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Discover | Explore | Learn

October 2016 March 2017

Exhibitions | Events | Performances | Participation

At a glance Exhibitions

Follow us for the latest news and updates

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Women Artists: From 1861 to 2015 People’s Art 2016 Frocks: Dress and Accessories from the Museum Collection

Going Public – The Napoleone Collection Moving Up


Slow to Respond School Days Opening up… memories, conversations and heritage

Touchstones Rochdale

Events & Activities

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Touchstones Craft Workshops Touchstones_ Rochdale

The Art Café Grand Opening Exhibitions Launch Night Christmas Lights Ceilidh!

Touchstones Rochdale

Edwin Waugh: “The Lancashire Burns” Talk & Book Launch: Louise Giovanelli


Talk: Valeria Napoleone In Conversation with Dr Maria Balshaw Tour: Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art? Workshop: Collectors & Commissioners (Women in the Arts)


Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery Knitty Gritty Touchstones Creative Writing Group Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival Children & Families

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Magic Day! Family Music and Dance Day! Santa’s Grotto Homework Club Family History Drop-in Sessions Tiny Touchstones


Touchstones Rochdale Information

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Floor Plan

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Welcome to our exhibitions and events guide, listing everything happening at Touchstones Rochdale, and by our teams across the borough over the next six months. We hope you will enjoy visiting, participating and engaging with all we have to offer.


he coming six months is set to be some of the most innovative and exciting in the history of Touchstones Rochdale with ground breaking exhibitions, a large and varied events programme, and new activities for children, young people and families. We’re also extremely pleased about the opening of our new café. The Art Café is an exciting offer for Rochdale Town Centre, with an excellent selection of hot and cold food, drinks and snacks; indeed their freshly baked breads and pastries are already proving a hit with regular groups, as it is fast becoming known as a great place to catch up with friends and families, or to use the free wifi whilst having meetings. But aside from this delicious addition, watch out for the new exhibitions opening this winter. In the Arts & Heritage Resource Centre, students and volunteers have been working hard for months researching, cataloguing and caring for our vast collection of costumes and clothing, including dresses, hats and accessories. Our Museum Curators have selected their favourites from the borough’s Collection to create this very special exhibition of fashion and dress from the Victorian era through to the 1960s titled ‘Frocks’. Many of the objects on display have never been shown before and we hope you thoroughly enjoy some of the best parts of the Collection in this unique exhibition. In our Art Gallery, we’re honoured to be welcoming influential philanthropist Valeria Napoleone to Rochdale, where she will be showcasing pivotal works from her world-renowned private collection of 20th century and contemporary art by women artists. This not-to-be-missed exhibition supported by the Art Fund features some of the biggest names in the art world and truly sets the tone for our ambitious exhibition and commissioning programme over the coming years. At the same time, in Gallery One, we are delighted to be showing a series of new paintings made in response to works in our permanent collection by Manchester-based artist Louise Giovanelli; a young rising star to watch out for and part of our ongoing commitment to supporting emerging talent in the region. 2017 marks an event of national and local significance. It will be 200 years since the birth of the Rochdale poet Edwin Waugh, and to celebrate,

we have collaborated with the Edwin Waugh Dialect Society to commission a new concert involving brass, strings, choir and poetry in the magnificent setting of Rochdale Town Hall. Supported by Arts Council England, Edwin Waugh: “The Lancashire Burns” will take place on Sunday 29th January and will be an afternoon of magical music, story and poetry celebrating one of Rochdale’s most influential cultural exponents. And beyond this, we have a massive programme of events for children and families including: Magic Day (9th October) and Music & Dance Day (23rd February). Throughout Saturdays in December, Santa Claus will be in residence meeting children of all ages with gifts and craft activities; and for younger children, Ruthie Boycott-Garnett will be returning to host a series of sessions for 0-5 year olds in the New Year.

