The first ever National Festival of Making is here and it’s taking place in Blackburn, Lancashire on Sat 6 and Sun 7 May 2017. Why has Lancashire been chosen as home to the event? With a quarter of Blackburn with Darwen’s population work in making and manufacturing, there is no better place to celebrate! It stands as the UK’s current capital of making.
The festival has been planned to be family-friendly, free and, most importantly, fun. Hands-on activities, markets, art in unusual places and live performance invite everyone, young and old and from any part of the UK, to enjoy aspects of the past, present and future of making and manufacturing. Making has a positive effect on well-being, it makes us feel good and it gives people chance of forging a career. You only need to look to one of the festival’s founders, Wayne Hemingway MBE, who started a fashion label with his wife, Gerardine, in Blackburn and is in his fourth decade of successful entrepreneurship.
Hundreds of events are taking over the town centre of Blackburn over two days and everyone is welcome. So, what should visitors – young or old, experienced in making or complete beginners – expect from two, action-packed days? Have a look at what you could do on our website at www.festivalofmaking.co.uk, but here are some of my highlights:
Buy, Try and Taste at the Markets – Many of the UK’s most talented makers will be arriving in Blackburn to not only sell their handmade items, from jewellery to homewares, but they will be making as they sell too. Many will be giving visitors a chance to have a go themselves, perhaps print making or working with wood. Visit King George’s Hall, Town Hall Street and Cathedral Square to browse and buy one-off items, taste delicious street food and grab a drink.
Festival Films – There are not one, but two films premiering in Blackburn over the weekend. ‘We Take Them and We Make Them’ is directed by local rising star, Aaron Dunleavy with the support of internationally-renowned, Blackburn-raised filmmaker Michael Winterbottom. That Blackburn Youth Zone-hosted project is joined
by ‘Front Room Factories’, a remarkable portrait of many of the Lancashire-based makers who turn their homes into production lines.
MakerSheds – a new take on the traditional British shed, two brand new commissioned aims to support emerging architects develop a pop up space for emerging makers to work from through an architectural competition. The competition ran and two designs have been selected for the Festival of Making. The first has been developed by JB Studio in Preston and the second is by a group of Part 3 students at Hawkins Brown in Manchester.
Virtual Treasure - Immerse yourself in a virtual treasure hunt at Blackburn Cathedral. Interact with Hobs Studio’s state-of-the-art 3D model to unearth virtual clues, ancient artefacts and discover the Cathedral’s rich history, spanning over 1400 years along the way. Put on a Virtual Reality headset and see the Cathedral in a totally different light.
Town is the Menu - We challenged Nigel Haworth of Northcote and food innovator Simon Preston to encapsulate Blackburn on a plate. Come and try their specially created recipes, cooked by Blackburn College’s own budding chefs, and decide for yourself if we’ve captured the essence of the town in a dish.
The festival is being delivered by a new social enterprise, set up by people who are passionate about making a difference to people’s lives through the celebration of making and manufacturing. A partnership with HemingwayDesign, Deco Publique and Placeshakers, we have set out to deliver an inspiring and sustainable event for everyone. We hope you can ‘make’ it!