Associate Artists

The Turnpike Associate Artists are a pool of freelance artists, creative facilitators and educators who work across our programmes to devise and deliver workshops and projects with our community.


Through our Associate Artists, The Turnpike aims to support and celebrate practitioners who are working in the fields of socially engaged arts, collaborative practice and arts education.

Want to work with an artist in your school, community setting or social group? We've created a handy guide for commissioning our Turnpike Associate Artists!

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Becky Atherton

The natural world is the main inspiration for Becky Atherton’s work and how she can promote the natural world in a magical, spiritual way.

Through her paintings, she wants the audience to be able connect with their surroundings and have a deeper and respectful understanding of the natural world.

Her artwork is unconventional with a theatrical feel; she wants to find and celebrate Gods within the natural world, the bird kingdom in moths and flowers. She wants her paintings to tell a story to the viewer.

Becky has been working on and exhibiting work for the past 2 years. Previously she worked as an arts officer in Preston and now runs her own community and participatory arts company 'ArtFull'.

Other associations: Dot Art in Liverpool (

Artfull Facebook

Grundy Session 1 workshops Sept 15 (43)

Sarah Atter

Sarah Atter is a musician with extensive experience of devising and delivering education and community projects. She works across a variety of fields including music in healthcare, music in the community, music in education, music in criminal justice and collaborative cross-art form projects.


Sarah is passionate about live music-making using instruments and voices, improvisation and composition, song-writing with groups and developing the musical skills of participants. Music has the power to engage, stimulate and create a point of connection, and working creatively through music can play a vital role for individuals and communities, offering the chance to explore and express feelings, emotions and issues in new, creative and exciting ways.


Sarah specialises in working with vulnerable, challenging and hard-to-reach groups, and works both as an independent practitioner and in partnership with larger organisations. Sarah also lectures at University level, and delivers artist development training. 

Other associations: The Sterling Trio (


Alan Birch

Alan Birch is an artist working out of Prospect Studios in Waterfoot, Lancashire . He works predominantly in print, but has worked with a variety of other media including drawing, metal and  digital images. His  work is imbued with his own unique sense of humour, offering a  personal view on the contemporary world.  Recent work includes a series of 83 etchings strongly influenced by Goya’s Disasters of War illustrating the horrors of armed conflict. He recently showed a collection of contemporary saints at The John Rylands Library in Manchester and at West Yorkshire Print workshop in Mirfield, Yorkshire. Birch is also a committed educator, running regular print workshops in his studio, in schools and galleries, and more recently in Manchester hospitals as part of  the Culture Arts programme. 

Other associations: Whitworth Art Gallery, Touchstones Rochdale


Emma Blackburn

Emma is a textile artist based in Manchester. Emma's work responds to sense of place, themes of shared identity and human experience. She is interested in revealing contemporary narratives in history through interventions with museum collections. Emma's work aims to encourage people to think differently about fragmented, ‘dead’ and hidden objects and their connection with the past. She is particularly interested in how curators interpret, conserve and present historic textiles. As such, the majority of her artwork has responded to specific places including country houses, museums and galleries and their collections and archives. Emma has 5 years experience of creating inclusive workshops for children, young people and adults from diverse circumstances and cultural backgrounds.

Other associations: The Whitworth, Chapel Gallery, Gawthorpe Textiles, The Harris Museum and Art Gallery, The Atkinson, Mid Pennine Arts, Deco Publique, Idle Women


Hannah Bold

Hannah is passionate about working in a community/socially engaged art context.  Creating work with people forms the basis of her practice, with over 10 years’ experience in Community Arts and Theatre Design.


Through art workshops she creates artwork with groups and individuals in a process that involves sharing ideas and skills and with participants, encouraging participation and inspiring creativity. Bringing art into communities; from costumes, puppetry & sculpture for parade, to painted murals and collage for display she also produces and installs flags and banners at arts festivals and events. 


