12th - 13th May 2018 | Blackburn, Lancashire

The First National Festival of Making took place in Blackburn, Lancashire on the 6th and 7th of May, 2017. Over 30,000 visitors descended on the sun-drenched town centre, animating it with an explosion of manufacturing, art, science, digital and craft experiences in a vibrant celebration of Britain’s unrivalled making heritage and its bright future.

With twice the national average of people employed in the manufacturing industry, and a community of talented and creative makers working from their homes and studios, Blackburn played the perfect host to a festival like no other. 

“It made me really proud to be part of Blackburn and I really hope this becomes an annual fixture.”

In the festival’s headline project, Art in Manufacturing, a team of international artists stole through the factory gates of Pennine Lancashire’s world-class manufacturers. The results of their residencies exposed a proud local manufacturing heritage and used the industrialists’ materials, processes, memories and dreams to create ten original works that were placed in Blackburn’s most historic and contemporary venues.

“The space was alive and walking from King William Street through the cathedral grounds to the Cathedral Quarter was like walking through a major national arts festival. It felt like Glastonbury!”

We’re already making plans for the future of the festival and we’d love for you to be involved. Help us bring the National Festival of Making back to Blackburn by filling out our questionnaire and letting us know how we can make next year bigger and better.

The National Festival of Making Delivery Team


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