“Free-for-All” Campaign

Published on: July 27th 2022

Cultural venue, Touchstones Rochdale, is giving residents free reign over the summer holidays.

Managed by Your Trust, staff at the stunning Grade II listed building are working with Leeds-based artist Harry Meadley to launch the very first “Free-for-All” campaign, giving community groups and residents complete access to use the venue’s gallery space for their own activities and events completely free of charge.

Over the next three months, the museum and gallery space will play host to a range of activities, with its wall spaces being given over to the public for them to share their own artistic contributions.

The inaugural “Free-for-All” campaign, commissioned by artist, Harry Meadley in partnership with Touchstones Rochdale, will run until Sunday 11th September. It will offer Rochdale residents the chance to “take over” the museum, contribute artwork and host events as well as community activities during the summer holidays.

Activities include something for everyone from dog days in the gallery space, a street-art mural opening to parkour workshops and circus performers, as plenty of free art and craft materials for visitors to use to make their own masterpieces. The campaign kicked off with a Family Vogue Ball on Saturday 23rdJuly.

The ‘We Want Your Art’ exhibit runs throughout the whole campaign, inviting residents, visitors, children, and aspiring artists to bring in their own masterpieces to be displayed in one of the Touchstones galleries.

Mark Doyle, Head of Arts at Touchstones Rochdale, said of the campaign: “We’re excited to be handing Touchstones over to the community in Harry Meadley’s very first Free-for-All campaign. This is going to be a great way for everyone to get involved in cultural activities throughout the summer, as well as providing a space for socialising and experimenting.

“We’re also really proud that all of our events are completely free to the public. There really will be something for everyone at Touchstones this summer, and we can’t wait to kick things off!” 

Gallery 1 will feature series of pop-up exhibitions by Rochdale-based artists and organisations such as the Nigeria Community Association, dedicated to celebrating collaboration and co-operation. It will also play host to key services and training sessions run by Action Together and Healthwatch Rochdale.

‘We Want Your Art’ can be found in Gallery 2, where visitors can contribute their own artwork and have it displayed. There will also be a permanent “open mic” for visitors who have something to say or perform or who wish to organise their own events. 

To develop the ‘Free-for-All’ project, several pop-up exhibitions and mini workshops took place at community spaces throughout Rochdale. The ‘Shared Space’ exhibit in Gallery 3 is dedicated to a series of images of these events taken by artist, Harry Meadley. 

Gallery 4 will act as a temporary Civic Hall where larger events and gatherings will be staged throughout Free-for-All. When not in use for these events the space will act as a youth centre with arts materials and regular activities and features a large scale wall mural by young people from the Creative Teens Sessions regularly hosted at Castleton Library.

More information on the events taking place as part of the ‘Free-for-All’ campaign can be found via: https://www.yourtrustrochdale.co.uk/free-for-all/