• In the age when global production chains are stretched all the way to coastal China, we take a moment to rethink what kind of values making and industrial production offers for Europe!
• What kind of culture can we imagine industrial production supports?
• The colourful tradition of Wroclaw with its large and successful industrial, research and high-tech sectors is an ideal environment to pose a question on the meaning and cultural value of industrial production and making.

Every time when technology prompts a change in production, big socio-economic changes are to follow. So was the case with the automation, containerization and globalization of production that powered an exodus of industrial production from Europe to the Global South. In the wake of the crisis that followed, the European cities started to restructure; substituting production with services. One such strategy of regeneration was extracting economic value in form of tourism from traditional past. In the 80s, the old industrial towns (now new cultural centres) used “artificial culture” to rekindle the economic growth (Liverpool – Tate Gallery, Bilbao – Guggenheim Museum, Ruhrgebiet - Duisburg Nord). The 90s and 2000s saw the rise of knowledge economy as the next economic motor. Modelled on the templates of Stanford and its technological park, cities like London and Berlin are increasingly becoming hubs of contemporary IT knowledge products, services and patents, only to be monetized for the sake of the economy.

And what of the culture of making? It seems that the only type of value contemporary world understands is an economic one. Hence, the goal of any city is its climb towards the service sector. But what about all the makers, tinkerers and producers and its embedded know-how? Who will then make all the shirts, phones, cars, bulbs, baskets, sleepers, books, pens…? The value of making has been utterly diminished. The culture of making has given way to the culture of ideas; disassociated from the concrete world of things and objects.

Main topic of the conference is a kind of “call to arms” to re-think production and making as part of the innovation process giving it a rightful cultural place and value!
With the exodus of industry in the 80s, we banished not only the production but also the knowledge of making and its culture. Knowledge of ides should not be disassociated form the knowledge of making, therefore the conference aims to tackle the following topics:
• What is the capacity of industrial production and making in general for a viable city culture?
• Can production and making be a viable part of the knowledge economy and how?
• How to re-establish the cultural value of making and production vis-à-vis its economic value?