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Touchstones is delighted to be delivering Cultural Routes, a professional development programme, designed to support the work of over 50s creative practitioners and artists in Rochdale, with funding from GMCVO’s Ambition for Ageing. The programme has been designed in collaboration with The Turnpike.

Cultural Routes invites over 50s creative practitioners from the borough of Rochdale to develop their creative practice through a professional development programme. Throughout the programme, they will be supported and mentored by a lead professional dance artist to design a series of workshops to engage older members of the local community. With support from the artist, the creative practitioners will create a final creative outcome incorporating dance and visual art, inspired by the collections at Touchstones.

Through an open call, Touchstones have commissioned Ruth Jones as the Lead Artist for this project, who will be leading on the conceptual themes as well as taking on a mentoring role with two local creatives Lili Rushton and Sandra Williams. The commission is exclusively led by and for people over the age of 50. Together with Ruth, they will work collaboratively to develop, design and deliver the creative workshops for over 50s. The work they are developing will be presented at the Age-Friendly event in May 2020 at Manchester Central Library.

Over the course of the Cultural Routes project, Touchstones will be working with people over the age of 50 from our local community who are interested in getting involved in creating a new piece of dance with a professional dance artist. The first workshop is on the 12 March 2020, 6-8pm at Touchstones Rochdale, no previous experience necessary.

“To rewrite the story of old age (from a narrative of loss or deficit to one of aspiration and growth) is a bold aspiration, but Greater Manchester is, and always has been, a progressive and ambitious place…there is an opportunity to develop a new campaign and narrative that draws upon both the lived experience of older people and some of the most creative and imaginative writers, artists and performers living and working today.” – Esme Ward, Manchester Museum.