Bringing together creatives, businesses and technologists, Maker Monday is a free, online event that focuses on combining the expertise of individuals in both arts and technology in a collaborative space. Each event centres on a particular theme and features leading speakers who deliver an introduction followed by a workshop. We’re thrilled to announce the speakers on Monday 1 February will be our Director, Piali Ray and our Executive Director, Sabra Khan.
Piali and Sabra will discuss how the current situation has impacted on our work and values, as well as our plans for new ways of working in the future. Bringing to life examples of our work, they will also explore the different ways in which we have integrated digital technology into our performances.
Director, Piali Ray OBE. Piali has been a performer, teacher and choreographer in the UK since 1982. Well-known for her excellence in these fields, she has toured extensively throughout the world with organisations such as Birmingham Repertory Theatre, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the National Gallery, the National Theatre and the British Council.
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. She has a strong track record of collaborating and connecting with organisations at an international level and continues to take a lively interest in the cultural influences and experiences of people of South Asian heritage across the world.
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 Awards in 2015 and in 2017 she was appointed as a Festival Director for Birmingham’s biggest arts festival, the award-winning Birmingham Weekender.
She will be joined by our Executive Director, Sabra Khan. 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 a Producer for BEDLAM, a pioneering arts festival centred on the theme of mental health, delivered by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, Midlands Arts Centre and partners. She sits on the Audience Development Forum for the Royal Shakespeare Company and she is also the Skills Manager for Creative & Cultural Skills (Midlands), managing key relationships with members. Through her freelance work, she supports artists and organisations with project development and fundraising bids.
Image: Amerah Saleh performs at Birmingham Weekender 2017, image by Andrew Fox