Arts Derbyshire

Introducing The Arts Derbyshire Trustees – Emma Oaks

Arts Derbyshire is supported by a team of trustees. The Arts Derbyshire board of trustees’ work supports our goal of enriching people’s lives through the arts. As well as supporting Derbyshire’s art scene through Arts Derbyshire, our trustees also have personal links to the creative sector, with many of them being artists themselves. Although you may have read about our trustees already here, in this series we want to introduce you to each Arts Derbyshire Trustee and let them tell you about their story and relationship with the Derbyshire arts scene.

In this article, we would like to introduce you to our Trustee Emma Oaks.

Emma has worked in design, marketing and communications for 30 years. The majority of her career has been in the charity sector, with the last 12 years in the arts. She was Head of Marketing & Audiences at Buxton Opera House for 10 years and was instrumental in the launch of Buxton Cinema. For the past two years she’s worked at LEVEL, an Arts Council England funded contemporary arts centre that works with disabled visual, digital and performance artists. Emma has recently moved to a new role at the Royal National Institute for the Blind but remains committed to supporting the arts sector in her home county of Derbyshire.

A graphic design graduate, she has a particular interest in improving access to information and overcoming barriers in the arts. For many years her focus has been on strategic planning, making sure that buildings, events and communications are accessible to a wide range of audiences and visitors. She taught British Sign Language through Derbyshire County Council for many years.

Emma supports a number of smaller charities in the area, offering marketing advice and practical support including web development. In her free time she manages a small woodland and is the owner of The Well Wood Space near Crich.

Why are you a trustee with Arts Derbyshire?

I happened across Arts Derbyshire many years ago, at a meeting for artists and art organisations in Matlock. I was struck by the passion and drive to and bring the arts together across the county, but even at that stage I had no idea what a rich and diverse arts culture that this small corner of the UK had to offer.

Fast forward several years and I was working for a small arts charity when I saw an advert looking for Arts Derbyshire Trustees. I’d seen and heard more and more about the charity over the years and their website had become a ‘go to’ portal for information about the arts. It was an exciting time to join. They were re-defining their purpose, working towards appointing a Director and building the foundations for Arts Derbyshire to thrive well into the future. Throw in the existing board and staff team – a fabulous and varied group of creatives who have a real understanding of the arts ecology alongside bucket loads of enthusiasm, and it was hard to resist!

Now we’re in a position to signpost artists to fundraising opportunities, offer a platform to showcase creativity and help define the future of the arts in Derbyshire. Artists understand the collective value that connecting with other creatives can bring and our New Horizons meetings are going from strength to strength. We have so many exciting plans up our sleeves, watch this space!

Visit our Meet the Trustees page here for an overview of our board. Follow our Introducing Our Trustees series to find out more about each individual Trustee’s story and what Arts Derbyshire means to them.

Other articles in this series

Meet the Board:

Sign up to our newsletter

Find out what’s on with the Arts Derbyshire newsletter.

Artists, creatives, cultural providers, arts and health specialists – Sign up for one of our professional mailing lists.