Posted by: stelladuffy | February 10, 2015

Jennie Lee White Paper Anniversary – 25th February 2015

Jennie Lee White Paper, A Policy for the Arts – First Steps
The 50th Anniversary – A Thing

The last time I called a session at D&D that was subtitled ‘A Thing’ it turned into Fun Palaces. I was determined that, this time, it wouldn’t take over my life.
But I still think we need to be marking the anniversary – how far we’ve come, how far we HAVEN’T come, what has changed, what else there is to do – what hope is still here for arts for all.

So, I called the session.
And then some people said they’d take the White Paper and make it into a score/script/basis we can all use to do something. They took chunks of the original White Paper and added contemporary quotes, contemporary views, the state we hoped to be in and the state we are in now.

Now it’s ready to do something.
Anyone who wants to.
Anyone who wants to mark the anniversary.
To sing, dance, declaim, rant, rave, pout, protest, applaud, evoke, annoy, effect, affect, acknowledge the dreams of fifty years ago.
And how much is still to do to make real the possibilities of fifty years ago.
The hopes of arts for all, arts funding beyond London, arts in all schools, arts as a human need, acknowledged fifty years ago.

Here’s the document worked on (mostly) by Alexandra Birchfield, Mary Halton, Amie Taylor, Fiona Whitelaw, and some by Hugh Chapman and me. As a pdf and a doc :
PDF : Jennie Lee WP Anniv Response PDF
doc : Jennie Lee WP Anniv Response doc

So, that’s it.
The rest is up to you.
As we say in the doc, USE IT. DO SOMETHING WITH IT.
Use it as is, re-write it, dismiss it out of hand and write your own version.
Make a piece in praise of the 50 year old White Paper or in condemnation of it not going far enough – then or now.
But do something.
Make a fuss of some sort, and then tell everyone about the fuss you made.
Get a group together and sing it on the Town Hall steps and put your Song of Arts Hope on youtube.
Get your town together to demand the arts provision you were promised fifty years ago.
Get the country together to demand a government that cares about ALL people having access to ALL arts.

There’s a facebook group you can join.

And a googledoc where you can note what you’ve done when you’ve done it.

And a hashtag to shout about it on twitter and facebook and instagram and tumblr and everywhere else : #ArtsPolicy50

And that’s it. The rest is up to you.
(Let’s see if we can all make something/s happen without needing someone to tell us what to do and when.)


  1. […] Lee’s White Paper runs as a red thread through all these initiatives, and a few participants from the last Devoted&Disgruntled event took it upon themselves to put the original text […]

  2. […] words above were published 50 years ago today, in the UK Government’s first, and only White Paper on the arts, led by then Minister for […]

  3. […] increasing the powerful influence of the Arts Council. Writer and theatre maker Stella Duffy has called for the arts and culture community to mark the anniversary and is asking people to consider ‘how far we’ve come, how far we HAVEN’T come, what has […]

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