Sampad was founded in 1990, under the directorship of Piali Ray OBE. The arts organisation was established to strengthen the infrastructure of South Asian arts in the West Midlands and Birmingham region. Due to Director Piali Ray’s background as a dancer, this south Asian arts development agency has retained its strengths in dance, however its current remit is much wider, covering cross art forms of music, theatre, crafts and literature within education and community environments.
Since its inception fourteen years ago, Sampad has grown into one of the UK’s leading arts development agencies, instilling a deep and distinctive structure of South Asian arts in Birmingham and Britain through its productions, education and outreach activities, employing and advocating for South Asian Arts and artists. In establishing Sampad, Piali Ray wanted to ensure that South Asian arts in the Midlands, became an integral and distinctive strand of the social fabric of contemporary Britain.
Its primary endeavour was to maintain the growth of south Asian arts, to stimulate and enable new ideas and ventures and to recognise opportunities for capacity building, whereby south Asian arts professionals, programmers and managers can effectively apply their talents. Presently, Sampad has core funding from Birmingham City Council and from the Arts Council and, while its founding purpose was to strengthen the infrastructure for South Asian arts in the West Midlands, its influence and remit are currently much wider.
The word ‘Sampad’ in Sanskrit means wealth, and the organisation translates this as cultural wealth to be shared as widely as possible. The Birmingham arts organisation has aimed to lead the way in promoting the appreciation and practice of arts originating from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Within these arts, Sampad engages in a multi-disciplinary approach.