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At Middleton Arena until 24 December

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@Link4Life

Winter Season Exhibitions launched at Touchstones Rochdale

junko-moriTwo new exhibitions have been launched at Touchstones Rochdale (Friday 12 December 2014) presenting work of Japanese artists Junko Mori, Kayo Saito and Ikuko Iwamoto (coming together for the first time) and Daksha Patel's beautiful and finely rendered drawings and prints.

A Common Ground showcases the work of: Junko Mori, Kayo Saito and Ikuko Iwamoto whose work exquisitely reflects and responds to the natural world.
Junko Mori's stunning sculptures each consist of multiples of individually forged steel, brought together to create free-standing and wall-mounted objects which vary in size from the small Cell series to large-scale works. Her detailed observations of tree and plant matter are the driving force behind her pieces.

One of the highlights of the show is Mori's 'Super Jumbo Nigella, Wave'. Made in 2011 from forged mild steel and then wax coated, this remains Mori's largest piece of work to date created at her studio in North Wales. Incorporating the repetition of an organic form, it also echoes the nature of a wave and was created as a response to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Mori's native Japan.
This piece of Mori's work was awarded to Touchstones Rochdale's Art Gallery Officer Yvonne Hardman through Art Fund Collect 2012, a competition for curators at the Craft Council's International Fair for contemporary objects supported by the Art Fund.

Adding to the exhibition, ceramicist Ikuko Iwamoto makes porcelain tableware and sculptural wall pieces based on the repetitive patterns such as those seen in cells and organic forms through the lens of a microscope. Kayo Saito's contemporary jewellery is influenced by plants and organic forms, whose apparent fragility, structure and vital energy stimulate her creativity. The exhibition includes some of Kayo's earlier work in polyester fibre together with pieces made in precious metals, the current focus of her practice.

This is the first time all three artists have exhibited together in a public gallery. Individually, they regularly exhibit their work in the UK and internationally at prestigious exhibitions and art fairs. Their work is represented in public and private collections around the world.

daksha-patelElsewhere, Daksha Patel's exhibition Bodytopos includes new work made in response to digital scans of the human body and to environmental datasets that predict changes in the physical landscape. Daksha's work explores different methods for mapping the human body and its interaction with the environment, often experimenting with the use of unstable materials to express a sense of change and movement. As well as mapping the human body, Daksha explores country and city landscapes in her Slip Drawings, monitoring climate change through her maps of newly formed deserts in Portugal and flood depth levels in Newcastle.

Both exhibitions will run until Saturday 7 March 2015.

Touchstones Rochdale is located in Rochdale town centre two minutes from the bus and metro stations. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, admission is free and facilities include a café and shop. Details of current exhibitions and events are available online at http://www.link4life.org/whats-on/touchstones-rochdale/exhibitions .

Touchstones Knitty Gritty group deck the halls with festive textiles

Members of the Knitty Gritty group have been busy creating a wealth of festive objects to embellish a winter garland at Touchstones Rochdale. The knitted and crochet festive decoration contains over 1000 metres of different coloured wools to decorate the staircase of Touchstones Rochdale's historic building.

The Knitty Gritty group, which meets on the last Tuesday of the month at Touchstones Rochdale, have been busy knitting a variety of items since August this year. The delicate hand-created items include Christmas puddings, stockings, holly leaves with berries, mistletoe, Christmas trees, winter roses and even carrots for Santa's reindeers.

The garland will be displayed throughout December before the group embark upon a fresh project in the New Year. Alison Cooper, Arts and Heritage Assistant, who organises the Knitty Gritty group said, "It's great to have unusual knitting projects to work on. So far the group have knitted lots of different items from children's cardigans for the charity Barnardos to knitted seaweed for an exhibition in the Art Gallery. We've even had a knitted version on four and twenty black birds baked in a pie!"

