Manufacturing, design and innovation in the capital

Making It in London logo

London was historically a centre of manufacturing: ship-building in Deptford, mills in Turnmill Street (Milton’s ‘dark satanic mills’ was a reference to London, not ‘The North’), engineering in Clerkenwell, weaving in Spitalfields, printing in Blackfriars and Fleet Street and, later, consumer electronics on the Great West Road, automotive in Dagehnam, and aerospace and automotive in Hackney Marshes.

With many believing we have reached the limits of austerity, the debate about the economy is moving towards innovation and growth. The importance of manufacturing (and the creation of real value) is being recognised by policy makers and in the media, as well as its role in facilitating progress, and improving quality of life. New possibilities are presented by new materials, new processes, information technology, and the merging of services and products. In particular, design and creativity are perceived as having value in all these areas

We are hosting a day of discussion and debate at the V&A, entitled ‘Making It in London’, on 18 September as part of the London Design Festival. It will bring together industry and manufacturing, engineering and design, education and research, and economics and policy together to discuss these new possibilities and the challenges of realising their potential, in the context of London’s economy and beyond. It will have a strong envisioning element, using design to help participants imagine future scenarios. We will also facilitate participants connecting after the event to share ideas and collaborate.


Themes around with the event will focus are:

  1. What’s new and exciting in engineering, manufacturing and design?
  2. How is London becoming a centre for creativity and manufacturing?
  3. Can designers, engineers and manufacturers collaborate better?
  4. How can government and education help – or avoid hindering – progress?
  5. What inspiring projects can we envision around manufacturing and design?


  1. 10:15: Making: The Future: further information on LDF site | Book via V&A site
  2. 11:30: Making: Productive Partnerships: further information on LDF site | Book via V&A site
  3. 13:30: Making: London the Creative Workshop of the World?: further information on LDF site | Book via V&A site
  4. 14:45: Making: Progress in Manufacturing: further information on LDF site | Book via V&A site

Session tickets cost £15 (£10 concessions); all four sessions booked together cost £45 (£30 concessions).


Speakers include Daniel Charny, FROM-NOW-ON and curator of ‘The Power of Making’ exhibition; Chris Lefteri, Chris Lefteri Design; Andy Huntington, BERG; Zoe Laughlin, Institute of Making, UCL; Peter Marsh, former manufacturing editor, Financial Times, and author of ‘The New Industrial Revolution’; Geoff McCormick, Alloy, and Creative Industries KTN; Tobi Schneidler, Bouncepad; John Spindler, Capital Enterprise; Martin Stevens, IT IS 3D; and Caroline Till, MA Textile Futures, Central Saint Martins. More presenters to be announced…

Making It in London

10:00-16:00, Wednesday 18 September, 2013

Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre, V&A, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Session tickets cost £15 (£10 concessions); all four sessions booked together cost £45 (£30 concessions)

Via the V&A’s site