With all this happening and much more, we hope that you will visit Touchstones Rochdale again and again over the coming months. Tom Besford, Arts & Heritage Manager


Exhibitions Women Artists: From 1861 to 2015 Until Spring 2017 Gallery Two This exhibition presents a selection of art from the borough’s Collection, charting and celebrating the Art Gallery’s history of collecting work by women. Drawing on this strength, and tracing the role gender has played in the production of art, the exhibition looks at how the formal and conceptual concerns of female artists have changed from the late 19th century to the present day. It includes work by Henrietta Ward, Dorothea Sharp, Laura Knight, Stella Magarshack, Gillian Ayres, Lubaina Himid, Maud Sulter, Cornelia Parker, Junko Mori and Hayley Tompkins.

Image: Junko Mori, Propagation Project: Super Jumbo Nigella Wave. Courtesy of Adrian Sassoon and the artist.

People’s Art 2016 Until 19 November 2016 Gallery Three & Four Our popular annual open exhibition for new and established artists, both amateur and professional, who live or work in the borough of Rochdale. Also featuring the hands-on Art Paddock offering lots of fun activities especially for our younger visitors.


Explore our under 5s interactive boxes in the Art Gallery with tactile toys and beautiful books linked to the exhibition.

Frocks: Dress and Accessories from the Museum Collection 5 November 2016 – 15 April 2017 Heritage Gallery Take a look at a century of style from the amazing structured garments worn during the Victorian period to the swirling designs of the swinging 60s. Dazzling 1920s beaded dresses shown alongside the much loved Singer sewing machines take centre stage in this exhibition, revealing how fashion, shape and style have change over time. See how the clothing of the 1930s was influenced by the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and how people individualized their outfits during the shortages of the Second World War. Featuring dresses the borough’s Museum Collection that have never previously been displayed, the show reveals the stories of some of the people who wore them. Highlights include an Ossie Clarke design from the early 1970s and a recently conserved blue Victorian wedding dress. As well as clothing, a selection of striking accessories such as shoes, jewellery, handbags and hats are featured in the exhibition.

Going Public – The Napoleone Collection 10 December 2016 – 11 March 2017 Gallery Three & Four We are delighted to be showing highlights from one of Europe’s finest private collections of 20th century and contemporary art. From her first acquisition in the mid-1990s, Valeria Napoleone established a collection with a singular purpose: to champion the work of women artists and redress the gender imbalance she saw within the art world. Spanning painting and sculpture through to photography and installation, Napoleone’s remarkable collection has gone on to represent some of the most pioneering female artists of the past 20 years. Discover a diverse array of work from the collection by artists including Mai-Thu Perret, Joanne Greenbaum, Margherita Manzelli and Phyllida Barlow, recently nominated to represent Great Britain at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2017.

Image: Mai-Thu Perret with Ligia Dias, La Fée électricité, 2005. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich


Slow to Respond 19 November 2016 – 4 March 2017 Gallery One

Moving Up Until 12 November Gallery One This exhibition showcases the talents of students studying on the Art & Design courses at Hopwood Hall College. It features a wide variety of work from paintings and drawings through to textiles, ceramics and sculptures.

There is a sense of re-focusing and of re-framing with her painting functioning like a camera, drawing attention to details that would otherwise be left overlooked, unexplored, or dismissed. After researching the permanent Fine Art Collection here at Touchstones Rochdale, Giovanelli has produced a series of new paintings that re-imagine and re-configure existing works within it, casting them in a different light and suggesting new narratives.

School Days At Heywood Sports Village Until February 2017 Objects from the Museum Collection tell the story of what it was like to go to school in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the past school was not always compulsory to attend and children learned to read, write and count at either Sunday Schools or Dame Schools. The display includes a Victorian school desk, games and a teaching box crammed full of interesting items that was used to teach and inspire pupils about the wonders of the world.


Opening up… memories, conversations and heritage At Middleton Arena Until May 2017 This community led exhibition invited people who attend Alzheimer’s Society Memory Cafés to take part in arts activities and behind-the-scenes tours of the Museum Collection to trigger memories from the past including stories of glamourous followers of fashion, working life in the local textile mills and ‘Whit Walks’. Inspired by their stories, artists Alison Cooper, Patricia Cartner and Vinnie James have created new illustrations and sculpture to sit alongside Museum objects in this exciting display.

Image: Louise Giovanelli, ‘The Beard III’, 2016. Courtesy the artist & The International 3

Often site responsive, Louise Giovanelli’s practice embodies an affection for aspects of older paintings seen during museum visits. The starting point for many of her own paintings is a pre-existing historical feature or detail, an interesting element or peculiarity of these older works, which becomes the catalyst for re-appraisal.

