Richard Street creative studios to launch as part of ‘Rochdale Creates Space’

Date published: 23 March 2024

Rochdale Development Agency, working in partnership with Rochdale Borough Council, is set to open its new creative space ‘Richard Street Studios’ in Rochdale as part of plans to support the development of the borough's creative and cultural sector.

Located by Rochdale train station, Richard Street Studios is set to formally launch in April, offering a range of creative workspaces tailored to the needs of Rochdale’s growing art and creative business community.

With seven studios, the space caters to both digital and messier creative disciplines, perfect for art, photography and scriptwriting, to sewing and design, providing the ideal blank canvas for studio workshops, events, showcases and small exhibitions.

The workspaces will be let by lead tenant and local creative organisation Breaking Barriers, who will manage the space and run artist development programmes to support the wider creative sector. The model forms part of the Rochdale Borough Council’s commitment to the ‘Community Wealth Building’ model, which seeks to support and empower local organisations to run local services.

Breaking Barriers artistic director, Parvez Qadir said: “This is an exciting time for art and culture in Rochdale. As a Rochdale-based production company, Breaking Barriers is so proud to be the creative operators of Richard Street Studios; a space for artists to create, imagine and make in our hometown. Richard Street is an investment for the future creative economy of the town as well as future generation of creative makers.”

The studios are part of the innovative ‘Rochdale Creates Space’ project, which is seeking to repurpose vacant properties to support the borough’s creative sector as part of a developing creative district within Rochdale town centre. Other capital projects underway within the creative district include the redevelopment of Touchstones, the refurbishment of Rochdale Town Hall, and the Fire Up co-working space which opened in 2022. This is accompanied by the borough's cross-sector initiative to support creativity and culture across Rochdale borough ‘Rochdale Creates’, which includes a range of business support programmes, talent development and commission opportunities.

The project has been managed by Rochdale Development Agency on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council. The works have been completed by Rochdale based building contractors H Bell and Sons, with Ian Tunnicliffe as contract administrator and principal designer.

In line with the borough's commitment to achieving net-zero by 2038, the studios have undergone an intensive retrofit designed to minimise operational carbon emissions. This has included the upgrading of floor, wall and roof insulation, the installation of air source heat pumps, and new LED lighting throughout. This much reduced energy demand is sourced from renewable tariffs.

Councillor Sue Smith said: “This presents an excellent opportunity to bolster and empower the creative sectors in Rochdale, providing a creative hub for the remarkable talent within our borough.”

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