Papers of Panchayat arts organisation

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection mainly consists of original material documenting the exhibitions, conferences and activities of Panchayat. Additionally, there are photocopied reviews and biographical and critical articles on the organisation. Also included is a video recording of and a set of slides containing images of Panchayat’s work.

Administrative / Biographical History

Panchayat was founded in 1988 by Bhajan Hunjan, Shaheen Merali, Symrath Patti, Allan de Souza and Shanti Thomas to promote the work of South Asian artists in the United Kingdom and internationally. It was first imagined as a project based arts organisation whose focus was to create an archive of work by contemporary artists working in a multicultural environment. As the organisation developed it has also been involved in publishing, conferences, exhibitions and workshops.

The name Panchayat refers to a council of village elders.

The archive Panchayat generated was originally based in the University of Westminster, which has since been into incorporated into Chelsea College of Arts Library’s African-Caribbean, Asian & African Art in Britain Archive. It moved to the Tate Library in Summer 2015.


The collection is arranged in numbered folders.

Conditions Governing Access

Available to researchers, by appointment. Please email:, giving at least two working days notice.

Further details about access to our collections are available on our website.

Access to archive material is subject to preservation requirements and must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited as part of the SADAA (formerly SALIDAA) archive.

Other Finding Aids

A finding aid is available for the manuscript material.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The collection is mainly of printed materials, of card and paper and in good condition. It also includes one video and small amount of slides which will need suitable equipment to view them.

Archivist's Note

Described by Joanne McPhie with amendments by Katie Flanagan

Conditions Governing Use

The material, unless otherwise indicated, is protected by copyright. You are unable to publish, in full or in part, without the permission of the copyright holder. However, you may use the material as permitted under statutory exceptions in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, e.g. quote for purposes of scholarship within the limits of fair dealing.


Collection is complete.

Related Material

The archive generated by Panchayat moved to Tate Library in Summer 2015.