The Sampad Team

If you have a specific enquiry for someone in the Sampad team, you can contact them via email below or call the main office number on 0121 446 3260.

Piali Ray OBE Director

Piali has been a performer, teacher and choreographer in the UK since 1982. Born in Bengal, Piali first moved to Birmingham in 1982 and quickly identified that artists working in culturally diverse Britain would benefit from formal, structured support that would help them to establish their place within mainstream culture and showcase their rich heritage. Her formidable energy and vision led to the setting up of Sampad in 1990.

Under her leadership, Sampad has flourished into a dynamic, forward-thinking arts and heritage organisation, which continues to play an influential role in creating and promoting opportunities for South Asian arts and artists in Birmingham, across the UK and beyond.

Piali was awarded with an OBE in 2002, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Central England in 2006 and Outstanding Business Person of the Year by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce in 2009. In 2012 she was commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad to produce two large-scale shows; Moving Earth, one of Sampad’s biggest dance productions to date, and Mandala, the dazzling multimedia finale of the prestigious London 2012 Festival.

She was highly commended by the judges at the Asian Women of Achievement  and received British Indian Award for raising arts and culture awareness in 2015. In 2017 she was appointed as a Festival Director for Birmingham’s biggest arts festival, the award-winning Birmingham Weekender. In 2018 she was Artistic Director for the Athletes’ Homecoming and brand launch of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games event in Birmingham in 2022.

Outside of work, she loves cooking, reading and travelling.

Sabra Khan Executive Director

Sabra has worked in the arts and cultural sector for more than 20 years, as a Creative Producer and Project Manager.

Her early career saw her managing Women & Theatre and Nahid Siddiqui Dance Company, and she went on to gain significant experience within the intercultural arts sector at the PAN Centre and ShivaNova in London. From 2002-2006 she managed Birmingham’s major large-scale arts festival, ArtsFest.

Sabra is also Producer for BEDLAM, a pioneering arts festival centred on the theme of mental health, delivered by Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and artistic partners.

She is an Arts Adviser for Baring Foundation and, through her freelance work, collaborates with independent artists to realise their vision by developing partnerships and raising funds.

Outside of work, she is a keen runner and has recently signed up for her first Half Marathon!

Lucy Dwyer Interim Marketing Manager

As Marketing Manager, Lucy is  plans and implements all marketing, communications and audience development activity across all areas of Sampad’s work, ensuring that the company brand, profile and activities achieve a high level of recognition across the arts sector and beyond. Lucy is particularly focusing on retaining existing, and developing new, audiences in the wake of COVID-19 and adapting marketing materials in order to meet the changing needs of audiences.

In her spare time, she enjoys attending all kinds of live performances and festivals, exploring new places with family and friends, and trying her hand at baking!

Buzby Bywater
Buzby Bywater Marketing & Programmes Assistant

Buzby helps the team with in-house design and publishing, online publishing, video filming and editing, research and technical set-ups. He has worked for Sampad for around 20 years and his archive knowledge is often called upon!

Outside of work, he enjoys the outdoors, especially camping in the summer holidays with his family. He also loves loading up his bass and performing gigs with his musician friends in local pubs and venues.

Becky Woodcock Freelance Project Coordinator

Becky’s work at Sampad focuses on producing a portfolio of one-off projects and festivals alongside talent development & engagement programmes. She seeks to forge long-lasting personable and authentic relationships with artists, communities and partners, which enable the nurturing & empowerment of artists at all stages of their creative life, break down barriers and offer the support to reach their full potential.

When she’s not working, you’ll likely find Becky on her allotment or in the garden, with an Earl Grey tea in hand!

Sophie Smith Community Archivist

Sophie is the archivist for the National Lottery Heritage Funded-project, From City of Empire to City of Diversity: A Visual Journey, in collaboration with Birmingham Archives. She catalogues and makes accessible to the public the Ernest Dyche photography collection documenting the lives of immigrant families in Birmingham, from the first waves in the 1950s until the early 1990s. The collection covers a longer time period than this but her work for Sampad, and the upcoming exhibitions, will focus on these records specifically.

In her spare time, she enjoys playing video and board games, completing escape rooms with friends and being involved with the upcycling fashion communities online.

Emma Bowen Freelance Creative Producer

Emma is a freelance creative producer and artist educator delivering Tales of Together, an arts and health pilot project. Working with adults referred by the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, the project aims to support those who may benefit from engaging in creative activity in order to reduce isolation and increase well being.

In her spare time, Emma has a love of clay, is an avid gardener with two allotments, and can often be found walking in the countryside with her standard poodle.

Joan Durose Interim Finance Officer

Joan has many years of experience working in the arts and events industry including producing ArtsFest throughout its 15 years, working as the Head of Events at Birmingham City Council and was the Championships Director for the World Indoor Athletics Championships in 2018. She has managed many large scale events and festivals in Birmingham. At Sampad, Joan is responsible for the day to day financial processes of Sampad and maintaining  records of all financial transactions.

Outside of work, Joan enjoys going to the theatre, reading and history.

Ruth Harvey Freelance Fundraising Officer

Ruth has 24 years’ experience working across a diverse range of business and third sector roles, and has experience of working with household names such as Lloyds Bank, Birmingham Cathedral, National Grid and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, as well as smaller arts organisations. She is a natural communicator and especially enjoys helping young people access inspiring art. Her work at Sampad involves finding like-minded charities and individuals, to work with and to financially support our important projects.