Dates for 2019 to be announced!


In the days surrounding the weekend celebration of making, Creative Lancashire in association with Crafts Council and other partners will again present a series of events aimed at professional creative practitioners, makers and those working in related industries or connected fields.

Sessions will explore the relationship between making, skills, and new or emerging technologies through a variety of applications, interventions and interactions with arts and crafts. Focus areas will include: the crucial role of creativity and making in helping businesses to innovate and solve problems; the skills we need to teach now, in readiness for our “factories of the future”; and how creative skills are applied in industry and their role in supply chain innovation.


Our conference programme will also take a look back to the moment when the most disruptive and important tech creation of its time – the Macintosh computer – first made its appearance in design studios, on the desks of layout artists and graphic designers.


The series kicks off with special preview screenings of Graphic Means. This documentary film by Briar Levit considers what the industry looked like prior to the moment when the first Macintosh computer was introduced. We also discuss the history and impact of this period ina a Q&A with designers Malcolm Garrett and Ian Swift (AKA Swifty), who are both featured in the film, and Tash Willcocks, an experienced designer and lecturer now working with Hyper Island with host Dave Kirkwood // Screenings on the 10 May at UCBC, Blackburn & 16 May at The Continental, Preston


Swifty will feature again in a collaboration with GF Smith for a commissioned series of new Letraset-based works, which will be premiered at Festival of Making in an exhibition at Blackburn Cathedral // 12 – 18 May


For the full conference programme, agendas, speaker biographies, related blogs and more information please visit the dedicated conference website

GRAPHIC MEANS: Special preview screening // 10 May // UCBC, Blackburn

GRAPHIC MEANS: Conversations in Creativity Panel // 16 May // The Continental, Preston

We are delighted to support the return of Real to Reel to Blackburn. The Crafts Council’s festival of craft-based short films will be screened at both King Georges Hall, home to the Maker Markets, and at Blackburn Cathedral // 12 & 13 May


Art in Manufacturing will again be one of the highlights of the festival. We will be screening our specially-commissioned films, created by Andy Walmsley of Wash Design, which document the results of last years’ collaborations // From 12 May // Blackburn Museum


Our 2018 conference programme will include a one-day symposium on Thursday 17 May at Blackburn Cathedral. The days’ events are presented in collaboration with Crafts Council and Lancashire Skills Hub, and hosted by Hannah Stewart (RCA). Featured speakers include Annie Warburton (Creative Director, Crafts Council) and Charles Hadcock (RCA DL, Chairman of Creative Lancashire) // 17 May // Blackburn Cathedral


BUSINESS INNOVATION for GROWTH (BIG) SYMPOSIUM // 17 May // Blackburn Cathedral

One of the most anticipated Art in Manufacturing projects for 2018 is the collaboration between Martyn Ware (musician, film-maker & artist) and AMS Neve. Martyn will be discussing the commission for Festival of Making, as well as his long music career as a founding member of Human League and Heaven 17, and his various art and creative projects, in a special Conversations in Creativity hosted by John Robb // 17 May // Blackburn Cathedral


Conversations in Creativity: MARTYN WARE // 17 May // Blackburn Cathedral

There will also be a series of Conversations in Creativity talks and panels hosted by Jamie Holman and featuring the artists, manufacturers and commissioning team behind both this and last years’ projects. This will take place at Blackburn Museum, which will also host an exhibition featuring some of the collaborative work created by James Bloomfield and Darwen Terracotta, Liam Hopkins of Lazerian Studio and the Cardboard Box Company, and Michelle Wren and Graham & Brown, to name a few // 21 May // Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery).

Conversations in Creativity: ART IN MANUFACTURING // 21 May // Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

Other events in the this year’s series include a session hosted by Ruth Heritage assessing the economic benefit of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces (IACs), and what they mean for public policy in terms of encouraging innovation within the region. Also examined are the the characteristics of these spaces and the services they offer, as well as their broader role, including supporting the regeneration of places.

