The story of Sampad begins in 1988 when Piali Ray OBE recognised the need for a dedicated platform to showcase the richness and diversity of South Asian arts in the UK. Her vision was to create an organisation that would provide a platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their talents and engage with diverse audiences. With the support of a group of like-minded artists and community leaders, Piali established Sampad as a voluntary organisation, working from a small office in Handsworth, Birmingham.
In its early years, Sampad focused on organising workshops, performances, and cultural events aimed at promoting a deeper understanding and appreciation of South Asian arts and heritage. Over time, the organisation expanded its reach, forging partnerships with local authorities, national arts bodies, and international organisations to showcase the best of South Asian arts and culture to a wider audience.
One of the key milestones in Sampad’s journey was the establishment of the Sampad Arts Trust in 1990. The trust aimed to promote South Asian arts and culture by providing grants to individuals and organisations. In 1993 Sampad established its own dance department aimed at promoting and preserving traditional and contemporary South Asian dance forms and to provide a platform for emerging and established dancers to showcase their talents. Sampad has since gone on to organise numerous successful dance productions and collaborated with artists and organisations from around the world.
One of the most successful projects spearheaded by Sampad was the development of the ‘Dance Dialogue’ project in 2005. The project aimed to promote cross-cultural understanding and collaboration between South Asian and Western dance forms. It involved a series of workshops, performances, and collaborations between artists from both cultures, and culminated in a successful production at the Royal Opera House in London.
In 2020, Sampad celebrated its 30th anniversary, a testament to the dedication and hard work of Piali Ray OBE and the organisation’s staff, volunteers, and trustees. Throughout its journey, Sampad has been committed to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and social cohesion through the arts. The organisation’s education and outreach programs have touched the lives of thousands of people, inspiring creativity, and fostering cross-cultural understanding.
Sampad’s commitment to promoting South Asian arts and culture, fostering creativity and inclusivity, and building bridges between communities remains as strong today as it was when the organisation was first established over thirty years ago.