As a costume assistant and dresser, alongside theatre colleagues she also works to bring the magic of theatre and performance alive in more traditional arts venues.

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Kate Bufton

Kate has been delivering book arts workshops in schools and community groups for a number of years. The workshops she delivers include book folding and handmade books, along with a range of mixed media techniques. In her own artistic practice Kate creates intricate and fragile paper sculptures from pages of timeworn books. Delicately assembled paper vessels enhance the books’ original beauty, whilst absent words - either stained or removed - highlight the damaging consequences of removing public libraries from our communities.

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Hannah Brown

Hannah works across Manchester and Salford as an Arts Facilitator, working with Schools, Adult groups and with Community Partners, through workshops exploring Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Textiles and Crafts. She gained an MA in Fine Art from Manchester School of Art and continues to develop her own personal practise within the studio. Hannah enjoys playing with tactile materials, especially powder based mediums and predominantly creates temporary sculptures.Hannah also has a keen interest in Heritage based programmes and archives. 


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Emma Curd

Emma is an artist, researcher and facilitator. Primarily, her work is dedicated to creating frameworks to discuss art, power and language whilst working with a broad range of communities.

Having undertaken practice-based doctoral research at Liverpool John Moores University between 2015 and 2019, she uses art and action research to encourage change in institutions. Titled ‘The People’s Glossary’, the project was developed to equip communities to make interventions in galleries; to question interpretation, authorship, and expertise, and create alternative ‘ways to know about art’. Outcomes of the project include an online, crowdsourced resource, a series of zines and a toolkit.

Recent freelance projects include the facilitation and coordination of upcoming arts event titled ‘Festival of Hope’ (2020) at The Atkinson, Southport. Residencies include ‘Visible Voices’ (2018), Bow Arts, London and ‘Art, Activism and Language: Feminist Issues in Museums and Galleries’ (2017), Tate Exchange, Liverpool. Emma lives and works in Liverpool.

Other associations: The Royal Standard (

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Tina Dempsey

My practice is a process of examining sorrow and joy, exploring what triggers them, how they affect us and questioning how we might navigate these emotions in our modern, media saturated, lives. Incorporating humour, honesty, reality & the ridiculous.


Works are composed from a process of self-reflection from personal experiences of sorrow and joy and from the daily minutiae that captures my attention. These fragments are drawn, collaged, painted, printed and photographed to generate collections of colour, pattern, form & language that are re-appropriated into aesthetically charged compositions to energise and engage both the viewer and the space they occupy.


Ultimately my work aims to explore ‘what art can do’? To make us feel something, to question what makes us feel good & bad, to encourage reflection and balance and to consider how we can improve our personal well-being and those around us.

Other associations: The Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Grundy Art Gallery, Venture Arts, Super Slow Way, Blaze-Curious Minds.


Oliver East

As a dyslexic with attention deficit disorder I’m forever exploring methods for betterment outside of a classroom and quickly. I have created many long walks with arbitrarily imposed restrictions to complete whilst figuring this out. Walking as a creative act, and how one might create knowledge from this, is the foundation of my practice.


I design situations that put myself or a project at risk of total failure and then create work telling you how badly that went. I currently use impromptu illustration as a means to expose issues regarding the ownership, demarcation and governance of public space. By adopting architectural and sculptural approaches, I have reimagined illustration as a contingent and site-responsive act that takes it cues from the built environment.


My practice deliberately engages publics in ways that sanctioned public art cannot – I am often engaged in conversation with passers-by and stakeholders in the spaces in which I work – which permits chance encounters that more readily reveal genius loci.

Other associations: Project managing a festival of interventionist art in Manchester (@socialsurfaces)



Sally Gilford

Sally is an artist, socially engaged practitioner and creative producer. Specialising in print and surface design, she creates site specific work celebrating heritage, identity and community.

She has been commissioned for over 10 years across a diverse range of settings including internationally recognised galleries, museums, educational and cultural organisations. She facilitates the exploration of multi disciplinary art forms to encourage self-expression; creative experimentation and process led artistic collaboration.

