Jane Finnis studied expressive arts at the University of Brighton in the 1980s and went on to become Director of Lighthouse for ten years, playing a key role in helping to establish Brighton as a creative media city. After a lot of hard work, an Arts Council innovation award and a visit from the Queen, she left to become Chief Executive of Culture24, an internationally recognised independent charity and an important force in building digital capacity in the arts and heritage sector. .

She has championed the modernisation of the global museum and gallery sector and an audience-driven approach to cultural programming, including the Culture is digital project which considered how culture and technology can work together to drive audience engagement, unleash the creative potential of technology and boost the capacity of cultural organisations. With Culture24 she has successfully published different award-winning websites, including the 24 Hour Museum and Show Me (Bafta and Webby shortlisted).

On the occasion of Brighton College of Art’s 150th anniversary in 2009, Jane wrote:

“What drew me to the expressive arts course at Brighton in 1984 was its cross-disciplinary philosophy. The intersection, interaction and play between music, film, photography and installation was for me more interesting, exciting and rich then studying any single discipline alone.

“The course was the first and only one of its kind and when I arrived as a Super8 filmmaker, poet and band member, I felt immediately that I had come home. My fellow students were all creative, opinionated and crazy and I loved every minute of it. The tutors were all artists and I was privileged to study with the likes of Helen Chadwick, Peter Hawes, Billy Cowie and Liz Aggiss.

“During my three years I worked in film; video production and editing; music composition, recording; and installation. This vibrant approach gave me a grounding in what was then the new technologies, and lead me naturally to embrace the online media explosion when it hit our lives in the 1990s.

“The evolution of the online world is still very much underway but the need to remain open to new possibilities, partnerships and change is something that I learned during my time at Brighton Polytechnic.

“I left with a first class degree, a love of learning and a passion for mixing stuff up. My career in arts leadership and management has been framed by the interdisciplinary approach of the expressive arts course and is key to my success as an advocate for collaboration and playful creativity.”

Jane Finnis, 2009