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The 1980s were marked by an increasing diversity of concerns and forms. A distinct separation had occurred between film and video makers, and television broadcast appeared as a viable medium for artists with the advent of Channel Four. Against the background of Thatchers conservative policies, clause 28, the Toxteth riots and the spectre of AIDS; issues of identity became a significant concern for artists, which lead to the formation of organisations such as Sankofa and Black Audio Film Collective.

Written and researched by Tom Roberts.

Still from In Our Hands, Greenham by Tina Keane, 1984

KEY EVENTS: 1980-1989

Video Artist on Tour, Art Council of Great Britain (the scheme ends in 1986)


About Time: Video, Performance and Installation by Women Artists, ICA, London and Arnolfini, Bristol


A Certain Sensibility, Cerith Wynn Evans and John Maybury, ICA


First issue of Undercut magazine

The first National Festival of Independent Video at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell, which continues until 1988.

Video Installations, LVA at the AIR Gallery, London

Film, Video, Performance, Installation, Tate Gallery London


The ACTT Workshop Declaration provides financial security and new audiences for independent film and video workshops

Independent Video magazine first Published (later Independent Media ) at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell.


Channel 4 begins broadcasting with a remit to support innovative work


Sankofa and Black Audio Film Collective founded.

Video Installations Show, LVA at the Air Gallery, London

Recent British Video, The Kitchen, New York, selected by Stuart Marshall

Video Art: a History, Museum of Modern Art, New York.


Film and Video Umbrella founded to commission touring programmes of artists work

British/Canadian Video Exchange, A Space / Arc, Toronto

Cross Currents: 10 Years of Mixed Media, Royal College of Art, London

Publication of the second LVA distribution catalogue

The first regular venue for video in a nightclub and the birthplace for Scratch video opens at The Fridge, Brixton London


Ian Breakwell's Continuous Diary and Dadarama series are broadcast on Channel 4. Produced by Anna Ridley


British International Super 8 Festivals, Leicester

Housewatch event Cinematic Architecture for Pedestrians, London

The Angelic Conversation by Derek Jarman

Series of three programmes for Channel 4 TV titled The Eleventh Hour, produced by Triple Vision

Subverting Television: Deconstruct/Scratch/ Alter Image at Time Based Arts, Amsterdam and touring

The British Art Show, ACGB touring show with an installation and videotapes

Video art shown for the first time at the London Film Festival, NFT


The New Pluralism exhibition, Tate Gallery. British film and video 1980-85

Belshazzar's Feast by Susan Hiller broadcast on Channel 4


Ghosts in the Machine, 6 part series of artists' film and video, Channel 4

Gilbert and George win the Turner prize with mix of performance, photography and video

Scanners LVA at the Air Gallery, London

Events Space 1 Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, Video installations and performances

Network 21, pirate TV station transmits from South London.

Channel 6, LVA/ICA,London/Bracknell Video Festival/London Filmakers Corp.


Pirate TV station Network 21 broadcasts film and video art to the London area

The Elusive Sign: British Avant-Garde Film and Video 1977-1987, Tate Gallery


First Video Positive festival, Liverpool

London Video Arts/London Video Access. After a protracted legal argument with John Cleese's Video Arts Company, LVA changed its name to London Video Access

Hi Beam, Tate Gallery, London

National Review of Live Art, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow

Ghosts in the Machine, Channel 4 TV. Second series of the video art showcase produced by John Wyver.

Video at the London Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image

The 11th Hour, Channel 4 TV and ACGB. A new collaborative scheme launched for commissioning experimental film and video

Festival of Independent Video, South Hill Park, Bracknell. Annual festival

The Arts for Television and Revision, Tate Gallery, London

Air Time, Air Gallery London. Retrospective show of British video art mounted to mark the closing of the AIR Gallery

Vis a Vis Festival, Camden Arts Centre/The Diorama, London.

The Artists in Spectacolour, Piccadilly, London.

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