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23 October 2021 – 13 February 2022

The Rochdale Principles were laid out in 1844 by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers as a set of principles to operate by for co-operative movements the world over. Working with a group of Rochdale residents, via a series of workshops, conversations and an exploration of the Rochdale landscape and artefacts in Touchstones’ collection, Turner Prize-winning artist Helen Cammock, has created a film reconnecting these long-held ideals of shared responsibility to the communities living in the Borough today.

The landscape of Rochdale town and its surrounding areas form both background and foreground for a film that celebrates and interrogates what the principles of co-operation can bring to community.

We see the labour involved in sustaining biodiversity alongside the making of rice pudding from different continents; from elders of the community performing to young people boldly sitting themselves in the architectural infrastructure of the town; from one former Mayor of Rochdale to the Ukrainian Women’s Choir; from community supporters and activists to those accessing support.

Objects and paintings from Touchstones’ collection were catalysts for the conversations and stories told by Rochdale residents. These stories are the integral weave of  the film and some of these objects will also be on display, bringing the past, present and future hopes of Rochdale together.

Concrete Feathers and Porcelain Tacks looks to allow the stories, hopes and principles deeply sown within Rochdale’s histories and communities to be given a new context, looking at their relevance and resonance today. 

With the generous support of the Contemporary Art Society and the Mbili Foundation the film will enter the Borough’s permanent art collection.

Concrete Feathers and Porcelain Tacks was co-commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Contemporary Art Society (with support from the Mbili Foundation) and The Photographers’ Gallery, in partnership with Touchstones Rochdale. Supported by Arts Council England.

The work has been commissioned for the collection of Touchstones Rochdale as part of Equal Shares a collaboration between Film and Video Umbrella and Contemporary Art Society, supported by the Mbili Foundation, to enable museums and galleries in the north-west of England to commission, exhibit and acquire new moving image work by artists.

FVU Frames: Helen Cammock

As part of Film and Video Umbrella’s Frames series, Helen Cammock discusses how the Rochdale Principles inspired Concrete Feathers and Porcelain Tacks, and shares some insights into the making of the film.

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