The group meets on the last Tuesday of the month at Touchstones Rochdale in Café Life from 2pm-3.30pm. The session is free, participants are just asked to buy a brew. Advanced and novice knitters alike are welcome to join in with their knitting, crochet and textile projects. The group pride themselves in sharing ideas, learning new practices and taking part in new challenges in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Touchstones Rochdale is managed by the Link4Life Cultural Trust and is located on The Esplanade, Rochdale, OL16 1AQ. We are open Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Middleton Arena date for Rich Hall

rich-hallGrouchy deadpan American comic Rich Hall returns to Middleton Arena next year with his brand new show. The quick witted star of television shows including 'QI', 'Stand up for the Week', 'Live at the Apollo' and 'Have I got news for you' will visit the arena on Friday 15 May as part of his nationwide '3:10 to Humour' tour.

Rich, a master of absurdist irony particularly likes to lay into Americans and life across the pond at every opportunity! Renowned for his expertly crafted tirades, quick fire banter and delightful musical sequences he won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000 and has been charming audiences around the world ever since.

He's recently starred in the critically acclaimed BBC TV documentaries 'Rich Hall's Continental Drifters' and 'How The West Was Lost' and he's always a popular guest on panel shows such as 'Mock the Week', '8 out of 10 cats' and 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks'.

Rich is well known in the United States for appearing and writing on The David Letterman Show - for which he won two Emmy Awards and was the inspiration behind Groening's character Moe Szyslak from The Simpsons.

An accomplished author, he's released three books and two hit live comedy DVDs. His last show at Middleton Arena (2009) was a sell-out.

Rich Hall - '3:10 to Humour' visits Middleton Arena at 8pm on Friday 15 May. Tickets are available online by calling 0844 855 4020. Or collect in person at the arena box office.

Daksha Patel: Bodytopos

fat-drawing-fat-upon-paper-2013Touchstones Rochdale presents Bodytopos, an exhibition of beautiful and finely rendered drawings and prints by artist Daksha Patel.

The exhibition includes new work made in response to digital scans of the human body and to environmental datasets that predict changes in the physical landscape. Daksha’s work explores different methods for mapping the human body and its interaction with the environment, often experimenting with the use of unstable materials to express a sense of change and movement. Clay, fat, graphite and natural pigments are drawn directly onto varied grounds such as vellum and latex to create drawings that are temporary.

Daksha Patel is a Manchester-based artist and a researcher at Northumbria University. Her work was featured in the Wellcome Trust exhibition ‘Brains: The Mind as Matter’ (2013) and she has undertaken residencies at The Christie Hospital, Manchester, and in the neuroscience laboratories at Kings College London.

With first-hand access to what our body looks like from the inside, Daksha’s work looks at the results of medical visualisation technologies and questions our fascination with seeing below the skin. “Being able to see inside the human body is still quite a powerful idea,” she says. “But does this make our bodies easier to understand or more complicated?”

As well as mapping the human body, Daksha explores country and city landscapes in her Slip Drawings, monitoring climate change through her maps of newly formed deserts in Portugal and flood depth levels in Newcastle.

Bodytopos will open on 13 December 2014 and run until 7 March 2015. Touchstones Rochdale is located in Rochdale town centre two minutes from the bus and metro stations. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, admission is free and facilities include a café and shop. Details of current exhibitions and events are available online at www.link4life.org/whats-on/touchstones-rochdale.

A Common Ground

Touchstones Rochdale present together for the first time the work of Junko Mori, Kayo Saito and Ikuko Iwamoto, three makers from Japan whose work exquisitely reflects and responds to the natural world.

Junko Mori's stunning sculptures each consist of multiples of individually forged steel, brought together to create free-standing and wall-mounted objects which vary in size from the small Cell series to large-scale works. Her detailed observations of tree and plant matter are the driving force behind her pieces.

Ceramicist Ikuko Iwamoto makes porcelain tableware and sculptural wall pieces based on the repetitive patterns such as those seen in cells and organic forms through the lens of a microscope.

Kayo Saito's contemporary jewellery is influenced by plants and organic forms, whose apparent fragility, structure and vital energy stimulate her creativity. The exhibition includes some of Kayo's earlier work in polyester fibre together with pieces made in precious metals, the current focus of her practice.

