The Rochdale Pioneers Museum and Touchstones Rochdale need your votes to bring one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, Susan Forsyth, to the town after being shortlisted for the national Museums at Night Connect10 competition.
If the Rochdale bid is successful, a ‘Zusammen Choir Procession’, led by Forsyth and involving the whole community, will take place around Rochdale town centre. The procession route will take in St Chad’s Church, moving through Broadfield Park to Touchstones Arts and Heritage Centre, along the Esplanade past the iconic Rochdale Town Hall, travelling up Yorkshire Street and finally ending at the Toad Lane Conservation Area, home of St Mary’s in the Baum Church and the Rochdale Pioneers Museum.
Rochdale is competing against Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Liverpool’s Victoria Museum and Gallery and Sheffield’s Kelham Island Museum, and the decision will go to a public vote. Voting opens at 11am on Tuesday 19 February and closes on Tuesday 5 March at 5pm. To vote for Rochdale visit the website Museums at night and choose the button Rochdale Pioneers Museum & Touchstones Rochdale. The winner will be announced on Friday 7 March.
Zusammen means ‘together’, and the candlelit procession is fitting with the Pioneers story and struggles during the 1840s, where 28 people worked together to change their lives by opening a co-operative store selling pure food at fair prices and honest weights and measures. The store opened on 21 December 1844 and had to be lit by candle light because the gas company refused to supply the Pioneers with gas.
The procession will involve local school children, individuals, community groups, choirs and musicians performing songs that highlight the legendary tales of St Chad’s Goblin, John Bright’s campaign to end slavery, the mysterious tale of the Baum rabbit, Touchstones, the Rochdale Pioneers and the global co-operative movement.
The Connect10 competition invited museums up and down the country to bid for one of 10 leading artists to stage an innovative night-time event during the Museums at Night Festival, which will be held across the UK during the evenings of Thursday, Friday and Saturday 16-18 May. During the annual after-hours festival of arts, culture and heritage, hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites open their doors for special evening events.
Rochdale’s bid has been developed in partnership with Link4Life, Rochdale Town Centre Management Company and the Rochdale Borough High Street Foundation. Regardless of the outcome of the Connect10 competition, a series of events will take place throughout the Museums at Night Festival, including a proposed Twilight Market and extended opening times until 8pm in the towns’ arts and heritage venues, including Touchstones, Rochdale Town Hall and the Rochdale Pioneers Museum. The Connect10 competition is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
For more information about Touchstones Rochdale visit www.link4life.org/touchstones or call 01706 924998.