Students and local communities very rarely have a say in what happens to the spaces which they live in and around. Ultimately, it is these people who choose to occupy and utilise these spaces, or not. Most spaces become disused when the sense of purpose or relevance is lost. This mainly happens as a result of change. In Blackburn’s case, a series of significant industrial, structural and economic changes have occurred over the last few decades, which have left the town almost unrecognisable to the surrounding population. No one is really quite sure what to do with, around, and in the town any more, except for shopping. A consequence of Blackburn’s identity crisis is that people have found new purposeful and relevant spaces in which to spend their time.

The Festival of Making aims to bring back Blackburn’s sense of purpose and reinstate the town as THE place for making. The ‘Take up Space’ project aims to bring people back to Blackburn, to reimagine its purpose and relevance through placemaking, for a new and future generation.

A crucial factor when considering any regeneration project is how to instil a sense of ownership back in the community. The title of the project aims to work as a call to action amongst students (and the wider community) to encourage this. A sense of ownership instils a sense of responsibility and pride. A sense of responsibility and pride creates thriving, community led spaces which promote cohesion and interaction… Most importantly, they are almost always self-managed and sustainable if they meet the community’s needs.


As part of the Festival of Making 2017, we conducted extensive research to rediscover Blackburn’s IDENTITY. We then applied this research to reimagine disused (or misused), and overlooked, abandoned, empty or underused spaces. Our focus has been on the empty space across from the Museum and Art Gallery. Students from the University Centre at Blackburn College BA (Hons) Graphic Communication degree programme have proposed concepts and ideas for this space and are showcasing their solutions for public consultation and community participation.


STUDENTS:  Farzana Ali  •  Robert Howarth  •  Yazmin Khanom  •  Rianna Rumball  •  Lewis Webster  • 

Sophie Wright  •  STAFF:  Jenna Gardner (Academic Subject Leader)