Each of the artists studied in Japan before relocating to the UK to continue their education – Ikuko at Camberwell College of Arts and the Royal College of Art; Junko at Camberwell and Kayo at the Royal College of Art – and each has gone on to receive great acclaim for their highly skilled, intricate and unique work.

This is the first time all three artists have exhibited together in a public gallery. Individually, they regularly exhibit their work in the UK and internationally at prestigious exhibitions and art fairs. Their work is represented in public and private collections around the world.

A Common Ground will open on Saturday 13 December 2014 and run until Saturday 7 March 2015. The exhibition is part of Touchstones Rochdale's Contemporary Forward programme supported by Arts Council England.

Touchstones Rochdale is located in Rochdale town centre two minutes from the bus and metro stations. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, admission is free and facilities include a café and shop. Details of current exhibitions and events are available online at http://www.link4life.org/whats-on/touchstones-rochdale .

Call goes out for sponsors to get Daniel on the road to Paralympic success

disabled-sports-achiever-of-the-year-winner-daniel-wain-and-joanna-rowsell-mbeVolunteers are needed to take part in a sponsored 'Bocciathon'. The event will help talented young athlete Daniel Wain – and winner of this year's Young Disabled Sports Achiever – to take up his place on the Boccia England Squad and attend training camps and competitions.

23 year old Daniel, from Rochdale, is a Powerchair user and has cerebral palsy affecting him physically down one side of his body. He has been playing Boccia for around eight years, is captain of the local club Rochdale Boccias and trains daily. Earlier this year he was offered a place on the England Squad having come third in the 2014 Great Britain Boccia Championships.

Anyone can support the sponsored Bocciathon which will take place at Kingsway Park Sports Centre, off Turf Hill Road in Rochdale, on a choice of two consecutive Saturdays – 29 November and 6 December – from 9am-5pm. A donation of £3 is required to take part and 30 minute or one hour playing slots will be allocated on one of the days. Daniel has to play 24 hours of Boccia in one week and volunteers are needed to play against him.

A Paralympic sport since 1984 and played worldwide, Boccia is a target game with similar characteristics to Bowls. Designed specifically for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function, it is played indoors and athletes throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball onto the court with the aim of getting closest to a 'jack' ball. It can be played in teams, in pairs, and individually.

Daniel's journey to success started last December when he competed in the North West Regional Championships, organised by Boccia England. From there he qualified for the National Championships, the pinnacle of the England Boccia competition season, where he took on top players from across the country to compete for the national title.

Link4Life Disability Sports Development Officer, Graeme Hill, who has played a leading role in developing the sport of Boccia in the Rochdale borough, spoke about Daniel's success. "Dan has got a great future ahead of him in the sport and it is really exciting to see him do so incredibly well and be able to fully enjoy all the experiences that participating in sport can bring. He has worked exceptionally hard to reach the standard necessary at this level of competition. Getting to these competitions and training events presents special challenges for Daniel and adds significantly to his costs both in transport and accommodation and a mobile hoist and a set of boccia balls alone costs around £1,000."

Recently narrowly missing out on taking the honours at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards, Daniel is looking forward to planning his future in the Boccia world. He said, "Being part of something like the GB Championships has really opened my eyes to the opportunities that are there for me. I intend to carry on with my training and hopefully work towards a place on the Great Britain Boccia squad at the Paralympics in Brazil in 2016."

To register to take part contact Amy, Disability Activities Coordinator at Link4Life on 07580 758078 or Nes from Rochdale Boccias on 07917 518236. Donations can also be made online at www.GoFundMe.com/danielwain.

Santa Claus is coming to Touchstones Rochdale

64227-touchstones-santas-grottoSanta Claus is coming to town, so come and take part in the family festive fun at Touchstones Rochdale.

On Saturday 6 December, 10am-5pm, visit Santa's Grotto at Touchstones Rochdale for only £6.50 per child. Price includes: a story with Santa in his magical grotto; meeting Santa's elves who will help you create a Christmas craft; writing your wish and placing it on the Christmas tree; meeting Santa and receiving an age appropriate gift to take home.