Incubators, Accelerators & Co-Working Spaces (ICAs) // May 16 // People’s Production Lab, Preston

And the conversation continues on into June, where we’re joined by Dave Kirkwood for an extended roundtable discussion considering the creative process in relation to idea making and decision taking. Commissioned and self-initiated work have different dynamics – do they influence decision taking and, more interestingly, do they affect idea making? Hosted by Catarina King (Society 1)

LET’S TALK: IDEAS, DECISIONS & THE CREATIVE PROCESS // June 7 // Society 1, 9-10 Cross Street, Preston

Another discussion will explore the roles of museums, libraries, arts, cultural institutions and collections in cities of the future. Guest contributors representing key cultural institutions from across the region and beyond will consider how to make creative organisations and spaces more inclusive and democratic, more relevant to young people and others who do not normally engage, and more integral to the needs of society.

LET’S TALK: SPACES & PLACES // July 5 // Society 1, 9-10 Cross Street, Preston

The programme also includes studio events where learners can gain first-hand experience of working with manufacturers, as well as intimate roundtables and Meet the Maker workshops featuring Swifty and others.


We’ll be recording many of the talks for future broadcast on our new Podcast channel and we’ll also be sharing the broader impacts of the conference in a post-conference publication.


Look out for more Festival of Making conference-related events throughout the year as we aim to inspire more people to connect with materials, and be inspired to make and create.


Conference supported by

Conference Events Summary 2018


Thursday 10 May 2018


17.30 – 19.30


Graphic Means: Special Preview Screening

with introduction by Ian Swift (AKA Swifty) (University Centre, Blackburn College)


Friday 11 May 2018


14.00 – 15.30


Meet the Maker: Swifty with Dave Kirkwood
(Blackburn College)


Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 May 2018


Crafts Council Real to Reel Film Festival
(King Georges Hall & Blackburn Cathedral)


Swifty – Instant Lettering


A new exhibition of Letraset based works (Blackburn Cathedral – until 18 May)



Wednesday 16 May 2018


14.00 – 16.30


PPL Roundtable: Co-working & Accelerators (People’s Production Lab, Preston)



18.00 – 21.00


Graphic Means: Special Preview Screening & Conversations in Creativity Q&A



Hosted by Dave Kirkwood, with Swifty, Malcolm Garrett, Tash Willcocks.
(Continental Arts Space, Preston)


Thursday 17 May 2018


10.00 – 12.00


Our Future is in the Making: Skills & Factory 4.0 Roundtable

Led by Hannah Stewart (RCA) and Crafts Council (Paulinus Room, Blackburn Cathedral)



13.00 – 16.30


Business Innovation Growth (BIG) Symposium


Hosted by Hannah Stewart and featuring key note presentations by Annie Warburton (Crafts Council), Hannah Stewart (RCA) & Mo Isap (IN4.0 & NFORM Education) & Charles Hadcock (Chairman, Creative Lancashire) – Full line-up TBA (Blackburn Cathedral)


18.00 – 21.00


Conversation in Creativity: Martyn Ware


Hosted by John Robb (Blackburn Cathedral)


Monday 21 May 2018


18.00 – 21.00


Conversations in Creativity: Art in Manufacturing


Panel Discussion hosted by Jamie Holman – full line-up TBA (Blackburn Museum)


Thursday 7 June 2018


18.00 – 20.00


Let’s Talk: Idea making and decision taking as a part of the creative process with guest speaker: Dave Kirkwood



(Society 1, Preston)

Thursday 5 July 2018


18.00 – 20.00


Let’s Talk: Spaces & Places

Role of Cultural Institutions & Collections Roundtable – In association with the Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library and Society 1 (People’s Production Lab | 55 Guildhall Street, Preston)


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Future Events tbc


Digital Lancashire: Women in Tech Event (June: Preston)


Conversations in Creativity: Lubaina Himid (Oct/Nov: Preston)

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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

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