Working with researchers from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Matrix Research at The University of Manchester, she explores the connections between art and science, creating distinctive responses to original images of scientific research. Her designs incorporate both hand printed and digital processes. She also delivers a programme of creative public engagement.

Sally teaches a programme of workshops and public courses from her studio at Islington Mill in Salford where she founded Salford Makers in 2017 and screen print specialists One69A in 2009.



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Natalie Linney

Natalie Linney is a textile artist, and creative facilitator based in Manchester, UK.


Throughout history, before the advent of synthetic dyeing processes, people have coloured fibres using local plants and minerals. This process dates back to 10,200 BC and is still the same one used today.   


In her practice, Natalie utilises these ancient dyeing techniques with natural and man-made objects found in the contemporary urban environment to produce entirely unique textile pieces. Working with traditional methods, she creates striking and delicate patterns which emerge in unpredictable ways to reflect the materials used and the place in which it was produced. 


Through the deliberately slow and sensitive process of natural dyeing and the hyper-local, seasonal approach to textile printing, Natalie draws attention to the globalised, alienated and exploitative practices of the “fast fashion” industry and consumption. By rooting her practice in locally sourced found materials and the contemporary, creative use of ancient craft methods, her work seeks to challenge the disposable fashion culture that has emerged in recent years.


Ben Mellor

Ben is an award-winning writer, performer and facilitator who has worked in theatres, festivals, schools, colleges and prisons nationally and internationally.


He has created six touring theatre shows and published two poetry collections, with accompanying spoken word albums, and is the founder and host of Pen:Chant, a series of multi-art form alternative cabaret events and workshops.


Ben has featured on BBC Radio 4, 4 Extra, the World Service and has had writing published by Poetry Review, Route, Corporatewatch, Puppywolf, Tongue Fu and Inc Magazine.


He has facilitated workshops with hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds in partnership with a number of nationally recognised arts organisations. Ben is currently Youth Theatre Director with Collective Encounters and is one half of spoken word and music duo Mellor & Steele

Other associations: Pen:Chant, Collective Encounters, Mellor & Steele, Islington Mill

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Helen Newman

Helen Marie Newman is an artist who works in ceramics, predominantly porcelain, and often combines small porcelain pieces with other materials such as textiles, to explore stories and human relationships with the handmade, objects, and people. Her process is repetitive and labour intensive. Through repetition, in particular with pieces which require small batch production, she starts to identify how each porcelain shape should look and feel. The practice becomes almost second nature and through hand made construction each piece finds its own unique identity. Where porcelain has been needle pricked it notes the passing of time and her presence of making.


Her work responds to the objects and skills we inherit, and how they create connections and relationships to the people we have encountered in the past and present. In particular she is drawn to making by hand and how this practice captures time and the marks of the human behind the making.


Paul Pickford

Paul is a visual artist, based in Salford, specialising in Illustration, animation and visual narrative techniques. His skills include a variety of drawing and painting techniques, puppet making, pop-up art and sculpture.  Paul has experience of working in a range of animation techniques and have designed and made animation sets and characters.


Paul has successfully led workshops in all of these areas working with schools, special needs and community groups. His work has been published as books, comic strips, promotional material, theatre posters and 2-D & 3-D animations.

Other associations: Lowry Arts Centre, North West Gifted and Talented


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Suzanne Smith

Suzanne Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose varied practice is rooted in collage; typically but not exclusively working with found images and objects, text, photography and very short films. Underpinned by hypervigilance the work is a negotiation of an environment saturated with social norms and conventions, teetering endlessly between anxiety and delight.

An experienced creative producer with a background in secondary education and informal creative learning, Suzanne's participation practice explores visual culture, politics, sustainability and wellbeing. She works with people of all ages and different abilities to broach big ideas through play, risk-taking and experimentation.