A big thank you to ACE for helping us keep South Asian Arts alive

When the SAA-uk team came together in November 2022, in anticipation for what the funding announcement from the Arts Council of England would bring, the news of our glowing outcome quickly ushered in waves of emotion from jubilance, relief, and heartfelt gratitude. 

SAA-uk was established in 1997 as a small, project-funded organisation with a big ambition, the seed of which was planted by living legend
Ustad Dharambir Singh MBE: to enrich people's lives through the engagement and participation in traditional and contemporary South Asian music and dance. 25 years on, SAA-uk has carved out its place in the North of England and is recognized as a Centre of Excellence and Talent Development Hub, committed to enabling and empowering people from all walks of life, and especially those underrepresented in the sector, to pursue successful careers as performing artists, composers, choreographers, creative leaders, producers and facilitators, contributing to the Norths' creative ecology and economy.

Areas of our work that we are particularly proud of are a seasonal programme of live performances featuring an all-night Summer Solstice festival (now in its 12th edition) and a yearly Winter Solstice event, weekly classes in South Asian classical music and dance (taking place in person as well as online), commission opportunities for underrepresented creators of South Asian-rooted music, and creative engagement projects that proactively connect, listen, and empower diverse South Asian communities who have made Leeds their home.

As we move forward with this increased support, we endeavour to deliver the best of South Asian arts as we are reconfirmed on the list of National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) for another 3 years, and we are incredibly thankful to Arts Council England for believing in our mission.

"We are incredibly thankful to Arts Council England for believing in our mission. With their continued support and resources now on their way, we eagerly look towards a future that holds exciting possibilities, more creative opportunities, and ambitious artistic collaboration.

We believe that SAA-uk makes a major contribution to the cultural life of Leeds, the West Yorkshire region, and the UK cultural tapestry; we are personally grateful to all artists, creative individuals and institutions that contribute to making it possible for us to thrive.
" - Keranjeet Kaur Virdee, CEO and Artistic Director

As we begin the first season of our new funding round as an NPO and celebrate what it means for the future and legacy of South Asian Arts, let's look at what is in store for our first year, 2023-24. We could not do this without the generous support of ACE, the taxpayers and, of course you, our SAA-uk family.

• Build the infrastructure and capacity within SAA-uk to maximize important opportunities for the community of artists, students and audiences we serve.
• Ensure SAA-uk becomes firmly rooted in the North's culture ecology and creative economy.
• Be an even more central contributor to the Let's Create Strategy in the next 3 years and play a bigger part in the ambitious vision for the future of creativity and culture in the UK.

Main Areas of Growth
Education Programme: greater security for artists and creative practitioners as well as a range of high quality creative education resources for tutors and students.
Generation21: creative workforce development programme starting back in 2023, based on successful pilot from 2018-22.
Artistic Programme: increased capacity in the delivery of our flagship live events, outreach activities, and new commissions.
• Feasibility Study: to bring the ambition of a National Centre of South Asian Performing Arts to life.
• Outreach and Community Engagement: increased support for activities in Rochdale and expanded engagement opportunities, especially for children and families from a lower socio-economic background.
Digital Reach: adopt new technologies and experiment with new ways of reaching audiences.
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