A celebration of making and manufacturing, from the kitchen table to the factory floor

The National Festival of Making is a unique celebration of UK making, from the factory floor to the kitchen table. Presenting a programme of work that combines Art, Manufacturing, Making and Communities - commissioning international and national artists to create world class works and participatory festival events that engage local audiences and increase culture seeking visitors to Blackburn and Lancashire.

Taking place over two festival days, with long term projects running throughout the year, the National Festival of Making takes over the streets of Blackburn with artist commissions, creative workshops, theatre, dance, music, digital & media technologies, STEAM, markets, food, performance, tours, talks and above all, an eclectic mix of making experiences for everyone to enjoy.

The Festival’s headline commissioning project, Art in Manufacturing - a co-commission between NFM and Super Slow Way, sees artists placed in residence in major manufacturers across Lancashire. Here they collaborate with workforces to make incredible new works from soundscapes to sculptures, presented at the Festival weekend.

Our inclusive and multi-generational programme provides significant opportunities for participation and attracts diverse audiences - welcoming more than 40,000 visitors in 2018.

May 2017/2018/2019

National Festival of Making will next take place on 6th & 7th June 2020


Festival of Making is a CIC Community Interest Company

Best Non Music Festival at the UK Festival Awards Visit Lancashire Large Tourism Event of the Year Award, 2018
Best New Business, The Hive Awards

Selected Press
BBC Radio 6 with Lauren Laverne
BBC Radio 4, The Today Programme
The Guardian

The Challenge
To maximise the potential of this unique festival concept across 25 locations in a busy town centre whilst juggling the differing demands of over 100 exhibits, performers, traders and making workshops.


Making Workshops - Highlights Gallery

In 2018 our evaluation showed that over there were 10,800 opportunities to MAKE at National Festival of Making! Audiences got hands on with 3D printing, turning a pot, making new digital music, making a mass clay sculpture, screen printing, crafting pewter jewellery, learning the engineering behind the classic paper plane & moulding copper roses - This is a Festival that celebrates all making - from STEAM to handcraft.


Deco Publique Services Provided

Research | Creative Direction | Programming | Project Management | Festival Direction | Arts Commissioning |Budget Control | Operations | Design, Marketing & PR Direction

“I have rarely seen Blackburn, or indeed any other similar town, so animated and lively and I am certain that the Festival of Making will be envied by many other places, not just for the inevitable economic benefit but also for the perception changing and morale boosting impact of the event. 

The Festival of Making seemed to me to be a model of how a city can transform and reimagine itself by working with and for its people.”

Festival Visitor

Chromatagram - Liam Hopkins, Lazerian + Cardboard Box Company at Blackburn’s Cotton Exchange

Chromatagram - Liam Hopkins, Lazerian + Cardboard Box Company at Blackburn’s Cotton Exchange

"Everything about the festival was so brilliantly done and I have heard nothing but enormous positivity... Personally, it was a joy to be part of - you’ve all done a huge thing for this town.”

Patrick Grant, Community Clothing

National Festival of Making 2017, a Film by O Production


A new kind of festival for a new age of making

Art in Manufacturing is a commissioning programme designed to place major manufacturers at the heart of the Festival programme and provide a platform for multidisciplinary artists to make new work in industry.


Art in Manufacturing Gallery

Commissioned Artists and Manufacturers

Season One

Bella May Leonard + Silentnight | James Bloomfield + Darwen Terracotta | Jamie Holman + Roach Bridge Tissues | Grennan & Sperandio + Panaz | Jeni McConnell + Cookson & Clegg | Lazerian + Cardboard Box Company | Michelle Wren + Graham and Brown | Robyn Woolston + MGS Plastics | 

Season Two

Liz West + Graham & Brown | David Murphy + WEC Group | Dawinder Bansal + Domestic Makers | Sarah Hardacre + Surface Print | Martyn Ware + Multiple Manufacturers | Hannah Fox + Cardboard Box Company | Nicola Ellis + Ritherdon |

Season Three

Daksha Patel + Blackburn Yarn Dyers | Liz Wilson + Spiroflow | Dan Edwards + The Senator Group | Anna Ray + Forbo Flooring | Amy Pennington + Heritage Envelopes |

Festival Gallery

Photography by Robin Zahler, Derren Lee Poole and Richard Tymon


The National Festival of Making is a Community Interest Company - Deco Publique Partners, Lauren Zawadzki & Elena Gifford are Festival of Making Directors, along with Wayne Hemingway MBE and Non Executive Director and independent artist, Jamie Holman.

We commission new original works, curate and produce the Festival with multiple partners and stakeholders, including with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council; Arts Council England’s Creative People & Places programme - Super Slow Way; Creative Lancashire; Source Creative and Perspective PR.

The Festival is supported with funding from Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and Super Slow Way.