Art in Manufacturing, a collaboration between the National Festival of Making and Super Slow Way, pairs artists and makers with manufacturers and domestic artisans; giving artists access to specialist machinery and heritage craft techniques to create work that forms an integral part of the National Festival of Making
The programme is made possible by the manufacturing communities for which Lancashire is known, from space age nanotechnologies to those where the human hand is still king. Workforces have innate creativity and the relationships formed are integral to the making process, with reciprocal ideas, solutions and inspirations being shared from the workforce to artist and vice versa.
The continuum of history runs powerfully through the process and the results; Martyn Ware will open the doors to Northern Soul venue; Tony’s Ballroom, where he’ll tell a people’s history through an immersive three-dimensional soundscape, while a huge, now redundant, industrial machine invented in Darwen in 1838 will land in the street as part of Sarah Hardacre’s work, Grace. In Art in Manufacturing, heritage is expressed in contemporary and relevant forms through the imagination of contemporary artists, the best storytellers of all.
Following on from 2017’s film commission, Front Room Factories, this year we revisited the Lancashire community with theatre producer and artist, Dawinder Bansal. Dawinder has recruited domestic makers to open their doors and share their traditions to present The Making of a South Asian Wedding. Front Rooms, kitchen tables and, in a great gesture of hospitality and generosity, South Asian weddings have been attended by Dawinder in the weeks leading to the Festival. Her belief in the power of making centres on its ability to unite people through shared experience; this a celebration of British Asian culture and of all making cultures.
For one weekend in Blackburn, we can enjoy the fruits of shared connections and artistic opportunity through these joyful and ingenious artworks. Taking inspiration from our industrious forebears, we hope Art in Manufacturing has a deeper impact than the experience of one weekend; helping to shape our future cultural capacity through the exploration of our glorious heritage and continuing to make opportunities for our creative instincts to play out.