Board of Trustees

Paul Parashar - Chair

Paul has over 30 years experience in the advertising business working with major agency groups and TV Stations. He has been working across Europe for the last 10 years and travels intensively.

He has been a trustee of Akademi for 3 years and enjoys the connection to his Asian roots. He takes great pleasure working with a very committed team.

Anu Kapoor - Vice Chair

Anu is a solicitor, specialising in immigration law. She initially graduated in Business Management before going on to qualify as a solicitor. Anu trained with a reputable medical negligence firm in Lincoln’s Inn, where she gained invaluable experience working with the highest calibre professionals and clients. Her first post-qualification role was as an ‘in-house’ lawyer for a well known multinational company.

Anu’s interest in engaging with ‘human issues’ led to an opportunity to enable her to set up a new employment and immigration department in a law firm in Mayfair. She worked with, advised and supported asylum seekers, community and minority groups, charities and human rights organisations.

After a period on maternity leave, a drive to be her own boss led Anu to set up her own employment and immigration law firm in 1999. The firm is now a niche immigration practice. The firm’s client base has been built up purely on referrals and recommendations and its clients range from individuals to businesses and organisations of all sizes around the globe, including well known blue chip and multinational companies.

Anu has enjoyed volunteering and pro bono work over the years with law centres, charities, community centres and NGO’s. She has recently committed to volunteering as an immigration lawyer at a ‘destitute asylum seekers drop-in clinic’ .

She passionately believes in the power of the arts to bring about change and tries to find time to enjoy the vast range of arts London has to offer. She eagerly seeks out art forms with a south Asian flavour!

Anu continues to enjoy her long standing connection with Akademi.

Richard Blurton

Richard works at the British Museum where he is a curator for the South and Southeast Asia collections in the Department of Asia. He has curated many exhibitions there over the last 20 years, most recently on the paintings of Rabindranath Tagore, and on the narratives of Bengal. He is the author of Hindu Art (1992) and Bengali Myths (2006) amongst other publications and currently works on a research project in Arunachal Pradesh.

Bandish Gudka

Bobby Gudka, originally from Kenya, has worked within the Wealth Management sector for over 10 years. He was a founder member of the Citigold Wealth Management UK as well has having significant exposure to overseas emerging and NRI markets. He currently works for Vestra Wealth. Bobby speaks over 7 languages including German, Hindi and Swahili.

Additionally, Bobby has trained as a Sitarist under Ustad Basharat Khan of the Lucknow Gharana. He has been three times the winner of the Presidents Award for music in Kenya for outstanding musical contribution amongst others as well as having composed music for UK Film. He has had several chart successes in the UK as well as collaborating and working with artists including Toni Braxton, Britney Spears, Nitin Sawnhey and Akademi. His performances have also seen him perform for many global dignitaries and royalty.

In his spare time, Bobby is an avid supporter of the South Asian Art movement in the UK, and represents several charities as well as being a committee member of the Cultural Awareness Network and Charity network at Barclays. He also has a penchant for extreme sport and has run several marathons.

Rachel Harris

Rachel is Creative Producer, Festival Development at Southbank Centre with a leading role in creating programmes designed to involve the widest communities in Southbank Centre’s work.  She leads on a number of festival initiatives designed to integrate artistic ambition with social impact and cultural context and to reach beyond London to develop national and international connections.   Rachel curates Alchemy, an annual international festival celebrating the creative relationship between the UK and the Indian subcontinent presented through contemporary music, dance, art, literature, fashion, debate and food across Southbank Centre’s venues.  In 2013, she also developed a new collaborative festival in Salvador Brazil which used the arts as a way of progressing methods of social cohesion.   Before her current role Rachel was responsible for producing the reopening celebrations for the newly refurbished Royal Festival Hall in 2007 in an event involving 5,000 performers.

After studying music, dance and drama, Rachel trained in South Asian dance and completed an MPhil in the development in England of the classical Indian dance form, Bharatanatyam. She has managing projects and led artistically in a broad range of community and public contexts and has collaborated with many national UK cultural organisations.  In recent years she has acted as an Assessor for Arts Council England, was on the dance panel for the Olivier Awards and is a board member of four dance companies.

Shravan Sood

Shravan is an international property developer and CEO of a boutique global macro hedge fund, Global Alpha Pte Ltd. His career spans 3 continents and 3 leading global financial institutions. He has worked as Global Head of Sales & Marketing, Broker-Dealer Services, Bank of New York Mellon (Managing Director) and was previously Account Manager at Ogilvy & Mather (Advertising). Shravan grew up in Mumbai, India. He earned an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Adam Pushkin

Adam Pushkin has been working in the arts since 1999, mostly working on festivals for the first ten years: Birmingham’s ArtsFest, Cheltenham Literature Festival, and Queer up North International Festival. He spent four years with the British Council as Head of Arts for India, and then two years as Deputy Director of Theatre & Artist Development at The Place in London, before rejoining the British Council as Director Arts for Indonesia in 2015.

Subathra Subramaniam

Subathra Subramaniam is a leading contemporary South Asian choreographer in the UK, as well as a respected dancer, science teacher, schools’ TV presenter and education director of international arts-science climate change project Cape Farewell.

Over more than 10 years Suba has built an international reputation, both by making vibrant contemporary work which resonates with the richness of the ancient south Indian classical dance form Bharata Natyam

Subathra is the artistic director of Sadhana Dance, a leading South Asian Dance company in this country creating contemporary, multidisciplinary dance works.

Sarah Robson

Sarah has a degree in Business Studies and is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (MCIPD). She has over 30 years’ experience in Human Resources (HR) having worked for Air Products Limited, General Mills, Total Oil Marine, PJB Publications and London Arts before setting up her own consultancy in 2005. (SKiL Consultancy LLP)

Sarah specialises in providing practical HR advice and assistance to small to medium sized charities and companies, many of whom are in the arts. She works closely with Boards and senior management on HR strategy and organisational change and advises on all aspects of HR including recruitment, performance management, redundancies, contracts and day to day HR queries.

Sarah is an Associate of Counterculture LLP and a trustee of ICON Theatre, Kent. She is Chair of the North London Friends of the Family Holiday Association and organises fundraising activities to support this national charity. She has passed on her passion for her football team, Liverpool, to her two sons. She loves the theatre and dance (classical and contemporary) and having worked with Akademi for 11 years is a keen supporter of their work.

Dr. Ann David

Ann is Head of Department and Reader in Dance Studies at the University of Roehampton, specialising in dance anthropology and South Asian classical and popular dance. She has a BA Hons, MA (Dist) and a PhD in Dance Ethnography. Trained in ballet, contemporary and folk dance, as well as the Indian classical styles of bharatanatyam and kathak, she has published widely in dance and other interdisciplinary journals. Her publications include co-editing and contributing to a book on dance ethnography, Dance Ethnography and Global Perspectives: Identity, Embodiment, and Culture (2013), as well as chapters in books on embodied ethnography, Performance and Ethnography: Dance, Drama, Music (2013) and ritual, Summoning the Spirits: Possession and Invocation in Contemporary Religion (2010), and dance, Dance Matters: Performing India (2010). Ann has written extensively on Bollywood dance, most recently in a book on Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan (2015). She is passionate about the need for the arts in education, working closely with policy makers in the arts and is on the Board of several arts organisations.

Patrons

Anoushka Shankar
Kenneth Tharp
Anish Kapoor
Girish Karnard
Nirmalya Kumar
Nina Nannar
Swaraj Paul (Chief Patron)
Alistair Spalding
Kapila Vatsyayan
Surina Narula