Bradford’s Kala Sangam has for long been the city’s leading destination for art and culture, having played host to a presentation of plethora of art forms, be it an energetic Bhangra performance or a soothing ghazal concert, it showcased it all. Now, Kala Sangam prepares to enter a new era with a name change and a multi-million-pound building generation.
Kala Sangam, which for long has been Bradford’s major art destination, will be known as ‘Bradford Arts Centre’ from January 2025
The change of name was a result of a thorough consultation that engaged hundreds of people from communities across Bradford, from older women at Womenzone Community Centre to primary school children in BD3.
‘Bradford Arts Centre’ was chosen following consistent positive feedback, with the name being independently suggested by participants at nearly every session as a name that would be easily understandable, inclusive, and representative of the organisation’s work.
The change of name will come into effect in 2025, when the company completes a major capital redevelopment of its city centre venue as part of Bradford’s celebrations as UK City of Culture.
Kala Sangam Chair Jas Athwal DL said: “I want to thank the hundreds of people who took the time to complete a questionnaire or join a focus group to help us choose our new name. In Bradford Arts Centre, I’m delighted we have found a name that groups from many different heritages and faiths, including our diverse South Asian communities, felt would include them and not exclude others. Although there’s lots of work still to do, I’m already looking forward to welcoming everyone to Bradford Arts Centre for an incredible year of culture in 2025.”
Under this new name, the company will increase its support for art and artists of South Asian heritage as part of its programme.
Founded in 1993, by Dr Shripati Upadhyaya , a consultant Clinical Psychologist along with his wife Dr Geetha Upadhyaya, a Consultant in Metabolic Medicine and trained Bharatanatyam dancer, Kala Sangam was first set up in Leeds, before it moved to Bradford in 1996 at the Carlisle Business Centre. In 2007, the company moved to St. Peter’s House opposite Broadway, after receiving funding from Arts Council, England.
Later this year, to coincide with Kala Sangam’s 30th birthday, the organisation will launch its largest ever commission, focused on Classical Indian performance. The building will remain a hub for multicultural festivals such as Bradford South Asian Festival and Intercultured Festival.
Kala Sangam Trustee Rashmi Sudhir said, “Over the last 30 years Kala Sangam has played a critical role in supporting the development of South Asian art forms. This commitment will continue as Bradford Arts Centre, and I can’t wait to be able to share beautiful artforms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Qawwali with a wider audience in our new state-of-the-art theatre when it opens.”
Kala Sangam Creative Director Alex Croft said, “We are committed to having an open, honest dialogue with people about this process, so if anyone has feedback or thoughts, we have set up a dedicated email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is also the place where people can get in touch if they’d like to be part of a session helping us to develop a brand for Bradford Arts Centre that both celebrates our history and looks forward to an exciting future.”
Kala Sangam will be marking the organisation’s 30th anniversary this autumn, with a series of events reflecting their history. It is expected that building work will begin in January 2024.