Art in Manufacturing – Placing artists in residence with industry


There is art at play in Lancashire’s countless, largely invisible factories: hundreds of people embark each day on creative tasks, working with remarkable attention to detail to produce the beautiful, the delicious and the complex, from the most delicate to the most durable products on earth.

To date, the programme has commissioned 31 artists to work with 24 artisan and mass manufacturers. The residencies create a platform not just for the making of new work, but for sharing experiences and connecting across boundaries.

The commissioning programme was conceived as part of the initial development of the National Festival of Making in 2016. The curatorial team were developing a creative programme in Blackburn, where manufacturing accounts for a much greater number of jobs than the national average and has been part of the cultural and social fabric of the community since the industrial revolution. Art in Manufacturing was developed to engage manufacturers in a way that was meaningful to them, to do something that offered the incredible industrial makers of the region an opportunity for purposeful creative exchange that would draw on their history, people and expertise.

The commissioning programme provides artists with a unique platform from which to develop their practice, conceive of and deliver ambitious ideas, and reach new participants and audiences with their work.

The Team

Art in Manufacturing is the National Festival of Making’s headline commissioning programme. The programme is devised and led by the Festival team with support from freelance Creative Producers. The Festival of Making is a Community Interest Company, led by a Board of Directors.

Elena Jackson, Festival of Making Director + AiM Programme Curator

Lauren Zawadzki, Festival of Making Director

Daisy Williamson, Producer

Emma Colbert, Social Media and Marketing

Jamie Holman, Chair of the Board, Art in Manufacturing Advocate

Claire Mander, Board Director, Art in Manufacturing Advocate

Ed Matthews Gentle, Creative Lancashire, Partner

“The Art in Manufacturing commissioning programme has had a transformational impact on my practice, enabling me to work collaboratively within a factory environment. Through continued support from the directors of the National Festival of Making, I have had access to curatorial support and advice, which was invaluable in taking risks and implementing new directions within my work. These transformational residencies have had a lasting impact on my practice leading to further commissions, awards, grants and residencies.”

Liz Wilson, Artist


“Manufacturing is fundamental to how we live our lives. Art in Manufacturing is a true celebration of this. To have such a talented artist tell our story and work alongside our engineers has inspired us to think differently about how and why we do what we do.”

Philippa Glover, Managing Director of CNC Robotics

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