Events & Activities Touchstones Craft Inspired by the Frocks exhibition try your hand at something new in our fun and friendly adult craft workshops. Cost ÂŁ8 per session, payable on booking, price includes all materials. Spaces are limited and booking is essential, visit our website, ring 01706 924928, or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale for tickets.

Kanzashi Flowers

Printed Tote Bag

Silk Painting

Needle Felt Brooch

Saturday 8 October 10.30am-12.30pm

Saturday 12 November 10.30am-12.30pm

Saturday 10 December 10.30am-12.30pm

Saturday 14 January 10.30am-12.30pm

Take inspiration from the ancient Japanese craft of Kanzashi to create beautiful fabric flowers to transform into fashion accessories of your choosing with our talented artist, Vincent James.

Join Karen Vine & Trish Cartner to explore the deeply satisfying craft of block printing on fabric. Gather inspiration from the Frocks exhibition, create a design, carve a block and print your own tote bag!

Produce vibrant patterns and beautiful pictures using the traditional technique of silk painting. Learn how to stretch the silk on the frame, mix and apply silk paints, outline your designs and other special effects.

Create your very own needle felt brooch with our craft expert Sharon Shaul. You’ll learn how to felt merino fibres into different designs and shapes to create a beautiful unique pin.

Back by popular demand We are pleased to offer extra sessions of some of our more popular adult craft workshops for anybody who missed out last time!

Pakistani Embroidery Saturday 11 February 10.30am-12.30pm Using a specially crafted punch needle join local artist Shaista Nazir and have a go at the relief embroidery technique of Burr Wali, a traditional Pakistani textiles craft.

Textile Coin Purse Saturday 11 March 10.30am-12.30pm Join artist Alison Cooper to create your own small textile coin purse. Using simple sewing techniques you will create a clasp purse to take away on the day. No sewing skills necessary.

Throw a Pot

Book Binding

Saturday 25 February 10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-3.30pm

Saturday 18 March 10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-3.30pm

Create beautiful clay decorations and learn how to use a potters wheel to make your own small pot with local artist Cat Jessop.

Learn the basics of book binding with Trish Cartner and take home your very own bespoke hand bound journal.


The Art Café Grand Opening Thursday 27 October 2016 | 7pm | FREE We’re really pleased to announce the opening of our brand new café. Come along to celebrate this occasion with food, drink, performances and merriment. The Art Café is open Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10am-4pm, serving a wide selection of hot and cold food, drinks and snacks. With free wi-fi and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to catch up with friends, meet colleagues, or simply relax after looking around exhibitions and displays.

Exhibitions Launch Night Friday 9 December 2016 | 6pm-8pm | FREE No booking required - just turn up

Join us for a celebration of female creative excellence with the very first chance to see new exhibitions by emerging talent Louise Giovanelli (Slow to Respond) in Gallery One and highlights from the private collection of Valeria Napoleone focusing on some of the most important female artists of the past 20 years (Going Public – The Napoleone Collection) across Gallery Three & Four. There will also be the opportunity to see a selection of historic female clothing from the Museum Collection in the new exhibition, Frocks, in the Heritage Gallery.

Image: Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir

The evening will include a special performance by the acclaimed Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir who will be performing a variety of songs specially written and donated to the choir by Manchester based female choral songwriters.

Christmas Lights Ceilidh! Saturday 26 November 2016 | 7.30pm | £8 | Advanced booking required Following the Christmas Lights switch on in Rochdale Town Centre, we’re opening Touchstones Rochdale late on a Saturday night for an evening of music and dancing. If you’ve never been to a ceilidh before, think raucous barn dancing, socialising and fun! No experience necessary, all the dances will be explained beforehand by our expert live band.

