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“Food brings people together, makes memories, and expresses love and care… no matter where the recipe comes from.”

Heirloom Food Project

As part of the redevelopment work taking place at Touchstones Rochdale, we’re delighted to announce details of a major new co-curation project – The Dining Room (working title) – a space where food, socialising, art and heritage combine.

The Dining Room space will explore our local collections via the lens of food, transforming what used to be a mostly unchanging museum display into an evolving collections display. Through working with 20 Community Curators, we’ll discover stories of our shared heritage that are currently missing from our collections, as well as celebrating the everyday objects that have an important place in our lives.

All elements of The Dining Room visitor experience will be up for discussion, from the food menu to the furniture!

We’ll be recruiting the 20 paid Community Curators through our partners – Awakening Minds, Theatre in Flow, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing and the Association of Ukrainians Great Britain: Rochdale Branch, with a further ten young people from Rochdale Youth Service invited to join in as Young Curators. We’ll also work with delivery partner the Co-operative Heritage Trust, who are a major part of the food heritage story of Rochdale.

We will also work with two artists to create two exciting new installations for The Dining Room space – a digital installation inspired by the sadly destroyed original stained glass portraits, and a second installation which will see food heritage-related objects suspended from the ceiling. The Young Curators will work with an artist to develop a textile commission inspired by Rochdale’s industrial history.

The Dining Room has been made possible by a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of just under £250,000, thanks to National Lottery players.

Heritage Inspired Artist Commissions

As we transform the museum, we are teaming up with representatives from various Rochdale communities to ensure their input shapes every part of the redesigned museum. We are also seeking to commission artists who will collaborate with key community members, as well as working with them, to create three artistic projects that respond to the unique heritage of the space. This inclusive approach involves a diverse range of voices in the transformation process and celebrating the distinct cultural history that defines Rochdale.

For more information on the artist commissions, see the links below.