Creative Estuary Commissions

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.

Estuary 2020, the festival of visual art, literature and film will take place between 18th September and 18th October.


Over the next two years, Creative Estuary Commissions 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. Estuary are 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 this year.

The festival will have four main geographic hubs: –

  • Southend (Shoeburyness)
  • Basildon (Pitsea)
  • Gravesham
  • Chatham Intra

Estuary is seeking a lead partner for each of these hubs. The funding award for each hub is £15,000.

What is meant by lead partner?

“We are open to responses from individuals (curator, producer, artist etc) or from organisations (either solo or in partnership) – but what we mean by ‘lead partner’ is that we are looking for someone to lead on a set of ideas that include contributions from a collection of creatives.”

“A few examples could be: a number of new commissions sited along a high street / a collective exhibition / a performance that could travel between venues / a weekend of programmed talks or activity on an estuary-based theme. The point is, while it’s fine to include some activity of your own, we are looking for a more collective response and one that enables and strengthens collaboration and partnership. We would anticipate that the outputs should be free to access for the public. The lead partners will be responsible for all matters relating to securing necessary insurances, permissions and licensing, contracts and agreements.”

Estuary 2020

Application and deadline

Find out more about how to apply here. The deadline for lead partner applications is March 9th.

The deadline for the Associated Programme call is April 30th.

Estuary 2020 is led by arts organisations, Metal (South Essex) and Cement Fields (North Kent) working with a wide range of arts and agency partnerships across the region.