Essex part of ambitious £4.3m project to drive creative industries

  • Date

    Fri 18 Jan 19

The UK Government has awarded £4.3m to develop the Thames Estuary Production Corridor, a collaborative project aiming to put the South East’s creative industries at the heart of the national industrial strategy.

Essex and the University of Kent are working together as part of the ambitious collaboration which also brings together local authorities plus the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

East 15 Acting School in Southend will be at the heart of many of the projects being developed. Essex will also host Creative Labs to bring together different sectors to take on challenges facing the area while our academics will lead on creating a new cultural tourism strategy and identity.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright announced the award from the Government’s Cultural Development Fund to help drive local economic growth through investment in culture, heritage and the creative industries.

The fund is part of the Government and industry’s landmark Creative Industries Sector Deal, to help the country’s world-leading cultural and creative businesses thrive.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “Creativity, arts and heritage make our towns and cities unique and our communities better places to live. The Cultural Development Fund will support tailored local plans that use culture to create jobs, boost tourism and ultimately regenerate communities."

“This funding will directly benefit young people and creative businesses across the Thames Estuary and further the region’s ambitions to be an international centre for culture and the arts.”
Jeremy Wright Culture Secretary 
The Thames Estuary Production Corridor (TEPC) Partnership includes:
  • South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN)

  • South East Local Enterprise Partnership

  • Kent and Essex County Councils

  • 11 local authority areas represented by Thames Gateway Kent Partnership 

  • Opportunity South Essex

  • South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN)

  • The GLA

  • Royal Docks

  • 7 East London boroughs

  • Cultural organisations Metal and Whitstable Biennale.

This vision will be led by a dynamic cross-sector partnership across London, Kent and Essex with students from all three University of Essex campuses benefitting from the award.

“We’re incredibly proud to be part of this project which will transform perceptions of the Thames Estuary and highlight its unique strengths. I’m excited that our students and academics will be helping drive forward the creative industries, develop new sector capacity and redefine how we understand the creativity and innovation rooted in the Thames Estuary.” 
Professor Lorna Fox O'Mahony Deputy Vice-Chancellor Designate

East 15 Acting School students from the new Creative Producing BA course will take part in residencies as part of their third year industry placement, while academics from across Essex will collaborate with artists from the UK and overseas on a series of digital art commissions.

Essex will also run a series of Creative Labs, which will bring together entrepreneurs, technologist, academics, students and leading professionals from sectors such as health, social care and ageing to address contemporary Estuary issues.

As part of the award, our academics will also lead on creating a new cultural tourism strategy for the Thames Estuary.

Further activities the project aims to achieve between 2019 and 2022 will include:
  • Estuary 2020: The most ambitious edition of the month-long international arts festival to date, that will include new arts commissions in locations along the Thames Estuary and involve local communities across the region.
  • Estuary Works: New creative workspaces for creative and digital production in creative clusters like Margate, Southend and Chatham Dockyard. 
  • Re:Generation 2030: A creative apprenticeship scheme, creating job opportunities for 60 young people from the Estuary’s disadvantaged areas
  • Cultural Co-Location: piloting an innovative approach to embedding art and culture into in Ebbsfleet, Purfleet and Basildon demonstrating new practice in the role that arts and culture can play in planning and placemaking.