The National Festival of Making Conference, May 2018

Various locations in Blackburn and Preston

Book Tickets

Creative Lancashire are proud partners of National Festival of Making (FOM), a vibrant celebration of Britain’s manufacturing and making heritage, taking place on 12 and 13 May in Blackburn.

In the days surrounding the weekend celebration, Creative Lancashire will present the National Festival of Making Conference programme, in association with partners such as Crafts Council, Lancashire Skills Hub and GF Smith, to name a few.

Join us for a series of presentations, panels and discussions aimed at creative practitioners, professional makers, manufacturing businesses, and those working in related fields.

See what EVENTS we have lined up for you.

Find out more about our SPEAKERS.

Festival of Making conference programme tickets can be booked via Eventbrite. To keep updated please subscribe to our newsletter

Our main Conference Programme runs between 10 and 21 May, with related events taking place in June, July and later in the year.

Our events we will explore the relationship between making, skills, and new or emerging technologies, through a variety of applications, interventions and interactions with arts and crafts. 

Our Business Innovation Growth Symposium day is 17 May, where the focus of discussions will be:

  • The crucial role of creativity and making in helping businesses to innovate and solve problems.
  • The skills we need to teach now, in readiness for our “factories of the future”.
  • How creative skills are applied in industry and their role in supply chain innovation.

We’ve got a diverse and interesting range of speakers, exhibitions and screenings to inspire you.

Take a look at the Conference Agenda below to see what we have planned …

Conference Agenda

Thursday 10 May 2018

17.30 - 19.00

Graphic Means - Special Preview Screening

Briar Levit's documentary considers what the design industry looked like prior to the moment when the first Mackintosh computer was introduced. A special preview screening, with an introduction by Ian Swift (AKA Swifty), who features in the film. Booking via Eventbrite. (Venue: Blackburn College and University Centre)

Friday 11 May 2018

14.00 - 15.30

Swifty - Meet the Maker Session

An intimate conversation with Ian Swift (AKA Swifty) and hosted by Dave Kirkwood, for a specially invited audience of creative industry practitioners. Limited spaces available for members of the public via Eventbrite. (Venue: Blackburn College & University Centre)

Wednesday 16 May 2018

14.30 - 16.30

People's Production Lab - Roundtable Discussion

A session discussing the economic benefit of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces for a specially invited audience of creative industry practitioners. Limited tickets, booking essential via Eventbrite. (Venue: People's Production Lab, Preston)

18.00 - 21.00

Graphic Means - Special Preview Screening & Conversations in Creativity

A premier screening of Briar Levit's documentary about the design industry prior to the introduction of the 'Mac'. Followed by a Conversations in Creativity Q&A session hosted by Dave Kirkwood, with Tash Willcocks (Hyper Island), and Ian Swift (AKA Swifty) and Malcolm Garrett, both featured in the film. Tickets via Eventbrite. (Venue: The Continental Arts Space, Preston)

Thursday 17 May 2018

10.00 - 12.00

Skills & Factory 4.0 - Roundtable Discussion

An intimate conversation about creating and making skills in education and training, the skills implications of factory 4.0, and the impact of automisation and other related new technology in manufacturing. This session is for a specially invited audience of creative industry practitioners, education representatives and key local business partners. Limited tickets available for members of the public via Eventbrite. (Venue: Paulinus Room, Blackburn Cathedral)

13.00 - 16.30

Business Innovation Growth - Conference Symposium

A series of presentations and discussions hosted in conjunction with Crafts Council and Lancashire Skills Hub, exploring the relationship between making, skills, and new or emerging technologies through a variety of applications, interventions and interactions with arts and crafts. Tickets via Eventbrite (Venue: North Transept, Blackburn Cathedral)

18.00 - 21.00

Martyn Ware - Conversations in Creativity

Together with host John Robb, Martyn will be discussing his collaboration with AMS Neve for Festival of Making, and his long music career as a founding member of Human League and Heaven 17, and his various art and creative projects. Tickets via Eventbrite. (Venue: North Transept, Blackburn Cathedral)

Monday 21 May 2018

18.00 - 21.00

Art in Manufacturing - Conversations in Creativity

Talk and panel featuring the artists, manufacturers and commissioning team behind both this and last years' projects. We explore what they have learnt from this collaborative 'making' experience. Tickets via Eventbrite. (Venue: Blackburn Museum)

Other Events

11-18 May

Swifty "Instant Lettering" Exhibition

Swifty's new exhibition in collaboration with GF Smith, featuring a series of Letraset-based paintings, will be premiered at the Festival of Making. Free entry. Viewing times: 9-5 Sat 12th, Mon 14th to Frid 18th, 12-4 Sun 13th. (South Transept, Blackburn Cathedral)

11-18 May

Malcolm Garrett Exhibition

Details to be announced.

12 May - 4 Aug

Art in Manufacturing Exhibition

This exhibition features some of the collaborative work created by a host of artists and makers from both this year and last year's collaborations. Free entry. (Venue: Blackburn Museum)

12 May

Swifty Letraset Workshop

Swifty will be running a workshop from 14.00 - 16.00 where you can make your own Letraset badge. Free entry but limited spaces. Time: 14.00 - 16.00 (Venue: South Transept, Blackburn Cathedral)

12-13 May

Crafts Council Portfolio Advice Sessions

Taster advisory sessions with an industry expert to kickstart your creative business. Book your slot via Eventbrite. (Venue: St Georges Hall, Blackburn)

12-13 May

Real to Reel Film Screenings

The Crafts Council festival of craft-based short films. Free entry. (Screening venues: King Georges Hall and at Blackburn Cathedral)

12-13 May

Art in Manufacturing 2017 Films

Our specially-commissioned films, created by Andy Walmsley of Wash Design, document the results of last years' collaborations. Free entry. (Venue: Blackburn Museum)

12-13 May

Kickstarter One-to-One Advice Sessions

Free 20-minute one-to-one sessions with Kickstarter's Outreach Lead, Heather Corcoran. Booking essential via Eventbrite. (Venue: Making Rooms, Blackburn)

7 June

Dave Kirkwood - Let's Talk

This extended roundtable discussion considers the creative process in relation to idea making and decision taking with guest speaker Dave Kirkwood. Time: 18.00 - 20.00. Limited free tickets available, pre-registration is essential. (Venue: Society 1, Preston)

5 July

Spaces & Places - Let's Talk

Roundtable discussion exploring the roles of museums, libraries, arts, cultural institutions and collections in cities of the future. Time: 17.30 - 19.30. Limited free tickets available, pre-registration is essential. (Venue: Society 1, Preston)


Blackburn Cathedral
Cathedral Close

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