Highlights of Blackburn’s National Festival of Making 6-7th July announced

10 May 2024

The annual National Festival of Making will take over dozens of venues in the centre of Blackburn this July. Welcoming tens of thousands of visitors each year, the annual festival is a celebration of making and manufacturing in all its forms, from the kitchen table to the factory floor. Bringing together new commissions from nationally renowned artists and makers with a packed programme of free talks, workshops, events and live performances for the whole family, the festival is inspired by the creativity and culture that Blackburn has pioneered and produced for hundreds of years.

The Making Rooms, Blackburn

Highlights at this year’s Festival include:

The creative outcomes of Art in Manufacturing – months’ long artists’ residencies at leading Lancashire factories presented as part of Festival’s cultural programme:

  • A new contemporary ceramic ‘tapestry’ frieze by emerging artist, Manchester-based Nehal Aamir in collaboration with Darwen Terracotta and Faience at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery which marks its 150th anniversary this year.
  • British artist and designer of woven textiles Margo Selby is creating a large sculptural constructed textile that will feature a colour palette created from the colour choices of over 100 workers at Standfast & Barracks factory in Lancaster. This work is co-commissioned by the British Textile Biennial.
  • The first ever solo show by learning disabled artist, Manchester-based Horace Lindezey. Delivered with Venture Arts at The Making Rooms, Lindezey’s fascination with the ceremonies surrounding births, marriages and deaths is explored in a multi-disciplinary installation.
  • A factory ‘fun house’ from Brighton-based artist Sam Williams who specialises in playful sculpture. Inspired by the wonder, culture and physical environment Williams has enjoyed while in residency at The Cardboard Box Company, a large-scale installation, giving the illusion of a giant machine, will invite audiences to explore the colourful structure made mostly of cardboard, at The Cotton Exchange.
Stitch School


  • A 3m long collaborative tapestry table developed with Stitch-School with design influenced by refugee communities.
  • ‘Fold Your Town’ by creative play facilitators A Line Art. This interactive workshop encourages audiences of all ages to create an evolving model village version of Blackburn.
  • ‘12’, a photography exhibition from Blackburn-based photography research team John Harrison and Shaun McAllister, inspired by the motivations behind, and meanings of, volunteering.
  • Tony’s Ballroom, Blackburn’s iconic former Northern Soul venue will be taken over by Lancashire based youth culture creative studio Dirty Faces.
  • Trigger offers a moment of pause with ‘TEABREAK’, an audio experience to take audiences on a journey across the world over a brew.
  • Poet Beth Calverley will be on hand to create bespoke poems from visitors’ own words with her magical ‘Poetry Machine’.
  • Visitors can help build an urban growing system or take part in workshops where all ages can learn backstrap or paper weaving,leatherworking, screen printmaking, and lots more to be announced.
  • The STEAM Zone with Blackburn College will host science, technology, engineering, arts and maths activities all weekend alongside street food and vendors from the Taste Lancashire Market and the Makers Market by Hopeful & Glorious – a carefully curated collection of stalls selling local artisan products.
Taste Lancashire Market – showcasing Lancashire producers and makers.
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