writer, living in Berlin. She has published novels as well as numerous articles and essays for various publications, including The Guardian and Die Zeit.

Her first novel, Ishq & Mushq, explored the journey of her own family from India to East Africa to Great Britain.

She is a supporter of the Control Arms Campaign. She is keen to be a more active advocate in getting all nations of the world to sign up to a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty. She founded Authors for Peace in 2010. It is intended to be a platform from which authors can actively use literature in different ways to promote peace.

Olumide Popoola

Olumide Popoola is a London-based Nigerian German writer, speaker and performer. She writes fiction, essays, plays, poetry and ‘hybrid pieces’.

She is the co-author of the short story collection breach, a collection of stories on the Calais refugee camp. The stories explore the refugee crisis through fiction.

Her novel When we Speak of Nothing was published in 2017 and is about the friendship between two young black men grappling with injustice and gender identity.

Mischa Leinkauf

Mischa Leinkauf is an artist and filmmaker and part of the artist-duo Wermke/Leinkauf in Berlin. Together they create interventions in public space since the 1990-ties. They climbed bridges, skyscrapers and towers and documented their daredevil enterprises in a unique way, celebrating freedom and the beauty of public space.

In 2014 the artists replaced American flags with white ones on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Was it a prank or a grave security breach? New York City was confused, the New York City Police felt embarrassed.

We will show their short documentary ‘Symbolic Threats’ – how the media and the public reacted on this ‘terrorist threat’ in New York City.

Dana Linssen

Dana Linssen is philosopher, film critic and film curator. She is editor in chief of the Dutch Filmkrant and film critic of NRC Handelsblad. She received the Louis Hartlooper Price for film journalism.

She will give a mini lecture on the film ‘Beuys’ by film maker Andres Veiel, about the legendary, German activist artist of the 20th century: Joseph Beuys.