The UK’s leading media arts centre FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), based in Liverpool, has announced technology leader Rachel Higham as new Chair of the Board, taking over from Sarah Fisher.
As Chair, Rachel will contribute to the strategic direction and governance of FACT, provide sector leadership and advice from local, national and international perspectives together with the Board, and support the development and implementation of FACT’s Capital Investment Plan, details of which are expected to be announced during 2018 – the year of the 10th anniversary of Liverpool Capital of Culture and the 15th anniversary of the opening of FACT.
Rachel has worked in the IT industry for 21 years, and has held a series of technology leadership roles in the financial services and telecoms sectors. She is now Managing Director and CIO Group for BT Group Plc, one of the world’s leading communications services companies, and leading the strategic transformation of BT Group systems. Rachel has also sat on the boards and committees of a number of charity and corporate organisations including the Bluecoat, Europe’s oldest contemporary arts centre based in Liverpool, and the Creative Foundation, an independent visionary arts charity dedicated to enabling the regeneration of Folkestone through creative activity.
FACT’s Director Mike Stubbs says: “Rachel will bring a real world experience and skillset that FACT needs to further its ambitions as an international centre of excellence, and its public engagement through education and community building. Her expertise will advance FACT’s position as a strong influence and actor within the Liverpool region’s growing commercial digital and creative sector, and as a significant contributor to the Northern Powerhouse, bringing together art, technology and people.
Building on FACT’s recent successes, such as our partnership with CERN, the renowned European Organisation for Nuclear Research, for the ambitious residency programme COLLIDE International Award, our spring exhibition unfold by Ryoichi Kurokawa exploring the evolution of stars, and the pop up exhibition of The Simplicity of Truth by Mark Storor, showcasing work sprung out of FACT’s Veterans in Practice programme, we believe that Rachel can help bringing FACT into a range of new futures, and are very excited about the potential partnerships and opportunities this could generate. We are particularly excited about our new Chair’s modern thinking around technology, enterprise architecture and education, as well as a fine approach to public engagement, and strongly believe she is the right fit for the future of FACT.”
Rachel Higham says: “As a technologist with a life-long interest in the arts, I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as Chair of FACT. I have been an admirer of FACT’s work for nearly a decade – enjoying its insightful examination of how technology is shaping our lives, society and culture; being inspired by its work with young people, veterans and the community across Merseyside; being fascinated by the outcomes of its research programme and participant-led art projects; and watching it grow into its iconic building.
If we are all to participate fully in our increasingly tech-enabled world, if we are to be empowered and engaged citizens and not just passive consumers, we need to understand how technology is affecting every element our lives. FACT’s trail-blazing exploration of our relationship with technology and its role in driving engagement with film, art and technology has never been more needed. I look forward to working with the Board, Mike Stubbs and the FACT team on the next stage of FACT’s journey. My thanks to Sarah Fisher for her fantastic leadership and for creating the strong position the organisation is in today.”
Out-going Chair, Sarah Fisher says: “I am delighted to hand over the Chair of FACT to Rachel Higham, a creative business leader at the forefront of BT’s global operation. Her interest and experience as an Enterprise Architect leading strategic planning with a variety of commercial companies and her obvious passion for the exceptional work FACT does makes her the perfect partner for the high achieving FACT executive team and Board. I am sure she will make an outstanding contribution to, and enjoy her time at FACT as much as I have.”
Rachel’s appointment marks the completion of the FACT Board renewal process commenced last summer. FACT’s Board now consists of members from various fields, bringing a wide breadth and depth of experience across commercial, cultural and academic sectors. Last year’s appointments include Pat Connor, Head of Development & Events at BBC North, who oversees the BBC’s strategy to better connect with northern audiences, Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, whose other appointments include Chair of the Board of the Equality Challenge Unit, Trustee of the British Council and member of the Liverpool City Region Innovation Board, and Neil McConnon, Head of International Enterprises at Barbican Centre, London, responsible for conceiving and producing some of the most challenging and successful exhibitions in Barbican’s history, having worked with some of the world’s leading cultural organisations.
Information about all board members can be found on the FACT website fact.co.uk