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Welcome to Touchstones, Rochdale’s premier arts and heritage venue, situated in a Grade 2 listed building in the heart of Rochdale. Our vibrant space houses an accredited museum, galleries, a café, and versatile education and event areas. Each year, we proudly welcome over 42,000 visitors.

Last year, Touchstones was honoured to be named an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation for the first time in our history. This recognition is a testament to our commitment to enriching the local community through arts and culture.

Currently undergoing an exciting refurbishment, we are eager to reopen our doors and invite you into a revitalized space that reflects and celebrates creativity in Rochdale. You can read all about our development plans here.

In the meantime, keep an eye on our News page for ongoing developments and our social media pages to see what you might be able to get involved with out and about across the Borough! Or why not take a listen to The Touchstones Tapes, our very own podcast, and immerse yourself in Rochdale’s cultural and artistic heritage!

Creativity for Community

At Touchstones, our definition of culture embraces all aspects of creativity. We want to be inclusive, encompassing, exciting and entertaining, for everyone, everywhere. We believe in creativity as a force for change and a human right. We want to be more relevant in the lives of local people, harnessing art to strengthen our communities, improve our health and wellbeing and bring us all joy.

We are passionate about working with local people, coming together with new and diverse communities as equal creative partners on the creation of new artwork, the curation of public programmes, and the research, interpretation and growth of our collections.

Check out some of our latest co-creation projects, such as The Dining Room and Free-for-All, and look forward to the 2025 iteration, Side-by-Side!

Art for Change

Rochdale is the birthplace of the Co-Operative Movement, and we are proud to uphold and take inspiration from our local history. Touchstones has a longstanding reputation for its approach to contemporary art in a social and political context, from furthering feminism to tackling climate change.

Read more about some of our amazing recent projects: Earth Day 2024; Dippy-on-Tour; Hybrid Futures.

World-Class Collections and Artists

We are proud of the calibre of the world class artists we commission and whose artworks we present and acquire, including Helen Cammock, Jasleen Kaur, Liz Collins and Rachel Kneebone to name just a few. Last year, we were delighted to be named as the Partner Museum for the National Gallery Artist in Residence award.

In addition, we are committed to empowering emerging artists with socially engaged practices, including those currently under-represented. See our recent project with Jasleen Kaur, Gut Feelings Meri Jaan, here.

We cherish our assets and collections, and are working to ensure our reach is wide as well as deep, through digital dimensions, collaboration and touring.

Our Partners

As well as co-creating our artwork, collections and programmes with local people, we are proud to work alongside a range of wonderful partners to achieve our creative vision, including:

  • Local Creative and Cultural partners: Co-Operative Heritage Trust; Rochdale Town Hall; Breaking Barriers; Hopwood Hall College & University Centre; Skylight Circus Arts; M6 Theatre Company; Cartwheel Arts; Creative Health and Wellbeing Ltd, and many more
  • National Creative and Cultural Partners: National Portrait Gallery; Tate Britain; National Galleries Scotland; Natural History Museum
  • Community partners: Arcon Housing; Petrus; Positive Steps; local schools
  • Funding partners: Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Trust, Arts Council England, Art Fund_
  • Rochdale Borough Council

We are also proud to host Create Rochdale, the Local Cultural Education Partnership for Rochdale, a partnership of organisations working together to enable arts, education and youth professionals to work collaboratively and ensure young people have access to high quality cultural education. You can sign-up to their newsletter here.

We also host Rochdale Borough’s Culture-Coop, a network of artists, cultural organisations, and local residents across Rochdale Borough. Through this network, we empower communities to decide what counts as art and culture, where it happens, who makes it, and who experiences it.

Join us in celebrating and creating a vibrant cultural future for Rochdale!