National Festival of Making to launch in 2017

Posted on 17 Oct 2016 by Fred Tongue

The first National Festival of Making is to launch next year, bringing together manufacturing, art and design to be held in the heartland of British industry, developing celebratory acts of creativity and uniting makers of diverse disciplines.

The National Festival of Making will take place next year on May 6 – 7 in Blackburn, Lancashire to encourage more celebration and recognition of the manufacturing sector

The idea for the festival reportedly came about when recent data revealed that 25% of the local population still work in making or manufacturing, more than twice the national average.

The Manufacturer’s Annual Leaders Conference

This year, the nation’s biggest manufacturing-led event focuses on Industry 4.0 – the technology-driven digitisation of manufacturing processes, from design and engineer, to manufacture and service.

TMALC 2016 sets the stage to answer all of UK manufacturing’s questions regarding this fundamental shift to the industrial landscape, with experts from across industry providing analysis and commentary on the biggest wave of disruptive innovation since the dawn of robots more than half a century ago.

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Large and small manufacturers are expected to collaborate with artists on a series of new pieces that will lace traditional techniques and materials with contemporary ideas that will be revealed in the town centre.

The festival has been developed by the Festival of Making Community Interest Company, a venture that involves Lancashire designer, Wayne Hemingway; festival producers, Deco Publique; and creative place-making social enterprise, Placeshakers.

Wayne Hemingway, joint founder of the National Festival of Making CIC and of HemingwayDesign, explained: “This is a new kind of festival for a new age of making, one where the economy is centred around not only quality, skill and ingenuity, but one that fits into a shifting landscape of social change, of a welcome diversity of people and one of a networked, digital age.

“The festival is provoking new and exciting ideas that strike a chord through creativity and imagination. Yet we’re here also to underscore the remarkable fact that this area still has a successful manufacturing economy unlike of a scale greater than just about anywhere else in the UK and can provide inspiration to others.”

Councillor Phil Riley commented: “Blackburn with Darwen is the obvious home for the country’s first national Festival of Making with our long proud history of making going back to the industrial revolution when Blackburn was the weaving capital of the globe.

“Today we have some world class manufacturers and a wealth of creatives and artists, so this festival gives us the perfect platform to shout about this.”

The range of events and projects set to take place, include:

  • Weekend Festival: an opportunity  for residents and visitors to Blackburn town centre to celebrate manufacturing takes over the streets with hands-on activities, tours, talks and more.
  • The Art in Manufacturing: 10 specially-commissioned artists will create innovative and experimental new works. A call for artists is to be made in autumn 2016.
  • Front Room Factories: People will use their homes as their production lines, these artisans are to be captured in a series of documentary films screened during the festival as part of Art in Manufacturing.