In 2013 Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council decided to take radical action to support Blackburn town centre to rediscover its mojo.

Blackburn has a history of “art, skill, innovation and labour”

BIO No.65 King William Street

Working together to make and keep Blackburn Town Centre at the centre of the community’s experiences. A vibrant town centre is the heartbeat of the town, a place where its community gathers for human interaction, discourse, work, rest and play.

Based on the motto of the town of Arte et Laboure translated as ‘by skill and hard work’ Blackburn and its partners forged ahead to build a future led by creativity, industriousness and graft to ensure that BLACKBURN IS OPEN.

Grasping this concept the town, with Arts Council England funding support,  opened empty shops and forgotten buildings for creatives and makers, provided events, support and training and generally said ‘yes’.  3 years on and the call to action that was the Blackburn is Open project has reaped rewards for the town with increased confidence, creative activity and programming.

Key succession projects are:

The Making Rooms – creative and digital space

The Bureau centre for the arts

The National Festival of Making


Wayne Hemingway and Christine Court-780px

Blackburn is Open as a programme may have finished but has left Blackburn very much OPEN and looking towards the future. .

 Blackburn is Open Manifesto

 Blackburn is Open 12 Month Evaluation

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