Activating the Turnpike

Working closely with Director Helen Stalker, the gallery team, the Leigh community, and artists, we played a role in shaping a new direction for The Turnpike, as an artist-led testing ground — a place of healing, learning and creative exchange, that operates beyond its walls and throughout the town.

The Turnpike is a vibrant cultural center in Leigh — a new organisation that draws on a 50-year history of art practice, based in an iconic 1970s brutalist building. We envision the gallery as a vital cultural and community resource, which acts as a catalyst connecting artists with the people of Leigh to simultaneously support artistic development and education at every stage.

We evaluated existing plans, devising best mechanisms and new strategies for deeper, wider and more resonant local community engagement, adapting the static exhibition model for something more nimble, ambitious and reflective of the needs of local people, whilst financially supporting and developing artists.

Our work helped to form the Turnpike’s ‘Activations’ programme, creating moments where artists can experiment and test new approaches towards social practice and positive social impact. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, artists work together with communities from Leigh, testing possibilities to co-creating work with the goal of sustained and long-lasting social change and connection. The approach reframes the purpose of gallery spaces in communities and rethinks their unlimited potential to unite individuals through arts.  

We will continue to support The Turnpike’s development as they create projects of national significance, and build ambitious relationships internationally.

Image Credit:
France's Disley's 'Epic Luxe' performance with Fallen Angels Dance Theatre by Livia Lazar (2020) and