Get Involved

While we continue to follow government guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic, in the interests of the wellbeing of our employees, artists, partners and the public, we are taking precautionary measures and have postponed all our public programme until further notice. During this time we are also adopting an optional remote working policy for staff.

We are confident that we can continue to do much of our work outside the usual office environment and are also exploring all the ways in which some of our programmes can temporarily be adapted to take place in a digital or remote space. Please be assured we are working closely with partners to get a clearer position on longer-term programme and activities and we will stay in regular touch as events unfold.

In the meantime, we fully support the position ACE has taken to best support the sector during these challenging and unprecedented times, which can be found here. We are reviewing the situation on a daily basis and will post any updates here on our website.

Thank you for your understanding.


The Water Replies

The Water Replies

As part of Estuary 2021 we are inviting young people and teachers from across South Essex and North Kent to get involved in creating a collective response to what life is like living and working by the great and spectacular river that is the Thames Estuary.

Led by published poets Selina Nwulu (London Poet Laureate, 2015) and Caroline Bird (London Olympics Official Poet, 2012) the project invites to you write poetry, prose and lyrics capturing your relationship to the estuary and how living by the water impacts on the rhythms of your daily life. The resulting work will form a very visible part of the programme presented at Estuary 2021 through an exhibition/reading room, live events and as billboards and posters across the region.

There are multiple ways to get involved – all fully funded through Estuary 2021 and our partners:-


1. Creative Journaling (Open to participants until Autumn 2020)

2. Guide to Teaching Poetry (Released Autumn 2020)

3. Public Programme as part of Estuary 2021

Continue reading to find out more about each of these opportunities and book your place on our free creative workshops.


1. Creative Journaling (Open to participants until 1 August 2020)

This opportunity is open to all ages. We invite anyone living along the estuary coastline to keep a creative journal about life alongside the water. There is no set format - journals can be completed with words, drawings, collage and thoughts in however the person taking part would like to do it.

These journals will be brought together to form a public exhibition for the duration of Estuary 2021, in venues on both sides of the river, celebrating the impact of the water on the daily lives of local people.

To receive a journal and a guidance booklet in the post, please contact :
Metal (for South Essex journallers) : [email protected] / 01702 470700
Cement Fields (for North Kent journallers) : [email protected] / 01227 824350

Follow @EstuaryFestival and #TheWaterReplies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to join in with the project online and connect with fellow journallers along the coastline.


Free Online Workshops. 
Book via the links below.

Bring your journal along and enjoy short experimental exercises led by professional poets and artists. These sessions welcome journalers aged 14+. All writing levels are very welcome to attend.

Tues 26 May : 6pm - 7pm. Poetry & Journaling with Caroline Bird
Fri 29 May : 1pm - 2pm. Poetry & Journaling with Caroline Bird
Weds 3 June : 1pm - 2pm. Poetry & Journaling with Selina Nwulu
Weds 2 June : 6pm - 7pm. Poetry & Journaling with Selina Nwulu

More coming soon.


2. Guide to Teaching Poetry

A free digital and printed resource can be sent to you, featuring workshop ideas and suggestions which you can put to use quickly within your classroom, applicable for primary, secondary, SEN and HE classes.

This pack will include fast-paced poetry and creative writing exercises, designed by poets Caroline Bird and Selina Nwulu, plus inspiration for your students and staff. Our research with local teachers has ensured that the content is easy to put to use in the classroom, slots into the curriculum and supports Ofsted requirements.

To receive a FREE teachers pack later this year, please contact:
Metal (for South Essex schools) : [email protected] / 01702 470700
Cement Fields (for North Kent schools) : [email protected] / 01227 824350


3. Public Programme as part of Estuary 2021

We envisage that through this programme, wonderful work will be created by people of all ages who live and work along this amazing river that we all share. We are expecting the unexpected, thoughtful, funny, moving, short, long, momentary, mundane, extra-ordinary and everything in between. Brought together, we believe this project will create a ‘written picture’ - a fascinating insight into the people and the lives being lived by the Thames Estuary.

These physical artworks will be in place for the entirety of Estuary 2021.

The public programme will include -
1. An exhibition of all the poems, works and journals produced through our workshops, teachers pack, at home or elsewhere that people would like to contribute. On the South Essex side of the river the venue for this exhibition will be Chalkwell Hall in Chalkwell Park. In North Kent, the venue will be confirmed shortly.
2. Excerpts of poetry and poetic prose will be selected to be printed on posters and billboards, showcased across the landscapes of the estuary for the duration of the festival.


A huge thank you to the funders of this project

Metal Southend and Cement Fields aim to reach large numbers of teachers; thousands of young people; and at least 300 journallers across both sides of the river through The Water Replies, leaving a fantastic legacy which will continue to influence inspiring lesson content and poetry from young people in the coming years.

The project has been made possible through a number of partners on both sides of the estuary:
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport funds the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England – more information here.

Creative Estuary

Royal Opera House Bridge (workshops for teachers)

Essex Book Festival (who enabled us to include some workshops as part of our Essex Writers House programme)

Southend Borough Council and C2C (who are providing poster sites for the final artworks)

Support the project

There is still an opportunity for sponsors, funders and individual supporters to get involved - to expand the reach of the project to more young people - and to enable a larger showcase during the festival.
If this is of interest to you please do get in touch – [email protected] / 01702 470700


Image credits:
(top of page):  Jonathan Juniper, 2019
(all images below): Metal projects

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