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.

Learning & Young People
Us Here Now

Throughout 2019 and 2020 The Turnpike’s Associate Artists delivered an exciting programme of collaborative projects with local children and young people. In total, nine artists were commissioned by young people’s groups and school pupils to create artwork with them in response to three broad themes; 'the future', 'this place' and 'our identity'.

Project artists Hannah Brown, Emma Blackburn, Alan Birch, Paul Pickford, Sally Gilford, Kate Bufton, Rebecca Atherton and Sarah Atter collectively delivered an engaging and diverse range of activities, supporting children and young people aged 5-17 years to explore printmaking, fashion, illustration, music, ceramics, surface design, and zine-making.

Despite interruptions due to the global pandemic, many activities were adapted into digital, blended-learning or socially distanced projects, thanks to the versatility of the project artists and the support of partner schools Fred Longworth High School, Oakfield High School and College, Newbridge Learning Community, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, and Leigh Central Primary School.

In the winter term, artistic outcomes from these projects were shared as a positive response to ongoing restrictions, launching the Us Here Now campaign to ‘fill the town with art by children and young people’. Us Here Now was made possible through funding from The Ragdoll Foundation as well as Wigan Council and Curious Minds' Cultural Education Fund and created as part of Wigan Council's Cultural Strategy The Fire Within.

“…the best in gallery education and what the Ragdoll Foundation seeks to achieve through its open grants scheme: innovative, high quality engagement with art and artists that puts the voice and concerns of children and young people at the centre.”
Ragdoll Foundation