Edwin Waugh: “The Lancashire Burns” Sunday 29 January 2017 at Rochdale Town Hall 2pm | £8 plus concessions | Advanced booking required To celebrate 200 years since the birth of one of Rochdale’s most famous poets, you are warmly invited to this unique celebratory event. Edwin Waugh’s poetry and works spread throughout the UK and beyond in the 19th century, bringing him fans across the social spectrum, from Lancashire mill workers to the Prime Minister and even Charles Dickens! In this special concert, dialect poet Sid Calderbank and composer Jim Molyneux have created an afternoon of old works renewed and new works created in a special Arts Council England funded project in honour of Edwin Waugh. Expect choirs, brass groups, string quartets and poetry at this world premiere, shining a light on a key part of Rochdale’s rich cultural heritage. Hosted by the Edwin Waugh Dialect Society. Funded by Arts Council England


To book: visit, call 01706 924928, or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale.

Talk & Book Launch: Louise Giovanelli Saturday 25 February 2017 2pm-4pm | FREE | Advanced booking required To coincide with her exhibition, Slow to Respond, Louise Giovanelli will discuss the processes and themes in her work with Charlotte Keenan (Curator of British Art at National Museums Liverpool).

Image: Louise Giovanelli in residence, 2016. Courtesy the artist & The International 3

Talk: Valeria Napoleone In Conversation with Dr Maria Balshaw Thursday 23 February 2017 6pm-8pm | FREE | Advanced booking required Collector Valeria Napoleone will share a personal insight into one of Europe’s finest private collections of 20th century and contemporary art in conversation with Dr Maria Balshaw (Director of the Whitworth, University of Manchester and Manchester City Galleries).

Tour: Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art?

Workshop: Collectors & Commissioners (Women in the Arts)

Saturday 21 January & Saturday 11 February 2017 | 2pm-3pm | FREE

Wednesday 8 March 2017 2pm-4pm | FREE | Advanced booking required

Image: Valeria Napoleone Photo Credit: Michael Leckie

The event will also see the launch of a new publication focusing on the work of Giovanelli. The publication is the first to be produced on the artist and brings together documentation of three solo exhibitions undertaken in 2016 and 2017 at Grundy Art Gallery (Blackpool), The International 3 (Salford) and Touchstones Rochdale.

Advanced booking required

Do you sometimes feel mystified by recent developments in art? Join one of our Art Gallery team for a chance to learn more about some of the key contemporary works in our current exhibitions. Continue the discussion in the Art Café with 25% off.

Women in the arts are commonly portrayed as simply being muses or models, but the history of art is full of important female artists, collectors, commissioners and patrons. To coincide with International Women’s Day and our current exhibitions showcasing female artistic excellence, join professional writer Sylvia Kölling to compose a letter to an inspirational woman in the arts. ‘Dear Friend’ is an ongoing letter-writing project celebrating the role women have played in all areas of life and, if you want to, your finished letter will be added to a growing digital archive at

Image: Courtesy of ‘ Dear Friend’

To book: visit, call 01706 924928, or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale.


Wu-Li (Patterns of Organic Energy) by Halima Cassell

The Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery have been essential to our continued growth and development as an important regional art gallery. Through their generous donations over the years we have been able to conserve and acquire countless key works of art for the collection including ‘Wu-Li (Patterns of Organic Energy)’ by artist Halima Cassell purchased in 2014.

Born in 1975 in Pakistan, Halima Cassell was brought up in Manchester and studied at the University of Central Lancashire. Working nationally and internationally from her base in Blackburn, Cassell’s multicultural background motivates her interest in creative traditions from across the world.

Annual membership is only £10 and in addition to supporting the Art Gallery, you will receive discounted rates on the annual programme of talks and trips organised by the Friends and invitations to private views for all exhibitions.

How to join You can join in a number of ways: • Post a cheque for £10 (made payable to FRAG) c/o Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ (please make sure you include a cover letter giving your full name, address, postcode, telephone number and email address). • Ring 01706 924928 and pay over the phone. • Come along to one of the talks organised by the Friends and pay in person.

Further information To discuss any aspect of the Friends or membership please contact Jenny Buckley (Chair, FRAG) on 01706 358686 or Mark Doyle (Art Gallery Curator & Collections Manager, Touchstones Rochdale) on 01706 924555 or

Knitty Gritty

Last Tuesday of every month (excluding December 2016) 2pm-3.30pm October 25 | November 29 January 31 | February 28 March 28 No booking required. Join our monthly knitting circle in the Art Café. Feel free to bring along your own knitting projects, share ideas or start something new inspired by our current exhibitions.


