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Touchstones Rochdale offers a wide variety of exhibitions in the Heritage Gallery and the Art Gallery's four gallery spaces including those from the local community, selections from the borough's impressive art collection and work by contemporary artists.

Here's the current and forthcoming programme.

We have also archived our previous exhibition information.

Exhibitions from the borough’s collections

See artworks and objects from the borough's rich collections in annually changing displays.

Jarred: Ceramics from the collection

ikuko iwamoto teapotUntil Saturday 1 October 2016
Heritage Gallery

Our homes are filled with ceramics. From teapots to tiles, baking bowls to bricks, prized ornaments to studio pieces, this exhibition celebrates their diversity. Jarred looks at how ceramics help us in our everyday lives, telling their story from 4000BC to the present day. Discover how ceramics have been used in social and religious rituals and to commemorate events, places or people. Explore the decorative styles that have influenced their design. Learn how bricks were locally produced on an industrial scale to build Lancashire's famous mills and terraces.

Ancient Roman and Egyptian pottery as well as Chinese and English porcelain can be seen in the display cases. Highlights include an ancient Greek vase attributed to the Swing Painter as well as new acquisitions by contemporary ceramists Paul Scott and Ikuko Iwamoto. Younger visitors can follow the White Rabbit and join Alice at the Mad Hatter's tea party as well as laugh out loud at the tale of the tipper toilet and the naughty school boy.

Women Artists: From 1861 to 2015

women artist exhibitionSaturday 19 March 2016 - Saturday 4 March 2017
Gallery Two 

This exhibition presents a selection of art from the Borough’s collection, charting and celebrating the Art Gallery’s history of collecting work by women. Drawing on this strength, and tracing the role gender has played in the production of art, the exhibition looks at how the formal and conceptual concerns of female artists have changed from the late 19th century to the present day. It includes work by Henrietta Ward, Dorothea Sharp, Laura Knight, Stella Magarshack, Gillian Ayres, Lubaina Himid, Maud Sulter, Cornelia Parker, Junko Mori and Hayley Tompkins.  

Explore our under 5s interactive boxes in the Art Gallery with tactile toys and beautiful books linked to the exhibition.

Exhibitions from the local community

Gallery One is a dedicated space for exhibitions by artists and community groups based in the borough and People's Art is the annual open exhibition.

We welcome applications for Gallery One exhibitions from anyone who lives or works in the borough of Rochdale - just ask for an application form.

Hannah Leighton-Boyce: Instruments of Industry

25 March - 11 June 2016
Gallery Three

As a recipient of a New Opportunities Award, artist Hannah Leighton-Boyce has developed a sound based work in response to the Museums' collection of historic hand-tools.

'Instruments of Industry' explores the resonance of these 'disembodied' tools within their elevation to museum objects.

The New Opportunities Award was developed in 2014 by New Expressions and Contemporary Visual Arts Network, working in partnership with Visual Arts South West. It aims to create innovative partnerships for organisations in the heritage sector as well as new ways of working for artists.

This project is part of a larger group of exhibitions funded by New Expressions.

Visit for further information.

You can also find Hannah on Twitter at @HannahL_B


new expressions logo


Jerwood Makers Open

Installation View, Jerwood Makers Open 2015, Jerwood Space, London. Courtesy Jerwood Charitable Foundation. Photo Anna Arca. Jasleen Kaur, Marbled Busts, Polyurethane plastic and pigment, 2015Saturday 25 March - Saturday 11 June 2016
Gallery Four

Five exciting new talents in contemporary applied arts will première works in a group exhibition to mark the fifth edition of Jerwood Makers Open. Zachary Eastwood-Bloom, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, Jasleen Kaur, Ian McIntyre and Silo Studios all received awards to realise significant new projects.

Jerwood Makers Open promotes the significance of making and materials within the visual arts arena, seeking to support exceptional skill and imagination. It looks broadly at how contemporary artists are defining or challenging the boundaries of what has traditionally been described as applied arts.


dandelion group28 May - 27 August 2016
Gallery One

Cartwheel Arts deliver creative user-led support projects and courses across Greater Manchester. ‘Ours’ celebrates the work of the Rochdale Borough, user-led groups Art & Soul, Dandelion and Animation at RBUF. Animation, woodwork, paintings, paperwork and sculptural pieces explore what is important to the participants, over a number of themed projects.

Moving Up

moving up hopwood hall3 September - 12 November 2016

Gallery One

This exhibition showcases the talents of students studying on the Art & Design courses at Hopwood Hall College. It features a wide variety of work from paintings and drawings through to textiles, ceramics and sculptures.

Tall Tales

tall tales a humming in the ears2 July - 3 September 2015
Gallery Three & Four

'Tall Tales' is a national tour of 17 international women artists who playfully use storytelling techniques. The Touchstones Rochdale 'Tall Tales' exhibition is presented in partnership with Rochdale Central Library.

Lauren Sagar and Sharon Campbell's The Chandelier of Lost Earrings will be on display at the library and Lauren Sagar's

Call for Cloth project will seek public participation across both venues.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to take part.


Follow on Twitter @TallTalesTour and #TallTales

Also visit  

People's Art 2016

peoples art 201624 September - 19 November 2016
Gallery Three & Four

Our popular annual open exhibition for new and established artists, both amateur and professional, who live or work in the borough of Rochdale returns.

The dates for handing in art to feature in the exhibition are Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 September 2016.