Photo of Dr Geetha Upadhyaya

Dr Geetha Upadyaya and her Consultant Clinical Psychologist husband, Dr Shri, co-founded arts organisation Kala Sangam in 1993. Dr Geetha is a Consultant in Metabolic Medicine and also has a post-graduate degree in classical Indian dance/music (Bharatanatyam and Carnatic Music).

Noting that South Asian communities rarely came together, Kala Sangam (meaning art and confluence in Sanskrit) was set up to bridge the gap.

Who will it help/who has it helped already?

Kala Sangam now works with all communities, age ranges, ethnicities and abilities. Its arts programme is very diverse and its audiences are reflective of this. The organisation also works with young people and children to run an academy of classical dance, music, yoga and languages.

What’s worked?

Regular review and adaptation to meet diverse audience needs is key to the development of Kala Sangam’s arts programme.

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

Dr Geetha gave up medicine to dedicate her life to Kala Sangam and the growth of opportunities for children and young people and promote the great arts culture and heritage of South Asia.

In 2007, Kala Sangam was awarded £1.5m by the Arts Council England’s lottery award to establish its centre of excellence at St Peters House, Bradford.

Acquiring St Peters House was a huge step for a small South Asian arts company. The building itself is an 1886 Grade II listed property. By its nature, being able to make repairs and improvements can be a challenge.

What’s next?

Having just retired, albeit working as a visiting lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, Dr Geetha has now been awarded lifetime President of Kala Sangam and is still active in the academy, heading the classical Indian dance classes.

What advice, contacts or resources would help you?

The organisation welcomes people from all backgrounds and encourages you to experience its performances.

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in our region!

Do you know a woman who deserves recognition, or would you like us to feature your story? Then please share it!

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