‘Wu-Li’ translates as ‘patterns of organic energy’. Flora and fauna abound in this sculpture; the curl of a carved fern’s frond moves into the bud of a lily about to open into a flower. The piece symbolises spring-like new beginnings and its spherical form reflects both the ongoing nature of growth and cyclical aspects of energy. This acquisition was supported by the Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery together with the Handley Bequest and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund in 2014.

Image: Halima Cassell, Wu-Li (Patterns of Organic Energy). Courtesy of the artist.

Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery

Join the Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery

Talks: Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery Second Tuesday of every month | 12.30pm-1.45pm £3 members & £4 non-members 2016: October 11 | November 8 | December 13 2017: January 10 | February 14 | March 14 No booking required - pay on the day. Our Friends organise monthly talks by invited speakers about art and craft and annual trips to visit other regional art collections. For more details please visit

Touchstones Creative Writing Group

First Thursday of every month 2pm-4pm | FREE No booking required - just drop in Now independently constituted, the group meets monthly to inspire and promote creative writing. Encouraging the positive health and well-being benefits which can be gained through expressing yourself with creative writing. The group welcomes new members, both would-be and existing writers, to join in.

19 – 24 October 2016 Amy Ramsay - Introduction to Philosophy: Why Doesn’t Batman Kill the Joker?

Wednesday 19 October 2016 | 5.30pm | £2 Explore key questions in moral philosophy by asking ‘Why doesn’t Batman kill the Joker?’ Arch enemies over time, Batman and the residents of Gotham have suffered tirelessly at the hands of the Joker. Yet despite being the Dark Knight, and a vigilante who isn’t afraid to break the law, Batman’s own internal moral compass won’t allow him to kill the Joker. But is he right? This session explains the theories of deontological ethics and utilitarianism and analyses the pros and cons of each, using the fraught relationship between this pair as a basis for discussion. Is murder ever moral? Should Batman kill the Joker to prevent further crimes and atrocities? You decide. Suitable for ages 14+

Benet Brandreth - The Spy of Venice

Wednesday 19 October 2016 | 6pm | £5 Benet Brandreth is a highly-regarded barrister, rhetoric coach and authority on Shakespeare and will be talking about his debut novel, The Spy of Venice. Benet explores the thrilling story of Shakespeare’s “lost years”, his role in England’s history and how a glover’s son from a small town in the middle of England became the greatest master of the English language the world has ever known. Benet works regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Donmar and others on Shakespeare’s use of language. He is also a qualified stage combat choreographer. Suitable for ages 14+

Community Arts North West - Hidden Tales from the Rochdale Underground

Thursday 20 October 2016 | 2pm | FREE An eclectic showcase of artists’ films, spoken word and performance brought to you by the Petrus Community, Rochdale’s largest homelessness charity. Inspired by the work of northern poets from the Maskew Collection; expect dark humour, unique wit and an honest narrative that explores the hidden stories belonging to Rochdale’s people. Created in partnership with Community Arts North West and funded by Awards for All and Arts Council England. Suitable for ages 18+

We’re really excited to be once again hosting events as part of Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival. Below are the events at Touchstones Rochdale, the full festival programme is available online. Booking is essential. For tickets, visit the website, call 01706 924928, or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale. The Wimpy Kid Show

Friday 21 October 2016 | 5pm | £3 Host Alastair Watson brings the popular books to life with fun activities including the Wimpy Kid Draw-Along and the Wimp Wars Quiz. The show also includes exclusive clips of author Jeff Kinney talking about the books, his involvement in the films and showing how he draws the characters. All those who purchase a book on the day will be eligible for the exclusive Wimpy Kid Show stamp! Suitable for ages 8+

Goat and Monkey - The Devil Speaks True

Saturday 22 October 2016 | 2pm & 7.30pm | £5 The Devil Speaks True is an intimate, immersive dramatic performance about the journey home of people from conflict zones, with the audience placed in the centre of a rapidly unravelling existence. This innovative production cuts the words of real ex-servicemen into Shakespeare’s Macbeth to explore the post-traumatic stress disorder of Macbeth’s brother-in-arms Banquo and of soldiers in the modern world. Often taking place in complete darkness, The Devil Speaks True uses wireless headphones and binaural sound design to plunge audiences into a 360 degree auditory experience, while using the story to explore the psychological effects of war on returning soldiers. Scent, special effects, projection and dance are all used to create an intense and compelling emotional world for the audience. Suitable for ages 14+

