tenantspin the incomplete archive

  • 24 October 2013 - 1 December 2013

tenantspin was one of FACT’s key collaborative projects, which began life as a pilot series of online broadcasts in 1999 and continued as a model of community participation until 2012. This exhibition celebrates tenantspin, a groundbreaking community project that evolved from an artist and tenant-led Internet TV channel into a dynamic community media and arts project. It achieved international recognition and acclaim and informed the development of community interaction across the visual arts sector.

tenantspin began life as a pilot project in 1999, instigated by Liverpool Housing Action Trust (who were set up to create sustainable communities through the demolition process of 67 tower blocks), The High-Rise Tenants Group (a panel of residents), artist collective Superflex and FACT. In 2003 Liverpool Housing Action Trust ceased to exist and the project continued as a partnership between FACT and Your Housing (formerly Arena Housing). 

By working with tenants over an extended period of time, empowering them to lead and shape the programme, tenantspin developed their skills and creative practice. This approach to participation still lies at the heart of FACT’s Collaboration and Engagement Programme. 

In its formative years, tenantspin took the form of a Superchannel, a web-streaming platform and live-chat facility created before the rise of Youtube, that enabled tenants to produce online content. This allowed tenants to connect with their neighbours and the global community in real-time. Webcast content ranged in subject matter from serious topics relating to housing or welfare, to light-hearted subjects close to the tenant’s hearts. The project invited artists, leading cultural figures, experts and innovators from across the world to join them in their Liverpool studio to debate and contribute to the 1000 hours of broadcasted content and produce new work. In the later years, tenantspin continued to work in a social housing context working in neighbourhoods such as Sefton Park and North Liverpool developing tenant-led content, artist commissions and webcast content.