The committee is elected by the members each year at our Annual General Meeting.

Current Trustees are:

Sarah Whiteley (Chairman)
Celia Robinson (Vice Chairman)
Julian Bagwell (Treasurer)
Pam Eyton (Secretary)
Chris Milford (Membership Secretary)
Kate Nileshwar (Lecture Programme)
John Sampson (Community Arts)
Stephanie North (Study Days)
Jake Piper (Projects)

A little more about us:

Sarah Whiteley
sarah-whiteleyI became a member of Oxford DFAS in 2011 and joined the Young Arts group at the same time.  I became YA chair in 2012 (working with 4 other dedicated members of the group!), and stepped down in summer 2016. Details of the projects sponsored by the Society are on the website.I worked in Children’s Social Care for 25 years, both managing teams working in busy multicultural communities, and latterly as consultant to a large local authority on policy, practice and the important interface with education. I have been an active Primary School Governor for 10 years, in the South West and in Oxford. My interest in the arts is broad, encompassing theatre and music as well as photography and decorative arts. I am also an avid traveller enjoying all the cultural aspects this involves. I have enjoyed the range of activities I’ve been involved with as a member of Oxford DFAS; I look forward to learning more about the arts, and contributing to the development of the Society.

Celia Robinson
Having lived and worked in Brussels and Nice before I married, my family later moved back to Belgium, instilling a passion for languages and travel in us all. After studying French & Modern History, I worked in business administration using my French and, after moving to Oxford in 2006, gained the CELTA qualification, teaching English to Asian women to empower them in their lives. I now put my energies into creating a delightful garden, playing tennis and bridge and volunteering for local charities. My interest in the arts has been liberated by becoming involved with The Arts Society and I am pleased to be vice Chair and part of its dynamic committee.

Julian Bagwell
I joined the Arts Society in 2015 along with my wife, who is the artistic member of our family.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much I could learn from the lectures, where very often the most dry subject can turn out to be interesting and entertaining.  We both like to travel and have joined in the well organized overseas trips that the Society provides.  Finally I have learned a lot more about Oxford from the various visits to colleges and libraries.  I became Treasurer this year and want to help the Society expand its charitable giving in support of various arts related projects in our local area.

Chris Milford
chris-milfordI qualified as a doctor at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London in 1979 and undertook my postgraduate training in surgery in London and Australia .I was appointed as ENT Consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital in 1990 and moved to half time working two years ago. This allowed me time in the week to do things outside of medicine. My wife ‘dragged’ me to Oxford DFAS and I then learnt that there is indeed life outside of medicine! I hope to spend many more years being ‘educated’ in the Arts through the talks/study days provided by DFAS. In the past I have found I have got far more out of societies when I have participated actively within them. Although new to the Society I am therefore delighted to have had the opportunity to join the committee.

Jake Piper
Over the past four years I’ve very much enjoyed the broad scope of TASO and the fields, periods, areas and individuals it covers in its lecture series and study days. TASO often opens me up to topics beyond those that I usually pursue in the arts.   My own career was as an environmental consultant and as an academic working on environmental policy – which may explain why I am fascinated by the natural materials of art (such as minerals, fibres and dyestuffs) as well as by perceptions of what is represented. The impact of architecture is another interest of mine.

I’ve been a school governor, PTA chair, board member of an environmental body and co-editor of an academic journal , amongst other voluntary roles. I now hope to be able to contribute to the committee’s work for TASO.

Stephanie North
Stephanie started her career as an attorney in Chicago and has spent long years being involved with Criminal Justice as a magistrate and Chairman of the Oxford Bench and the Oxfordshire Youth Court, as the Chair of the Central Council of Probation, and as a member of the Parole Board in the Home Office. When not tangled with crime she has, amongst other things, been an Area Tutor and advisor for Citizens’ Advice; Chair of the Grants Panel of Oxfordshire Community Foundation; a governor of the Dragon School and Chair of Governors at Oxford High School, and Deputy Chair of the Girls’ Day School Trust. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra. Not a strikingly artistic background : time on the Parole Board however was mitigated by the constant refreshment of visits to Tate Britain just round the corner, and the Ashmolean has been a joy for fifty years.

Kate Nileshwar
I joined DFAS in Sutton Coldfield in 1991(to oblige a friend who was setting it up) and very soon became actively involved, joining the committee for three years and being active in the Church recording group for many years. My general interest in the arts became much more informed, and I learned so much from the lectures, study days and visits. On moving to Kidlington in 2016 l applied to join TASOxford and was really pleased when the waiting time proved to rather shorter than predicted.


John Sampson
On retiring as a Family Doctor ( 35 years in Norfolk) and with a move to Oxford space opens up to explore wider aspects of the Arts. I have been developing my own painting and I find TASO has been a great place to learn some of the nooks and crannies of the western canon.

With a lifetime interest in children’s health it was natural to join the young arts group and support the projects funded by TASO. As our remit has widened to Community Arts Projects so funding for projects has reached further in support of our Oxford community.

Pam Eyton
I moved to Oxford from London in 1993. I have always been interest in the Arts and visiting exhibitions and galleries. When I decided to reduce my working hours in the IT profession I was able to take up painting again. I was introduced to NADFAS by a friend and then discovered Oxford DFAS and became a member in 2015. I enjoy being an active member of an organisation; thus far I have helped TASO on the website, with Study Days and now I am secretary.