John Piper’s Puppet Show

Saturday 22 October 2016 | 11am & 1pm | £2 Enjoy electrifying entertainment from John Piper, wellknown and much loved ventriloquist and magician. His show consists of amazing magic, talking puppets and lots of audience participation so get ready for lots of fun and excitement. Suitable for ages 3+


Events for Chidren and Families Magic Day! Sunday 9 October 2016 11am-4pm | all arts and crafts activities are FREE | No booking required - just turn up Come along to our Magic Day. Why not come along dressed as your favourite magical character? From mask making, storytelling, magical art and craft activities - there’s so much for the whole family to enjoy together.

 M6 Theatre Company presents

Mavis Sparkle Written and Directed by Gilly Baskeyfield and Dot Wood

11am & 2pm | £3 | no booking required, pay on the day | DURATION: 45 minutes (approx) With a magician for a Dad and a stargazer for a Mum, no wonder there’s more to Mavis than meets the eye! A feather duster in one hand and a few tricks up her sleeve, our chatty cleaner is moving ever closer to making her dreams come true. With a little help from her cheeky cuckoo clock, mischievous mop bucket and a nice cup of tea, Mavis is on a journey north to see nature’s biggest light show with her own eyes. M6’s cosmic production mixes illusion, animation and laughter inspiring us all to dust away doubts, follow our dreams and reach for the stars!

For ages 4+ and families

“Enchanting…a treasure trove of delights” The Stage

Family Music and Dance Day! Thursday 23 February 2017 11am-4pm | FREE | No booking requiredjust turn up Come along to our themed music and dance day. Activities include: singing, making instruments, drumming and family barn dancing at 11am & 2pm. Learn some dance steps and perform them to our expert live band!


Santa’s Grotto Although Santa will be very busy preparing for Christmas Eve, Touchstones Rochdale has managed to convince him to take a couple days off to visit the Museum. Meet the elves who will help you have some creative fun. Place a wish on the Christmas tree before meeting Santa in his magical Grotto. Each child will receive a gift to take home. Spaces are limited and booking is essential. £8.00 Suitable for all ages.

Saturday 3 December: 10.15am-4pm Saturday 10 December: 1pm-4pm Saturday 17 December: 1pm-4pm

pe r ch il include d s gif t, craft a ctivit no qu e y & u e s!

(45mins slots - last booking at 4pm)

To book: visit, call 01706 924928, or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale. Please note we are unable to change bookings once they have been made or to offer refunds due to Santa’s popularity.

Homework Club Every Wednesday 3.30pm-4.45pm & Saturdays 1pm-4.45pm | FREE Local History Centre Got a project to finish, need a picture printing out? Come along to our Homework Club. Children under 11 years must be accompanied by an adult. No booking required - just turn up.

Family History Drop-in Sessions Every Thursday 2pm-4.30pm | FREE Local History Centre Need help with your family tree or don’t know where to start? Call in to our weekly Family History drop in sessions where friendly staff will be able to help you. No booking required - just turn up.

Tiny Touchstones Thursdays | £2 per child | No booking required - just turn up and pay on the day 12 January | 26 January | 9 February | 23 February 9 March | 23 March This exciting programme will explore themes of celebration and culture through music, stories, movement and art with Ruthie Boycott-Garnett. Babies - 10.30am A welcome space for babies and their parents to relax and explore the arts through sensory play. Toddlers - 11.45am An active session for toddlers and their parents focusing on a new art form each week to explore, create and build adventures. Children aged 3-5 - 1pm A creative session for 3-5 year olds and their parents making music, telling stories and exploring the world.


Touchstones Rochdale Information Museum

Our family friendly Museum is the place to find out all about Rochdale borough’s heritage from famous faces to the lives of ordinary people, there’s lots to see and do.

Art Gallery

See a wide variety of exhibitions in the Art Gallery’s four gallery spaces including selections from the borough’s impressive Art Collection in Gallery Two and work by contemporary artists in Galleries Three and Four.

