The Turnpike CIC was a bold, independent not-for-profit arts project with community at its heart, based in Leigh, Greater Manchester.

This web archive, titled Could this be paradise? reflects on our 5 years in Leigh, highlighting the community voices and artists who have worked with us to shape our organisation.

We want to say a huge thank you to our Turnpike family; the team members, volunteers, artists, community members, peer organisations, funders and supporters who have invested their energy, creativity and ingenuity with us over the years.

Chapter One

The Turnpike CIC began its Activations programme in June 2019. Designed to connect artists to communities to test new approaches towards social practice and long-term positive change, the programme became central to The Turnpike's ambitions. Often interdisciplinary in their approach, our Activations connected the hyper-local to the global, with the goal of generating culture-led ideas for a sustainable and socially just future.

During the first wave of lockdown, and with support from the Arts Council Emergency Response Fund, we commissioned six artists to begin a process of research towards developing ambitious and locally relevant programmes of work that would support our community through a period of recovery.

Upon reopening, The Turnpike brought these projects to fruition, allowing the gallery and the town to become a live testing ground for artistic innovation. Artists worked closely with our communities, supporting local people to develop skills, bonds and confidence to support their resilience. Central themes explored by our Activations included climate change, wellbeing, social justice and the reinvigoration of Leigh’s town centre.

Visual installation for Touch AR, devised by Brass Art, 2021, photo: Livia Lazar
Dance piece choreographed collaboratively with Fallen Angels Dance Theatre and Frances Disley, 2020, photo: Livia Lazar
Planting the flowerbeds outside the Turnpike building, 2021, photo: Livia Lazar
Mixed media sculpture, part of These Lancashire Witches Are Women in Politics, 2021
Creative walking group with Niki Colclough