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Do you have a passion for heritage, culture, food, and your local community? Would you like to help us reimagine our museum space to represent more diverse stories? Then becoming a Community Curator might be for you!


2023 is an exciting year for Touchstones as we start on our first major refurbishment in over 20 years. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund the project will transform our spaces, tailoring them to the needs of Rochdale’s communities as they are today.

We will completely reimagine our traditional museum space from a static display focused on a narrow interpretation of Rochdale’s heritage, to an engaging and vibrant space. Touchstones will be re-designed to be welcoming to all communities, and to tell the heritage stories of Rochdale’s diverse cultures. Using the unifying theme of food, the space will become a communal eating area complete with a café and spaces for food-related activities. We’ll develop inventive displays that will draw on often unseen items from our museum collection, complemented by the stories and contributions of local communities. Throughout the refurbishment we will be working with representatives from diverse communities across Rochdale to inform and shape every aspect of the reimagined museum.

We will also commission artists to work with the Community Curators create three new artworks (one digital, one textile and one installation) responding to the food theme and unique heritage of the space being restored. We will be inviting 16 people from Rochdale communities to play a key role as Community Curators in order to shape this exciting project.


• To collaborate with us through events and workshops sharing food, memories and learning about Rochdale’s food histories together to develop the key themes and stories to feature in Touchstones’ transformed museum space (working title ‘The Dining Room’).

• To help us creatively shape The Dining Room’s displays, menu, tableware, furnishing, learning resources, and live programming based on your own stories and heritage.

• To draw on the collections of Touchstones and Rochdale Borough to plan the displays, as well as including stories, objects, recipes or traditions important to your own community.

• To engage with your wider community as part of the Research and Development process through a series of ‘sharing days’ potentially as part of wider events taking place in your communities/ Rochdale e.g. Windrush Day (June), Africa Day (May), South Asian Heritage Month (July/August), Holodomor Memorial Day (November), Black History Month (Oct), Feel Good Family Picnic (July), Heritage Open Days (Sept) to name a few examples.

No prior experience is necessary as we are looking for people able to offer fresh insights on our work. Just bring an interest in heritage and a passion for your local community’s food stories. There will be opportunities for training and to learn new skills, and you’ll form part of a core community group shaping the future of Touchstones new eating space.

There may be opportunities to remain involved in The Dining Room beyond this initial project period, through our programme of events and workshops. We will work with you to access these.

Period of engagement

• January 24th 2024 – July 26th 2025

Level of commitment

We anticipate involving you for 37 half-day sessions during the project period but this will be spread over many months. This will be roughly two sessions a month from January 2024 until July 2025. We aim to make timings as flexible as possible.

From July 2025 to July 2026 we will be delivering events inspired by the collections and artworks on show, and you might participate in some of these events.


We value your time and commitment and are offering £18 p/h for your involvement in these sessions plus expenses for food and travel. The total fee will be roughly £2,300 each if you attend for the whole project, paid in instalments every three months. If this affects your benefits or pension we can reimburse your time through other means.

There is an additional access budget if required, please chat with us if you have questions about this.

If you have any worries or questions about the project you can contact Rachael,

Find out more from Riz Ali, our Cultural Community Curator and Rachael Burns, our Curatorial and Community Engagement Coordinator, who discuss the project in depth below:

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The deadline for applications has now closed.