Venue Hire

Touchstones Rochdale offers a unique venue for meetings and events. Our studio space and meeting room are available for hire. Ring 01706 924492 for more details.


The place to get that unique card or gift. We stock a range of souvenirs, postcards, local crafts, jewellery, books and pocket money gifts for children.


Schools Service

If you are a school or educational group looking for exciting and engaging learning experiences, then why not visit Touchstones Rochdale. Our expert led sessions support the new national curriculum and we have been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge which is a nationally recognised indicator of high quality educational provision. Download our Schools Programme from our website or ring the Education Team on 01706 924931.

Local History Centre

Discover the past for yourself first hand. Whether you’re interested in local history, want to trace your family roots or just want to know a little more about the street you live on, we can help you find out more. Our collections include maps, photographs, ephemera, archives and local newspapers on microfilm. Free internet access including is also available. Just pop in and our friendly staff will help with your enquiries.

Visitor Information Centre

Arts and Heritage Resource Centre

This is where we keep and care for our Museum, Art Gallery and Local Studies Collections. The centre is fully accessible and tours can be organised for small groups to visit. You can also arrange to meet a curator and get help with identifying and researching objects. The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 10am-5pm. Visits arranged by appointment only - ring 01706 641085 to book.

Don’t just stop in Touchstones Rochdale, let the Visitor Information Centre provide you with details of places to visit including local, regional and national attractions. Information about events and accommodation is available. We can also arrange group tours of Touchstones Rochdale and other local heritage venues. Call 01706 924928 to discuss your requirements.


In Touchstones Rochdale, we’re always looking for volunteers to help out both inside and outside of the building. Whether you’re helping out with our loans boxes, giving tours of the galleries, collecting feedback or supporting our workshops and activities, if you would like to get involved, please email

Floor Plan First Floor

Ground Floor

Local History Centre











Heritage Gallery

Visitor Information Centre Shop

The Art Café

Education Studio Performance Space

You are invited to touch exhibits where you see this sign. For safety reasons it is important that children are supervised at all times by an adult, particularly when touching exhibits. Thank you.


Art Gallery • Museum • Local History Centre • Visitor Information Centre Events Programme • Education Service • Shop • Cafe Where to find us A671 from Burnley






A640 from Milnrow and J21 - M62



















































dale Roch Hall n Tow



B n ET tio RE ta T ST s S ER S KE V RA







From Bury and Bolton
























A680 from Blackburn

A58 from Halifax


Train Station

A671 from Royton and Oldham

A58 from Sandbrook Park and J20 - M62

Contact Information


Main Reception: 01706 924492

Touchstones Rochdale is fully accessible for people using wheelchairs. There are three designated parking bays for blue badge holders outside the centre.

Visitor Information Centre: 01706 924928 Email: Online: Follow us on: Facebook (Touchstones Rochdale), Twitter (@Touchstones), Instagram (Touchstones_ Rochdale) and Pinterest (Touchstones Rochdale).

Opening Times Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm Art Cafe: 10am-4pm

FREE Admission Christmas hours: Closing at 3pm on Saturday 24 and 31 December 2016 Closed on: Monday 26, Tuesday 27 December 2016 & Monday 2 January 2017 Open as normal on 28-30 December 2016 and from 3 January 2017.

Travel Information Touchstones Rochdale is located close to Rochdale town centre approximately 5 to 10 minutes walk from Rochdale Transport Interchange with bus and tram access and 10 minutes from the Rochdale Railway Station. We are 10 minutes drive from J20-M62. Cycle parking is available outside Touchstones Rochdale with Pay & Display car parking available close by.

This information is available in large print on request. The Esplanade, Rochdale, OL16 1AQ

01706 924492

Link4Life is the trading name of Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust. Registered Charity No: 1118610

Touchstones Rochdale Brochure - October 2016 - March 2017  

Welcome to our exhibitions and events guide, listing everything happening at Touchstones Rochdale, and by our teams across the borough over...

Touchstones Rochdale Brochure - October 2016 - March 2017  

Welcome to our exhibitions and events guide, listing everything happening at Touchstones Rochdale, and by our teams across the borough over...