The origins of FACT began in 1985 when Josie Barnard and Lisa Haskel launched Merseyside Moviola, an occasional project for screening independent, experimental film and video work. FACT's founding director Eddie Berg joined Moviola in 1987, and established Video Positive, and biennial festival for new media in 1988. A major part of the artistic heritage of Liverpool and the UK, the festival took place at venues across Liverpool, including Tate Liverpool, the Bluecoat and the Walker Art Gallery. Video Positive formed the basis of our ongoing commitment to new and emerging media art forms. Mike Stubbs, our current Director/CEO showed his own work Desert Island Dread in the first festival in 1989.
In 1990, Moviola formalised its Collaboration Programme through a Gulbenkian Foundation Award. Built on an ethos of crowd-sourcing, knowledge-sharing and joint idea generation, this programme of work brought together communities and artists on hundreds of collaborative creative projects, and remains at the very heart of all FACT's work with young people, school, communities and family today.
In 1997 Moviola became FACT, and the following years took on a number of major new projects including staging ISEA 98, initiating tenantspin and forming a strong relationship with the recently established Liverpool Biennial. In 2000, construction began on a new permanent building in Wood Street that was to become the central hub of our core artistic programme.
Designed by architects Austin Smith Lord, the award-winning FACT building opened to the public on 23 February 2003. A £10m centre for new media, the building was the city's first purpose built cultural project for over 60 years and remains, a vibrant flagship in the £100 million redevelopment of the Ropewalks district of Liverpool.
Professor Mike Stubbs took over as Director in 2007 and the building celebrated its fifth birthday in 2008, Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture. FACT secured a world-class programme to make its mark in this exceptional year, including a solo exhibition from the leading contemporary artist Pipilotti Rist and SK-INTERFACES, an exhibition exploring some of the issues surrounding biotechnology and artists using skin as a material for art.