Making Places

Each year, ECHN supports one Workshop that is organised by one of its members. This year, the winning proposal came from ‘The Making Rooms’ – a makerspace in Blackburn, UK. and the Workshop will be about ‘Making Places’.

With this workshop, Hub Managers will gain the tools and expertise to start or upgrade their makerspace or small FabLab. This programme is designed to connect established makerspaces with spaces that have a dream of bringing making to their communities, and for everyone to learn a lot!

Makerspaces inspire and transform communities; one soon to be ‘maker’ at a time. No two makerspaces are alike, but each one shares the same heart of curiosity and exploration.



Makerspace managers are some of the most passionate people about their work and spaces. In this programme, we are connecting established and aspiring makerspaces together to learn from each other. Our host The Making Rooms has been training their community for 7 years, and  their director Tom has been involved in makerspaces for 13 years and visited over 40 makerspaces. 

“Every space has discovered a few pieces of the puzzle, we need to bring them together and share the big picture.” – Tom Macpherson-Pope

27-30 November 2023

The Making Rooms

Blackburn, UK

What is it? A potent mix of practical skills and space planning.
We will touch on everything from thinking about your community to what machines to get and how to use them (yes that does come second!). We foresee a lot of peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and idea generation.

Who is this designed for? Space managers.
Any hub interested in starting or upgrading their makerspace, or adding it to their current offering.

Who is eligible? ECHN members & pinned hubs.
You know who you are! If you’re not already, sign up!The workshop is open to everyone, but 15 seats are reserved to managers/leaders of creative hubs with a regular ECHN membership.

To include participants with different levels of knowledge of machinery and making, the selection process has been designed to ensure a consistent cohort and that the topics covered are accessible and novel to all.

How to apply?

You will be asked various questions about your technical literacy and machine experience, as well as what forms of making you have in your hub.

The workshop will happen in November or December 2023. The final dates will be picked to accomodate everyone’s participation.

What’s included

– 4 days of training (and fun)

– All the materials we will use during the workshop 

– Personalised plan based on 1-1 consultation 

– Toolkit to help other hubs include an element of making in their spaces

– 6 lectures from project partners

– Breakfast, lunch and refreshments

– Free accommodation (in twin rooms – surcharge for individual room) 

–  €200 travel allowance for international travellers

–  Opening and closing party provided by Blackburn with Darwen council.


What is not included

– Travel for non-international participants

– Evening meals & drinks on two of the nights (av. €15-25) 


Final Output

During the programme, we will co-develop a toolkit to help other hubs include a maker space or element of making in their spaces, both from our experience and from gathering ideas and insights from the participants and the learnings from our local speakers and partners.


The Workshop

During the programme, we will train the participants on various making technologies & techniques and discuss how they can be included in their hubs. Some of the sessions participants can choose from:

Laser cutting

3D modelling

3D printing

CNC routing

Moulding & casting





Vinyl cutting

Screen printing

Plastic recycling (Precious Plastic)

Sewing machine

Embroidery machine


LoRa WAN (long range sensor networks)

Creating eco-materials


Each day we will also hear from our project partners and our director about their organisations and how they engage people in making, to improve lives.

Lauren Zawadzki - Director of The National Festival of Making

The National Festival of Making is a unique celebration of making, from the kitchen table to the factory floor.

Presenting a programme of work that combines Art, Manufacturing, Making and Communities, we commission international and national artists to create world class works, a year round programme and a participatory FREE FAMILY festival for all to enjoy.

Lauren Zawadzki is the Festival Director and Co-Founder of the National Festival of Making CIC. Lauren works across the full scope of the company’s activities, including strategic development, commissioning of new artistic work, stakeholder and partnership relations, fundraising and producing specific projects within the organisation’s creative portfolio. 

Jenny Rutter - Director of British Textile Biennial

The British Textile Biennial throws a spotlight on the nation’s creativity,  innovation and expression in textiles against the backdrop of the impressive  infrastructure of the cotton industry in Pennine Lancashire.

With its epic mills and grandiose civic architecture along the country’s longest waterway, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, the landscape tells the story of textiles. This biennial festival celebrates that story while showcasing its contemporary expression with the community that has textiles in its DNA.

