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Invitation to emerging producers, curators, artists/creative practitioners and organisations

Creative Estuary is a partnership of public sector and cultural organisations working together with a simple ambition – to transform 60 miles of the Thames Estuary across Essex and Kent into one of the most exciting cultural hubs in the world.

Stretching from Southend to Margate, the Thames Estuary is a region of untold creative potential. A network of fishing towns, heritage sites, imposing dockyards and post-industrial communities, it is home to some of the fastest growing regions in the UK and benefits from unprecedented levels of regeneration investment.

Creative Estuary is just getting started on a three-year £7m programme funded through the DCMS Cultural Development Fund and by partners.

Invitation for bids

Over the next two years, Creative Estuary will support projects at a range of scales; from small scale grassroots commissions for emerging cultural activists, to large scale commissions with a range of partners.

The first opportunity to get off the starting blocks is in the form of an invitation. Creative Estuary is looking for four ‘lead partners’ to help create a vibrant response to the recent call out for Associated Programme to Estuary 2020, the festival of visual art, literature and film that will take place between 18 September and 18 October later this year.

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The festival will have four main geographic hubs:

  • In South Essex: Southend (Shoeburyness) and Basildon (Pitsea)
  • In North Kent: Gravesham and Chatham Intra

Creative Estuary would like to find a lead partner for each of these hubs.

How much funding is on offer?

Creative Estuary has four £15,000 awards, one for each festival hub, amounting to a total of £60,000.

Each response must outline how they might go about adding value to this amount, with at least £15,000 in match funding (combined cash and in-kind) and clear plan of how you will secure that support.

Creative Estuary expects that no more than £5,000 of each award will be spent on staff costs and overheads. Since the Estuary 2020 team has committed funds to produce marketing materials for the Associate Programme, Creative Estuary would not expect partners to cover marketing costs from this award.


Responses to this invitation should be sent by email to Natalie Parsons, Creative Estuary Project Assistant at n.j.parsons@kent.ac.uk to arrive no later than noon on Monday 9th March.

The panel will make a final decision by Friday 20 March.

Find out more and how to apply

To find out more, including further information on Creative Estuary, how to apply and the criteria for successful candidates, download the PDF below.