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The UK’s first National Festival of Making is to be held in Blackburn

17th October 2016

Categories: Town Centre News

Influential designer Wayne Hemingway MBE is among the organisers of a new festival being launched in Blackburn to celebrate manufacturing, art and design.

Taking place next year on May 6-7, The Festival of Making will aim to make Blackburn the national capital of making in a place where 25% of the population is employed in making and manufacturing.

From textiles to terracotta, it aims to bring a sense of celebration to the town’s streets and raise national and international awareness of UK making and inspire others to consider their own talents and aspirations.

The range of events and projects set to take place, with many more to be announced, are:

• Weekend Festival: An opportunity to see, make and do for residents and visitors to Blackburn town centre over the weekend with hands-on activities, tours, talks and more.

• The Art in Manufacturing: a collaboration between the National Festival of Making and arts commissioners, Super Slow Way, ten specially-commissioned artists will work with the expertise, machinery and materials of makers in and around Blackburn and Darwen to create innovative and experimental new works.

• Front Room Factories: A phenomenon not unique, but characteristic of Blackburn and Darwen communities are the makers – often in the textile trade – who use their homes as their production lines. They will be captured in a series of documentary films screened during the festival as part of Art in Manufacturing.

Wayne Hemingway, said: “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. By commissioning artists to work with manufacturers in Blackburn and Darwen, 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.

“Above all we are here to have a celebration so expect The Festival of Making’s music to make you move your feet, its street food to tickle your taste buds, its craft beers to hit the spot and its workshops to introduce you to new skills.”

The National Festival of Making is supported with funding from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Super Slow Way and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

From textiles to terracotta, it aims to bring a sense of celebration to the town’s streets and raise national and international awareness of UK making and inspire others to consider their own talents and aspirations.

The range of events and projects set to take place, with many more to be announced, are:

• Weekend Festival: An opportunity to see, make and do for residents and visitors to Blackburn town centre over the weekend with hands-on activities, tours, talks and more.

• The Art in Manufacturing: a collaboration between the National Festival of Making and arts commissioners, Super Slow Way, ten specially-commissioned artists will work with the expertise, machinery and materials of makers in and around Blackburn and Darwen to create innovative and experimental new works.

• Front Room Factories: A phenomenon not unique, but characteristic of Blackburn and Darwen communities are the makers – often in the textile trade – who use their homes as their production lines. They will be captured in a series of documentary films screened during the festival as part of Art in Manufacturing.

Wayne Hemingway, said: “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. By commissioning artists to work with manufacturers in Blackburn and Darwen, 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.

“Above all we are here to have a celebration so expect The Festival of Making’s music to make you move your feet, its street food to tickle your taste buds, its craft beers to hit the spot and its workshops to introduce you to new skills.”

The National Festival of Making is supported with funding from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Super Slow Way and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

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