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Case Study

Successful Youth Project Funding for Nupur Arts

15 December 2021

Over the past two years, we’ve worked with Leicester-based dance organisation Nupur Arts to support their fundraising and write funder reports.

By working on a long-term basis with organisations like Nupur Arts, our consultants get to know the companies really well and establish relationships which then enable them to better support the organisations.

With a focus on promoting and supporting South Asian dance in Leicestershire and beyond, Nupur Arts continually innovates to offer a variety of participatory dance activities, with the aim of not just practising the artform and developing specific skills but also supporting people’s wellbeing and nurturing experiences. Artistic Director Smita Vadnerkar explains: “The core part of our projects is bringing communities together, bringing different people together – people with different abilities and from different backgrounds.”

The dynamic arts organisation presents an impressive in-depth and long-term support to young people through their Youth Association NAYA, developing exciting projects for and with young people. Through projects such as Emerge, Aspire and their recent heritage project, NAYA gives young people in Leicester a range of opportunities to develop their skills beyond dance, including research skills, speaking skills, confidence and creativity. “Our aim is to develop skills such as project management, project planning, teamwork and communication through the creation of dance and drama shows and various other courses”, says Artistic Director Smita Vadnerkar.

Even during the challenging times of lockdown, Nupur Arts and NAYA proceeded offering its programmes with a digital approach – successfully putting workshops online and developing an exciting project for young dancers. Emerge is an online choreographic development programme for Indian classical and contemporary dancers, curated by Nupur Arts Youth Association and led by Kamala Devam. NAYA worked with experienced dancers from South Asian and contemporary dance disciplines who were looking to develop their choreographic skills as dancers and art-makers. Get a taste of their solo dance pieces here: Emerge – Nupur Arts Dance Academy. We were delighted to support this project by completing the funder’s report on this great achievement.

As well as writing funder reports, we’ve further supported NAYA with two successful funding bids. At the end of 2020, we helped NAYA to access over £21,000 through the Y Heritage project. The project supported young people to interview over 50 older people in the Gujarati community in Leicester to learn more about the heritage of the community. The group then created an impressive heritage exhibition, presented at Newarke Houses Museum, telling the story of migration to Leicester through the voices of their interviewees.

More recently, we secured £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund for the Aspire programme. In 2022, Aspire will provide a programme focusing on skills development and work experience for young people to work on their speaking and presentation skills, including rapping workshops, lyric writing and radio broadcasting.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Nupur Arts can look back on a successful year: Being finalists for the 2021 Asian Media Awards for Best Stage Production for their 2020 Nartan Online Series, the Artistic Director Smita Vadnerkar further received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award from One Dance UK, recognising her 30+ years of hard work, dedication and contribution to South Asian arts in the UK.

Our partnership with Nupur Arts is a long-lasting one, as Artistic Director Smita Vadnerkar describes: “Even before the fundraising and funding application support, we’ve been working with Art Reach for many years – in form of partnership work and Art Reach commissioned us to do an outdoor production for Night of Festivals in 2017.” It then further developed into a successful consultancy relationship in recent years: “We hope we keep on working together in the future.”

We are proud to work with this thriving organisation and look forward to seeing what great projects and achievements the future holds for Nupur Arts!


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A group of young dancers throwing coloured powder into the air.

Image: Nupur Arts