Mess Making As Social Glue

“The Making Manifesto” 




"The Making Manifesto" research project at Byker Community Centre by Lady Kitt and accompanying song with music by Bridie Jackson


Byker Community Association (registered charity 701348), is based at Byker Community Centre (BCC). Run by the community for the community (with two paid staff and a team of around 20 volunteers):


"We work with people of all ages and in many different circumstances in our wonderfully diverse community of Byker and beyond. From 2016 -18 artist Lady Kitt worked with us as a long term“Maker in Residence” 


What motivates us: Supporting and responding to our community;  both long term residents and more transient groups. Understanding our local community by being aware of and celebrating our role in wider regional, national and international communities. Providing a space where our community can access support, offer support, learn, experiment, and create positive change locally and elsewhere."


The Making Manifesto: In the second week of the residency Kitt had a conversation with a women, who receives support from the community centre. This women said the community centre “saved my life- no joke”. There were 3 distinct elements to this support 1) Immediate help with basic needs- food etc. 2) Help with long term needs- employment, health, family relationships. 3) Something “to live for”- people to talk to, things to enjoy, a sense of purpose, shared goals, a role in building a better community for herself and others.

This prompted Kitt to ask “How can the Making Residency strengthen all types of support that BCC provides?” Trustees, staff and volunteers at BCC together with Kitt considered this question and decided to address it by experimenting with a "Making Manifesto".



Making Manifesto:

Byker Community Centre has a proud tradition of Craftivism (activism through making, responding to and creating change through Making - from knitting jumpers for local homeless people, to making banners for Pride and, in 2017, holding the first Nasty Women exhibition in the UK).


Over the course of a year through discussions, workshops, shared meals, and parties participants investigated the role of Making in the centre.


The Making Manifesto is about that investigation: what making is used for, how   it is valued, what forms it takes, how Making helps people achieve positive change. To celebrate, value, preserve, develop and share this  The Making Manifesto was created.

The Making Manifesto

(AKA Making Makes Us Marvelous)

  1. We will joyfully make a mess (and always help with the tidying up).

  2. We will make to solve problems and ask questions.

  3. We will use our making to gather and build strength in our community, which is (and will always be) ‘round the corner and ‘round the world.

  4. We will make generously and with gratitude; never forgetting to encourage and support people in their making. Never being closed to new people or ideas. Never forgetting to say “thank you”.

  5. We will appreciate the many forms that making takes: from a cup of tea with a just the right amount of milk, to a rallying song that makes our point, to the dusty document in the back of a draw, that sits there quietly keeping us safe.

  6. Our making should not be bad for the world: we will recycle and use materials that are kind to this our one and only beautiful Earth.

  7. We will value our making, our makers and our supporters: By sharing, celebrating and rewarding what we do. Discussions, exhibitions, expeditions, socials, social media, writing, singing, thinking, having parties… the possibilities are endless.

  8. We understand that making is relaxing and also tiring, so we will make, and also rest from making.

  9.  Every day we will remember that our making makes real change in the now and in the many nows to come.


*10 is a blank space, just in case


(And don’t forget… making makes us marvelously us)

Image Credits:
Edyta Czarnecka
Jason Thompson
Will Sadler
Making Manifesto Song - Words by groups and individuals from Byker Community Centre. Music by Bridie Jackson