The National Festival of Making


The National Festival of Making is a unique celebration of making and manufacturing – from the kitchen table to the factory floor.

Presenting a programme of work that combines art, manufacturing, making and communities, the Festival commissions artists to create outstanding works and curates a programme of making activity, including  – workshops; food, craft and design makers markets; industry talks; street food; live performance and music and artistic commissions – expressed in a participatory free festival weekend and programme of year round work for all to enjoy.

The Festival attracts audience visitors of between 30,000 and 40,000, achieves an economic impact of approximately £1M annually to Blackburn and supports the development of a strong cultural ecology. Find out more about previous Festival programmes here.

The Festival of Making is led by Directors and co-founders Lauren Zawadzki and Elena Jackson and co-founder Wayne Hemingway, who work closely with core partners and the Board of Directors to deliver the Festival’s vision. The network of partners is vital to the CIC and has become a significant factor in the growth, success and the amplification of impact the Festival and its programme has had. Through our strategic partnership working and ambitious curation, the Festival has come to play a meaningful role in the cultural landscape of Blackburn, Lancashire and the North of England.

Find out more about how the Festival of Making is delivered as well as its, stakeholder engagement and partnership working, here.

“I felt like a part of something special – the stakeholder meetings are something beneficial. Everyone seemed to share the same vision and it just keeps improving every year.”

About the CIC

The National Festival of Making is curated, produced and delivered by the Festival of Making Community Interest Company (CIC) – registered number: 

The social enterprise, set up in 2017 has evolved to deliver a festival weekend and year round cultural programme advocates for impactful and place specific cultural regeneration in Blackburn, Lancashire and the North.

Arts Evaluation

The Festival and its programme is evaluated by an independent evaluator. The evaluations incorporate the Arts Council Quality Metrics to measure artistic quality and have shown that the National Festival of Making outperforms both the UK arts average as a whole and arts festivals in general. Previous evaluations have highlighted that the Festival significantly outperforms in terms of distinctiveness – being different from things people had experienced before; challenge and originality.

“I was really struck by the cooperation and partnership demonstrated. The charisma of key individuals was matched by the commitment, passion and energy of so many amazing project leads and facilitators – all working together without a sense of hierarchy… The sense of pride in Blackburn’s making heritage and future potential could be felt in everything. It genuinely feels like a place where magic is happening.”

Nicky Dewar, Learning & Skills Director, Crafts Council UK

Art in Manufacturing is supported by

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