National Festival of Making


A new kind of festival

for a new age of making

The first National Festival of Making took place in Blackburn on the 6th & 7th of May and saw over 30,000 visitors descend on the sun-drenched town centre for an explosion of manufacturing, art, digital, science and craft experiences in a vibrant celebration of Britain’s unrivalled making heritage and its bright future.

Deco Publique joined forces with Place Shakers and Hemingway Design to form a Community Interest Company to oversee the development and delivery of this unique festival concept, devising works and opportunities to celebrate the UK's making narrative through a permanent annual platform. 

Our arts-led festival ethos took centre stage with the groundbreaking set of new commissions, Art in Manufacturing, delivering innovative works of international standard to Blackburn's most inspiring locations. With makers, artists, educators, performers, venue hosts, food traders, manufacturers, volunteers, workshop hosts, traders, partnership organisations and sponsors we worked with over 250 people to bring new ideas, investment and identity to the North of England. We can't wait for next year.

6th & 7th May, 2017


Festival of Making CIC is a partnership between Deco Publique, HemingwayDesign and Placeshakers

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 nineteen locations in a busy town centre whilst juggling the differing demands of over 100 exhibits, performers, traders and workshops. 


Services Provided

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


The National Festival of Making 2017, Film by O Production


"The organisation and variety of activities was fantastic... the space was alive and walking from King William Street to the Cathedral Quarter was like walking through a major national arts festival!


"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

Key facts

30,000 additional visitors to Blackburn town centre, 50% more than targeted.

Economic impact calculated at over £800,000

51% of visitors from outside the area


The National Festival of Making is delivered by Deco Publique, HemingwayDesign and Placeshakers in association with Super Slow Way, Maintain Perspective and Source. The festival is supported with funding from Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and Super Slow Way.