Gallery Oldham has three large exhibition spaces plus a community gallery.

We take an innovative and unique approach to exhibition programming, bringing together what were once separate museum and gallery services.

Our programming incorporates Oldham’s extensive art, social and natural history collections alongside touring work, newly commissioned and contemporary art, international art and work produced with local communities.

In addition we have permanent displays around the building.

Current Exhibitions

Gallery 1 – Oldham StoriesAmerican Eagle Owl

This gallery permanently houses both:

Oldham Stories exhibition, featuring selected objects from our extensive collections to tell and show the stories of Oldham and its local communities. From birds and shells to a recreation of an Edwardian chemist’s shop, every object has a fascinating tale to tell. The display features local figures such as suffragette Annie Kenny, the pioneering natural history collector James Nield and the popular artist Helen Bradley.

The Community Gallery, which has a wide range of exhibitions by groups and individuals from the Borough of Oldham.


Gallery 2 – Refuge by Jai Chuhan

15 September – 24 November

Jai Chuhan’s paintings often involve an isolated figure in a room-like space, an arena for exploring themes such as love, conflict, birth and death, suggesting psychological tensions in symbioses of male and female, home and ‘‘unhome’’. Chuhan describes her aesthetic influences as “transcultural”, inspired by her position as an Indian-born British artist.

‘Making paintings allows me a special autonomy, a relationship with myself, magic-seeming as the painting unfolds and reveals itself. I like to use fluid layers of colour, to paint the figure isolated in ambiguous room-like spaces that function as arenas.’ Jai Chuhan

Special event at Gallery Oldham 2 – 4 pm Sat 13 Oct: Jai Chuhan in conversation with art historian Professor Rina Arya, Gallery Oldham curator Rebecca Hill and Alnoor Mitha, Director of ATM18, followed by Jai Chuhan reciting poetry, reflecting how the interior is the refuge in the arts.

Remodel : Painting Studio by Jai Chuhan 15 – 21 Oct at HOME, Manchester: Jai Chuhan will make paintings in HOME’s main gallery in an immersive space suffused with colour and sound, presenting interactions between objects and people passing through including models and dancers.

Special event at HOME 5 – 7 pm Sun 21 Oct: Jai Chuhan in conversation with art historian Professor Rina Arya, curator Adam Carr, HOME Senior Producer Bren O’Callaghan, followed by dancing by Bisakha Sarker and Kali Chandrasegaram.

Both exhibitions are part of Asia Triennial Manchester, Europe’s only Triennial dedicated to contemporary visual art on the theme of Asia. The theme for this year’s Triennial is “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Gallery 3 – Peace and Plenty? Oldham and the First World War

29 September – 12 January

As the ‘Great War’ drew to a close what had been the experiences on the home front for the people of Oldham? This exhibition revisits their everyday lives, losses and achievements using the galleries extensive collections.

This exhibition is co-curated by historians Alan Fowler and Terry Wyke. It explores how Oldham’s mills, shops and people all adapted to meet the needs of the war.  In 1918 as the fighting and the fundraising stopped the town was forced to deal with a deadly influenza epidemic and prepared for the first general election in which all men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30 could vote.

A new booklet accompanies this show. You can purchase ‘Spindleopolis in War and Peace’ from the Gallery Shop for just £3.95.

Exhibition launch 6 October, 2-4pm Join Alan Fowler and Terry Wyke for a special launch event.


Coming soon…

A to Z: The First Seven Years by Dave Ball
21 December – 2 March

Dave Ball always wanted to make art about the world. The problem was though, that the world was
frustratingly large and complex. Where could he possibly begin? In 2011 Ball embarked upon his
project of visualising every word in the Concise Oxford English dictionary in alphabetical order.

William Stott of Oldham: Great Painters Are Rare
26 January – 11 May

Gallery Oldham is thrilled to be a partner on Tate’s national tour of this outstanding work of art.
Le Passeur (The Ferryman) is the best-known painting by the man who is Oldham’s best-known
painter. William Stott trained in Oldham, then travelled to Paris, where he quickly achieved recognition from fellow painters, critics and institutions. This exhibition will explore the way in which his career developed through contact with artists, and the influence he had on others.

Mahtab Hussain: You Get Me?
9 March – 8 June

Mahtab Hussain’s photographs explore the critical question of identity among young working-class British Asian men. You Get Me? addresses the contested political terrain of race and representation, respect and cultural difference.