Jenny has 2 decades of experience supporting and developing creatives’ practices in the Northwest. Her career has included local government regeneration, creative industries and professional development roles as well as managing and producing a wide variety of creative industry & arts programmes, including major festivals and events. 

Laurie Peak - Director of Super Slow Way

Super Slow Way supports people who have little or no experience of the traditionally subsidised arts sector to weave the fabric of a future cultural landscape in Pennine Lancashire along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Corridor using its rich assets of environment, heritage, and community.

They have worked with their consortium partners over the last 6 years to carve out a role in East Lancashire, the wider county of Lancashire as well as nationally and internationally, as a cultural development agency that was previously lacking. They have increasingly developed their programming to address the needs of the communities with whom they work, to become a key strategic partner that works with organisations, artists, residents and local authorities to spotlight and enhance the cultural reputation of East Lancashire.

As a Director of Super Slow Way, Laurie has extensive experience of public art commissioning, destination creation and audience development; making bold and ambitious projects happen by inspiring leadership, negotiation and partnership building.

Jamie Holman Director Uncultured Creatives

Jamie Holman is a multidisciplinary artist based in Blackburn and works as one half of ‘Uncultured Creatives’ a collaboration with Curator and Producer Alex Zawadzki, delivering works in public, digital, print and traditional gallery spaces. 

Jamie’s work is often fabricated using industrial processes or with heritage crafts makers and artists. His work is informed by the heritage of working-class communities, in particular the impact of the industrial revolution and the cultures that have manifested as a consequence of its emergence and subsequent decline. 

In 2018 Jamie became a Festival of Making CIC Board Member and formerly led BA Fine Art at Blackburn College University Centre.

Hannah Allen CEO of Blackburn & Darwen YouthZone

Blackburn and Darwen YouthZone is a 21st century centre for young people, located in the heart of Blackburn, aiming to change the prospects offered to young people in the area. Offering a state-of-the-art £5 million facility, young people have a space which provides “Somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to”.

Uniquely, this is happening in partnership with young people rather than on their behalf. As such, Blackburn and Darwen YouthZone is led with the principle of ‘starting where young people are, going where young people take us’.

As chief executive, Hannah is proud to lead a passionate team to inspire the next generation. She is dedicated to delivering sustainable change with communities and has spent her career in the most deprived areas working alongside local people and communities to co-design solutions, gaining best practice recognition by national bodies, awards and academic research. 

Tom Macpherson-Pope - Director of The Making Rooms

Having come into the industry through his own experiences as a user of the first makerspace in the UK, Fab Lab Manchester, Tom knows how impactful these spaces can be on the lives of the people they serve. With a background in developing educational electronics, he has a keen interest in how to remove barriers to entry and has visited over 40 makerspaces across Europe to collect different parts of this puzzle.


The Making Rooms is a community interest company, based in the heart of Blackburn, England, dedicated to giving opportunities to people to engage with creative technologies, especially to those who would otherwise not be able to access the equipment or training opportunities. It is the place where art meets technology, creativity meets engineering and everyone is welcome. 

This hub is a community maker space, designed to be accessible to all, regardless of experience. The Making Rooms takes its members on a journey, from helping them discover & awaken their inner makers to training them to become entrepreneurs or join the creative economy. It is all about maker education, from traditional to high-tech, from youth to new hub leaders.

The Making Rooms offers various machines and technologies such as a pottery wheel & kiln, a range of 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, screen printing, mould making, electronics development & programming. 

More recently, this hub has diversified into four themes of sustainability: organic technologies, plastic recycling, sustainable fashion and device repair & reuse. These themes are being explored with various partners including universities, local businesses and third sector organisations.

The ECHN Workshops are an initiative promoted by the European Creative Hubs Network to empower smaller creative hubs and to make use of their expertise for the broad ECHN community. Every year, the ECHN members nominate a workshop proposal that takes place in the chosen creative hub with the support of ECHN and is cofunded by the European Commission.

The ECHN Workshops put the spotlight on smaller or peripheral creative hubs in order to identify hidden basins of innovative practices and accelerate the sharing of knowledge among the members of the ECHN network and beyond.