Touchstones Rochdale has announced its plans for the temporary closure of the building for extensive redevelopment, working together with Rochdale Borough Council and Rochdale Development Agency. The planned works are part of over £8.5 million invested into arts and culture in the borough over the next three years thanks to Arts Council England funding.
Touchstones was also recently named as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, securing funding for the next three years of cultural delivery.
The historic Grade II listed building is home to five temporary galleries, which has showcased some of the world’s most talented artists over the years, as well as housing dedicated learning and event spaces, Local Studies Centre providing access to a wide range of archival material, a museum area and a café.
The Local Studies Centre will be temporarily closing on Saturday 13 May, with the team moving the archives to a new location of Sparth Community Centre throughout May and June. All previous facilities including computer access and the archives will be available in the previously unused space at Sparth Community Centre, which will also temporarily become home to Touchstones’ Creative Education team.
The museum exhibitions will close to the public on Saturday 3 June, with all exhibits and artifacts moved to storage facilities for safe keeping during the redevelopment process.
Touchstones’ galleries will close with two final exhibitions running from Saturday 3 June to Saturday 12 August, after which the doors to the building will be closed for approximately 18 months whilst the redevelopment is carried out.
During this time, the Touchstones team will work to bring the collections and activities to people’s communities, with a full programme to be announced soon.
Mark Doyle, Head of Arts, Engagement and Heritage at Touchstones Rochdale, commented on the redevelopment, “We’re really excited about the redevelopment plans for Touchstones, the building is a much-loved piece of history within Rochdale and its communities, and we can’t wait to see the improvements made for the future.
“Closing the building for a significant amount of time is never the ideal option, but the teams are working hard to coordinate activities and groups to ensure we’re still working across the borough throughout the redevelopment.
“It’s a process which has involved a lot of planning to cause minimal disruption whilst still providing a beacon of community activities in as much capacity as possible. It’s an exciting time and we can’t wait to see the end result,”
The redevelopment of the building will create a more sustainable building, provide more space for community groups and artists, and also allow a fresh and exciting way for visitors to engage with the collections on display. There will be a new flexible performance and production spaces for artists, and improved areas for training, live events and exhibitions. It will also get a new retail and catering offer along with improvements to displays, archives, collections and public access.
The final exhibitions include the latest instalment in the film series Leviathan Cycle from artist Shezad Dawood, and taking over gallery three and four is Berlin-based artist and contemporary painter, Helene Appel, showcasing her aesthetic depiction of ordinary objects from everyday life.
The Cultural Development Fund is a Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) fund administered by Arts Council England. The Capital Investment Programme is funded by Arts Council England and The National Lottery Fund.