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Event Alert: The National Festival of Making, Blackburn, 6th-7th May

Gareth Halfacree

The National Festival of Making

The UK now has a National Festival of Making, and there's little surprise to find that it's being held in the UK Maker Belt - Blackburn, Lancashire, to be precise - on the 6th and 7th of May 2017.

With the venue chosen for its links to manufacturing - a quarter of Blackburn's population works in the making and manufacturing industries, far higher than most UK cities - and organised by a group led by designer Wayne Hemingway, the event is billed a "a new kind of festival for a new age of making." The prime attraction is to be the unveiling of a series of commissions, created by UK manufacturers in collaboration with artists and makers and designed to celebrate the UK's making heritage and place in the future.

As well as a weekend public event featuring hands-on activities, tours, talks, craft drinks and food, the Festival includes two additional tracks: The Art in Manufacturing, where the result of the commissions will be showcased for the first time; and Front Room Factories, a series of documentary films looking at local makers who use their homes as miniature production lines.

"This is a new kind of festival for a new age of making, one where the economy is centred around not only quality, skill and ingenuity, but one that fits into a shifting landscape of social change, of a welcome diversity of people and one of a networked, digital age," said Wayne Hemingway, joint founder of the Community Interest Company (CIC) behind the Festival. "By commissioning artists to work with manufacturers in Blackburn and Darwen, the festival is provoking new and exciting ideas that strike a chord through creativity and imagination. Yet we’re here also to underscore the remarkable fact that this area still has a successful manufacturing economy unlike of a scale greater than just about anywhere else in the UK and can provide inspiration to others.

"Above all we are here to have a celebration so expect The Festival of Making’s music to make you move your feet, its street food to tickle your taste buds, its craft beers to hit the spot and its workshops to introduce you to new skills."

More information on the event can be found on the official website.

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