This event is suitable for all ages but spaces are limited and booking is essential. Timeslots are every 45 minutes from 10am-12.15pm and 1pm-4.45pm. Bookings can be made in person or by telephone to Rochdale Visitor Information Centre 01706 924928 (Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm). (Please note we are unable to change bookings once they have been made or to offer refunds due to Santa's popularity).

Touchstones Rochdale is managed by the Link4Life Cultural Trust and is located on The Esplanade, Rochdale, OL16 1AQ. We are open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission is free.

Rugby League Heritage on Tour visits Rochdale as star attraction of Heritage Festival

rugby-league-heritage-2Rochdale's pioneering role in rugby league history will be celebrated when the brand new 'Rugby League Heritage On Tour' exhibition visits the town on 2 December for two weeks.

Rochdale Hornets are one of rugby league's historic clubs. Formed in 1871 it is one of the oldest rugby clubs in Britain and a founder member of the Northern Union. In 1924 The town hosted 41,831 spectators in the Challenge Cup Final at the Athletic Grounds and in 1929, the ground held an unprecedented fourth Great Britain versus Australia test match which saw Great Britain win the Ashes.

rugby-league-heritage-3Internationalism has always been at the centre of the club's ethos as Hornets blazed a trail in the 1960s by bringing in great players from Fiji. In 2013, Rochdale staged one of most unforgettable matches of the Rugby League World Cup. There is no doubting that this is a region that is part of the very heartbeat of the greatest game of all.

At the centre of Rochdale Hornets' 2014 Heritage Celebration, the Rugby League Heritage on Tour exhibition opens on December 2nd and continues until 17 December 17 at Rochdale's Spotland Stadium. It tells the story of the game, its players and supporters and, most importantly, the communities that made the sport.

As well as historic memorabilia, including a player's shirt from the first-ever rugby league test match and the ball from the famous 1954 Challenge Cup final replay, the exhibition tells the story of the game's split from rugby union, the first World Cup, the banning of league in World War Two France and much, much more.

The exhibition's lead curator, Rugby League Cares' Heritage Manager Victoria Dawson, said: "This exhibition is different from other exhibitions that have gone before it because this tells not just the story of players and things that have happened on the pitch. As important as that is, rugby league is about more than just the product on the field. Rugby league's history is the history of the people and this exhibition draws together the stories from the social and cultural history of the sport and incorporates brand new research, so even the most ardent rugby league fan will learn something new. The fantastic thing about a touring exhibition is that it means more of the rugby league family get to share in the history of our beloved sport."

On Sunday 7 December, from 2:30pm until 3pm, anyone interested in local history can get details of an exciting new volunteer project taking place in Rochdale that literally aims to put Rochdale's community and rugby league history on the map! Then, from 3pm until 5:30pm there will be a Hornets Heritage Show and Tell event, giving fans the opportunity to bring in photographs and memorabilia and share their memories of rugby in the area, and get the chance to chat to the exhibition's head curator, Rugby League Cares' Heritage Manager, Victoria Dawson.

Themed 'Brothers in Arms' to recognise the centenary of the start of the First World War, the second annual Heroes of Hornets induction will take place on Thursday 11 December, and pay tribute those who have made a heroic contribution to the club throughout its history. The evening will include a showing of rare, recently discovered, 1914 Rorke's Drift Australia & New Zealand Tour footage - where Hornets' own Walter Roman toured with England and will be followed by presentations to this year's inductees.

Whether you're a rugby league fan or a lover of social history, this is an exhibition not to be missed.

For more information and tickets to the Heroes of Hornets induction please contact the club on 01706 648004.

Rochdale's walking football team stroll into regional finals

rochdale-strollers-at-northern-regional-finalsThe 'Rochdale Strollers' walking football team has taken part in the first national walking football tournament competing in the Northern area regional final.

The Rochdale team is made up of regular players in the Walking Football sessions organised by Link4Life. Twenty-six teams competed up and down the country, all taking part in their regions.

