Who was Jennie Lee?

Jennie Lee was first elected as the MP for North Lanark at the age of 24 in 1929.
After losing her seat in 1931, Lee returned to parliament in 1945 and between 1964-67 served as the first Minister for the Arts.

She wrote the first white paper for the arts in 1965 and redefined the charter for the Arts Council, expanding its role. The white paper set out to make the arts more widely available, to more people across the country - an ambition which remains at the heart of much policy making today.

By the time she left office she had transformed the Arts Council from a small funding body, to a grant-making organisation with a seven-fold increase in its budget.

As well as successfully lobbying for the National Theatre and Southbank development, finding new homes for countless arts organisations across the UK, Jennie Lee played a leading role in founding the Open University - originally known as The University of the Air.

Lee is an icon of progressive cultural policy.  We continue in her spirit.


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