Practices > Good Practices > Culture-Based Innovation > sampad

sampad started out in South Asian dance education and has the long-standing perception of being a community focused traditional arts organisation.  However, we are continually progressing with the ever-growing demands and changes inside of the arts – evolving through new innovations and working cross collaboratively within the arts sector and beyond.  Recently we have taken an unintentional lead among a small number of arts organisations in embracing new digital technology, and as a result have allowed us to become involved at the very ground level of these developments.

The current wave of digital technology is finding new ways of bridging the gap between the arts and ways in which users interact with it, forming a symbiotic relationship that both sectors can learn, develop and benefit from.  This new technology is increasingly realistic in belief and practically achievable.  Its applications can be used as a tool to deliver arts and heritage through a more cutting edge and engaging medium to an ever-growing exploratory and techno-savvy audience.

Role of partners?
On previous initiatives sampad worked alongside digital media company, Substrakt, on the Radiu5 community project and also with arts and technology collective, Seeper, on the Mandala performance as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.  These collaborative partners have allowed us to create and branch out beyond our previous traditional remit and reach new audiences that we otherwise would not have been able to.  Future work includes working with digital agencies and academic institutes to further engage our audience and further our outreach.


Why is it needed?
Birmingham has five times more Asian residents within a highly cultural diverse city compared to the UK national average, making up the largest ethnic group within the West Midlands.  Birmingham also has a rapidly growing population under the age of 24 (2001 census data) making it the youngest major city in Europe.  With an ever increasing growth in the use of technology, both educational and socially – with around half the UK population playing digital games, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau – future projects have the potential to engage this younger and ethnically diverse demographic and allow them to explore culture through this mediums such as gaming in a way that is evocative and relevant to them and the modern world.  Working collaboratively has allowed us to branch out into more ambitious areas within the arts and culture to reach a wider audience.

The summer 2012 Mandala event fused art and technology in what was a pioneering venture for sampad. Working with Seeper using its state of the art “3D reactive architectural projection mapping” Mandala created an unparalleled spectacle, something that sampad could not have achieved on its own and has set the bar for future events.

Radiu5 was a collaborative data visualisation project between sampad and Substrakt working with young people to produce a dynamic interactive cultural map showing the wealth of creative activity happening within a five mile radius of mac.  This project has lead to the creation of other cross collaborative community focused arts and heritage projects, such as the forthcoming My Route, which focuses on migration shifts within a culturally diverse area of Birmingham.

What are the success factors and challenges?
The major challenges have been trying to marry the use and development of any employed technology that is newly innovative whilst putting the fundamental value of the project at heart and continuing being both relevant and inviting to our audience and mission.

The successes, thus far, has been a new approach in thinking towards digital technology and about possible applications for future projects.  Through this we have expanded our professional network and built many ties with technology providers and institutions that we otherwise would not have had.  It has also allowed us to expand our engagement with our audience and to promote our work within the community.

Business name: sampad South Asian Arts
Contact name: –
Address: sampad, c/o mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9HQ
Telephone: +44 (0) 121 446 3260
City: Birmingham
Country: United Kingdom
Legal status of Company: Private Limited Company/Sole Trader
Number of employees: 9
Nature of business: Arts & Heritage
Name of company collaborating with: –
Title of project: sampad
Dates of activity from: – till present
Activity Theme: Culture-Based Innovation

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