High Sheriff of Oxfordshire and Dr Farhan Nizami CBE discuss Islam’s influence on Oxfordshire at the Experience Oxfordshire Cultural Platform

Apr 20 2018

Experience Oxfordshire Press Release

For immediate release: 20/4/2018

High Sheriff of Oxfordshire and Dr Farhan Nizami CBE discuss Islam’s influence on Oxfordshire at the Experience Oxfordshire Cultural Platform

The High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Richard Venables and Dr Farhan Nizami CBE appeared at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies yesterday, 19th April, as guest speakers at the Experience Oxfordshire Cultural Platform.

Dr Farhan Nizami CBE, Prince of Wales Fellow at Magdalen College and Director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies discussed topics ranging from the development of Islamic Studies in Oxford, the design and construction of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and recent social reforms in Saudi Arabia, with the newly appointed High Sheriff of Oxfordshire Richard Venables.

The event was introduced by Joanna Simons CBE, Chair of Experience Oxfordshire, and attracted leading figures from Experience Oxfordshire’s Partner network, Oxford’s arts and culture sector and the local business community. The event is part of Experience Oxfordshire’s commitment to promoting culture across Oxfordshire and was sponsored by VSL & Partners, Hedges Law and Richardsons Chartered Accountants – Oxfordshire based companies who all share a passion for promoting and supporting the cultural sector in the County.

Commenting on the event, Hayley Beer-Gamage, Chief Executive of Experience Oxfordshire said:

 “The annual Experience Oxfordshire Cultural Platform is part of our continuing commitment to promoting culture in Oxfordshire. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the thriving arts and culture scene, but also ensure that we continue to invest and promote this vitally important part of the visitor economy. It was a privilege to host the event at the stunning Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies and our thanks go to our guest speakers for their insight on the Islamic influence in Oxfordshire – an exclusive session that was enjoyed by all”.

Reflecting on the Cultural Platform, Dr Farhan Nizami CBE said:

 “It was a pleasure to speak at the Experience Oxfordshire Cultural Platform, to welcome so many representatives of Oxfordshire’s business community to the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and to participate in such a positive exchange of ideas.  I do hope our guests enjoyed the afternoon, in such glorious weather, and found the event as enlightening and stimulating as I did”.

Richard Venables, High Sheriff of Oxfordshire added:

“This was a unique opportunity to learn more about the origins of The Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies (OCIS) and the long-established link of Islamic academia at Oxford University.  The Islamic world is rich in culture and arts.  We also learnt about the fast pace of cultural change in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the important research that is being carried out in the UK about factors affecting  British Muslim communities”.

Nicola Poole, Managing Director, Hedges Law commented:

“With our history of local community involvement across Oxfordshire throughout four centuries, Hedges Law welcomed the opportunity to be part of this wonderful event. We really are enjoying working with Experience Oxfordshire to promote the collaboration of culture and tourism alongside Oxfordshire business. With so many of our clients having a personal and professional interest in culture, arts, hospitality and tourism in the County, today was the perfect opportunity to bring them together. And what an absolute treat to have a personal tour of the Centre for Islamic Studies: just stunning!”

Andrew King, Director of Richardsons Chartered Accountant, added:

“Richardsons were delighted to sponsor this event.  It provided a great opportunity to learn more about Islamic culture and art”.



Editors’ notes

Dr Farhan Nizami CBE studied History at Wadham College, Oxford. In 1983 was elected Rothman’s Fellow in Muslim History and subsequently Fellow in Islamic Studies at St Cross College. Oxford. In 1997 elected Prince of Wales Fellow at Magdalen College and Emeritus Fellow at St Cross College. Since 1985 has served as the founder Director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, a Recognized Independent Centre of the University of Oxford.

Richard Venables, High Sheriff of Oxfordshire is an Oxford-based businessman who is also a keen participant in Oxfordshire’s economic development, sporting and cultural life. He is a Board Member of Experience Oxfordshire and of Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity, a member of the Ashmolean Corporate Council, Chairman of the Oxfordshire business network Reciprocate and until recently a Board Member of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. He is also a member of the Oxford Youth Partnership.

Experience Oxfordshire is the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Oxfordshire. We are a not-for-profit partnership organisation committed to the promotion, management and development of Oxfordshire as a great destination to live, work, visit and do business. We have a growing partnership network of businesses spanning all parts of the visitor economy, and through effective collaboration, we are all working to ensure Oxfordshire becomes a leading destination for tourism, culture and business.


VSL & Partners was formed in 2002 and comprises six leading commercial property experts as a niche commercial property firm in the Oxfordshire area. We aim to provide our clients with unrivalled local and regional advice. Our clients benefit from a very personal service mainly dealt with at director level.


Hedges Law has been delivering legal solutions to clients for over 200 years. Their skilled team of knowledgeable lawyers have the expertise to resolve even the most complex legal issues. Based in Oxfordshire they have two offices: one in central Oxford and one in Wallingford.


Richardsons Chartered Accountants is a team of forty, dedicated to building trustful relationships with our clients, so we grow together. We work within a variety of business sectors including technology, solicitors, estate agents, farms and estates and pension schemes. Richardsons has a strong reputation in dealing with technology start-ups.  Much of our business in this sector consists of spin-outs from Oxford University and the science parks around Oxfordshire, such as Harwell and Culham. We specialise in assisting companies setting up in the UK.  About 10% of our audit clients are subsidiaries of holding companies based in USA, Australia, Germany, France, Denmark and Holland.



For more information contact:

Martin Walker

Phone: 01865 686433

Email: martin.walker@experienceoxfordshire.org