2025 Festival Dates: 5 & 6 July

The Festival


The National Festival of Making is a unique celebration of UK making, from the kitchen table to the factory floor. Presenting a programme of work that combines Art, Manufacturing, Making and Communities, we commission international and national artists to create world class works, a year round programme and a participatory FREE FAMILY festival for all to enjoy.

In 2023 the festival weekend returned to Blackburn with over 50 exhibitions, performances, workshops, talks and markets across 22 locations in the town centre. To get a taste of the programme, click here.

We also work year round to deliver projects and commissions, bringing cultural experiences to our audiences throughout the year. Read more about the extended programme on the Project Pages and in News Items featured on the website.

Formed in 2016, the ambition of Festival of Making CIC was to be a nationally relevant cultural festival in Blackburn, while celebrating the unique manufacturing heritage and contemporary characteristics of the town and region more widely. In November 2022 we were delighted to receive the news that we’d been selected as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations for 2023-2026. Joining the ACE’s National Portfolio for 2023-26 means that we can develop more long term plans for the National Festival of Making and its impact, whilst embedding ourselves more deeply in the cultural ecosystem of Blackburn. You can read more about the announcement here.



Whether it’s during our festival weekend or as part of our year-round programme, our FREE and low cost workshops are guaranteed to get everyone MAKING. Past festival workshops include everything from traditional Asian wedding crafts to welding, leather-working to hand-embroidery, ancient mould-making to screen-printing your own retro packaging and everything in between. We also like to put a big spotlight on STEAM. For a taste of previous festival workshops, click below.



We fill the streets of Blackburn with a diverse offer of performances from local, national and international artists. We’ve hosted Spain’s acclaimed Vaiven Circo Danza, who performed their construction-meets-circus show Do Not Disturb. We’ve watched the UK’s first all female Dhol team, Eternal Taal, bring their team of drummers and dancers to the festival stage. We’ve listened as music producers turned locally-captured manufacturing sounds into new pieces of music during live studio sessions developed by Ash Murphy and More Music. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – we’re always excited about who we’ll see and hear next.



Art in Manufacturing is a commissioning programme at the heart of the festival. Placing the tools, materials and expertise of a diverse range of manufacturing companies into the hands of national and international artists, a series of residencies evolve on the factory floor. These result in ambitious new works of art in formats as diverse as sculpture to choreography and digital to site specific installations.

There was such a positive vibe and a beautiful diverse turnout that celebrated everything Lancashire is and was.

Zainab Bilal

Year-round Work


Our programmes run throughout the year, with something for everyone. Highlights include the giant poetry installation Of Earth and Sky involving painting Blackburn and Darwen with the words of its people, The Big Reinvention Challenge – a huge invention challenge for children with Little Inventors, the 600 activity boxes jam-packed with art materials distributed to young people across Blackburn, and the five-part ceramic workshop series with artist Aliyah Hussain.

Supporting Artists and Makers


Supporting artists and makers is extremely important to us. In our opinion, they MAKE the world go round (pardon the pun).  We do this by mentoring students and artists alike, commissioning graduate creatives, providing residencies for artists to create new, large-scale artworks, and supporting entrepreneurs and creatives through our Makers Market. This means we are always working with exciting new people, and because we value and nurture the relationships we have with past Festival of Making artists, you might see a few familiar faces too.

Festival of Making Films


We work with some incredible film makers, so if  you are still eager to find out more and see what we’re all about, why not watch some of our films ? We think they give you a pretty good idea of what we are passionate about.

The National Festival of Making is proud to be a Family Arts Standards and Age-Friendly Standards organisation.

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2019 Trusts & Foundations

The National Festival Of Making Delivery Team

National Festival of Making is supported by the Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Brian Mercer Trust and Foundations and Partners. This project is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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