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The Coffee Reading #2

CT Curated by Ahmet Polat

Curator of this series, Ahmet Polat, invites us to the second episode of his pop-up coffeehouse The Coffee Reading, a series of talks in which we celebrate the tradition and art of conversation: listening, learning and finding common ground. On the 7th of December at 8PM, we premiere the second episode on Compagnietheater’s channels. Join as we practice the ritual of drinking and reading Turkish coffee, while we listen to the enlightening stories by our host Ahmet Polat and his guests: Ilvy Njiokiktkien, Malika Ouacha and more. 

In 1554, the first two coffeehouses opened their doors in Istanbul. They became social meeting places and soon acquired the identity of intellectual clubs where men from different backgrounds played games, debated, shared information and learned.

Polat explains: “To me, a coffeehouse seems the most logical place to arrive, to connect, to observe and listen, question, reflect and to relax at the same time. In 2019, I traveled to the city of Gaziantep with my father; the city of my ancestors which my father hadn’t visited for more than 40 years. He took me to Thamis Kahveh, the Turkish coffeehouse my grandfather used to work as a young man. Soon, you start talking to the people sitting next to you, sharing personal anecdotes and future endeavors. It really is a home base of some sort.”


For The Coffee Reading, Polat took the concept of the Turkish coffeehouse (as a place to come together and connect), and Turkish coffee reading (as a ritual to talk about the future and practice the art of conversation) as a starting point for the evening. As we drink the coffee imported from Thamis Kahveh, Polat’s ancestor’s coffeehouse, we go through the rituals of coffee reading together.

Meanwhile, we dive into conversation with our three guests, Ilvy Njiokiktjien and Malika Ouacha. Amongst others, we touch the subject of the newest #Metoo scandal surrounding Dutch artist Juliaan Andeweg: how is this a structural problem in the arts scene? And how is power yielded in the worlds of arts, cultural and education? What could be the path to a solution and healing? What is the role of the (female) artist in this?


The episode will be aired on the website, Youtube channel, and Facebook page of Compagnietheater on December 7th at 8PM.

Dit programma is gemaakt in samenwerking met:

  • Ilvy Njiokiktkien

    Ilvy Njiokiktkien is a Dutch photographer of Chinese-Indonesian descent. Njiokiktjien attended the School for Journalism in Utrecht and worked for Sp!Ts newspaper and ANP.  In January 2008, she won the Canon Prize, the prize for young photographic talent.

    In October 2008, Njiokiktjien won the National Geographic Photo Prize in the Human category. On April 10, 2013, she was the first to be named Photographer Laureate. In January 2014 she was the first woman to win the Silver Camera. She received this award for a photo she took of Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013.

  • Ahmet Polat

    Ahmet Polat is a photographer, director and moderator. Through his photography and fieldwork, Ahmet Polat aspires to build bridges between different cultures, identities and histories. After living and working in Istanbul for ten years he returned to the Netherlands in 2015 and was awarded the Laureate Photographer of the Nation the same year. 

    In 2018 he founded Studio Polat Foundation.With its innovative approach, the Foundation seeks collaboration with multidisciplinary arts, educational and other platforms who support similar ideas. Besides that they strive to connect to more people through the use of lectures and table talks. The ‘Coffee Reading’ is created as a format to have open and grounded conversations based on the old tradition of reading coffee.


  • Malika Ouacha

    Malika Ouacha is a cultural anthropologist and specializes in Berberology — in particular the Amazigh culture from North Africa, where her roots lie. She conducts research into gender relations, symbolism and many languages of this culture. She wants to stand for womanhood, decisiveness, unity, love and passion. She works with the Municipality of Amsterdam, The Jewish Historical Museum and UN Women, among others.

    As Malika’s broad experiences has taught her, striving for constant improvement and connection on a deeper layer is key. But it should be done by all actors active in the field. And those who don’t know how, should be provided with tricks and tools. Her aim is to create a constant bridge between actors that may seem different at first, but wish collaboration in the end.

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