Teams from Blackpool, Barnsley and Rochdale, who had all qualified for the Northern finals, met at the Blackburn soccer dome to compete for a place at the national final in London with the honours going to Barnsley after four very competitive games.

Described as "a slower version of the beautiful game" walking football is fast growing in popularity as described by Paul Gardner, Health Activities Officer at Link4Life. "Walking Football is proving very popular with older men who have dropped out of competitive football and this provides them with the chance to get back into the game. The Rochdale team is made up of many players who are recovering from strokes and other long-term conditions and are proof that nothing can stand in your way if you want to play football in the future."

Steve Colesby who played in the tournament for Rochdale said "It was a great experience for many of the guys who had not played competitive football for many years and some who thought they never would again." Top scorer and player of the tournament for Rochdale was David Mellor with two goals.

Link4Life, who run the walking football sessions in partnership with the Stroke Association and Rochdale AFC, are always looking for new players of all ages and abilities. "It isn't necessary to have any experience of the game to take up walking football and it's a great way to keep fit in a very social and fun environment," explained Paul Gardner.

Sessions are held at Rochdale Leisure Centre every Thursday from 10am–11am and also at Kingsway Park Sports Centre every Wednesday from 5pm-6pm. For information contact Paul Gardner Health Activities Officer at Link4Life on 01706 926235.

Full line up revealed for the Rochdale Town Centre Christmas Lights Switch-On

the-mendThe packed line up for the annual Rochdale Town Centre Christmas Lights Switch On has been announced, with Littleborough singer and X-Factor star Danny Dearden, Britain's Got Talent boy band 'The Mend'and Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn all set for the show.

The event, which this year takes place on Saturday 22 November, is a firm favourite with locals, with thousands turning out.

The fun kicks off at 3.30pm, with a magical lantern parade led by Katie McGlynn and the Lightning McQueen character, star of the Pixar Film, Cars. The parade, which also stars pupils from Holy Trinity, Broadfield and Hamer primary schools and children's TV favourite Peppa Pig, will start at the top of Yorkshire Street. From there, the parade will make its way down to The Butts for live performances on the stage between 4 and 5pm, followed by the switch on and a spectacular firework display.

Rochdale Town Centre Manager and event organiser Mark Foxley said: "This year we wanted to showcase our local pride and give the public a free event the whole family can come down and enjoy. We have a fantastic line up to kick start the festivities and special thanks to Rochdale Borough Council for their support and funding.

"We hope families will make a full day of the event and do some early Christmas shopping in the town centre beforehand and stay afterwards for a bite to eat. We have some great venues in the town centre including The Baum – voted best pub in the UK, La Mancha, Madison's and The Flying Horse Hotel to name a few. We also have over 80 fabulous independent shops and 60 high street names."

Boy band 'The Mend' said: "We're really looking forward to performing in Rochdale. We have been in the studio for a while working on our album so we can't wait to get back on stage, particularly at such a fantastic event as the Christmas Lights Switch On....so let's get Rochdale rocking!"

Rapper Kris, who lives in Middleton, said: "It's an honour to perform so close to home and to be part of the best festive party in town!"

Other local artists set to perform on the main stage include The Carers Resource Choir, Turners Dance Studio and characters from the Cinderella Pantomime at the Middleton Arena. The Big Switch On itself, at 5pm, will be carried out by all the artists along with The Mayor of Rochdale, Cllr Carol Wardle, and players from the Rochdale Hornets Rugby League.

Councillor Richard Farnell, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: "This is a fantastic free event for all the family which has always been given the thumbs up by our residents. Hot on its heels will be late night shopping, the Wheatsheaf Christmas markets and a fantastic family day featuring Santa and his reindeer on Saturday 6th December. I'd encourage everyone to come along and celebrate the festivities in style."

The lights switch on is the first event in the Rochdale Town Centre Christmas programme, full details of which, along with late night opening hours, can be found in the programme guide available in shops or on www.rochdaletowncentre.co.uk/christmas.  

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 13/14/2014.