Associated Programme

The Expression of Interest form has now closed. We look forward to announcing our programme soon.

Expression of Interest

About Estuary 2021

Estuary 2021 is the second edition of the large-scale arts festival that celebrates the lives, landscapes and histories of the spectacular Thames Estuary.

It takes place over 23 days in the Spring of 2021 (22 May – 13 June 2021) presenting specially commissioned artworks, discussion and events that respond to powerful themes resonant to the 83 miles of the estuary and its South Essex and North Kent coastlines.

The festival programme will be set in the landscape, on the river, online and within COVID-19-safe venues. Through the lens of contemporary concerns including the climate emergency, environmental protection and challenges, protest, rebellion and imperial legacy, artists will work with estuary communities to explore the regions rich and often overlooked stories, bringing new audiences to a deeper understanding of the Thames.

Estuary 2021 is an ambitious and transformational programme of work, linked to an innovative skills programme delivered through a wide range of arts and agency partnerships across the region. It's made possible through Creative Estuary, an ambitious long-term project to develop the Thames Estuary into the world's largest creative corridor and is led by a partnership between estuary-based arts organisations, Metal and Cement Fields.

About the Associated Programme

Estuary 2021 is supporting an additional listings project, that we have called the Associated Programme. This offers artists and arts organisations, working in any artistic discipline an additional opportunity to promote a project or event during the festival.

The Associated Programme is an open platform for events that respond to the Estuary in some way and take place within the geography of the Thames Estuary during the dates of Estuary 2021. Artists or organisations, from the region and beyond who have an existing or planned project that fits these parameters, that they would like listed, we'd love to hear from you. Projects can be organised by individual artists, groups or organisations.

A listing in the Estuary 2021 Associated Programme is free and all registered projects will be featured in the programme listings – both online and printed, provided they fit the criteria below.

Estuary 2021 does not have the resources to offer any direct funding for Associated Programme projects, but we do have a programme of practical advice, support and some benefits that we are offering. This includes:-


  • A feature of your project/event on the Estuary 2021 website.
  • A listing for your project/event in the Estuary 2021 Associated Programme printed brochure.
  • A Marketing Toolkit – with assets / social media handles, hashtags and some handy tips.
  • Associated Programme signage for use at your venue (please indicate if required).

Practical advice and support:

  • Bookable 1:1 surgeries hosted over 4 days (Jan-Mar 2021) with Estuary 2021 producers and project managers.
  • Seminars on selected practical advice – delivered online.
  • Regular updates for registered projects on funding and/or partnership opportunities as they arise.
  • A template risk assessment to help you plan for and mitigate any risks that are specific to your event – and in particular in relation to COVID-19.

Further details on the content of seminars and how to book a place and/or a 1:1 surgery will be sent to those who register their event/project. When you register, you will have an opportunity to tell us what you would find most useful.

How to take part

Please read all the information included here - and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which can be found HERE (link).

Fill in and submit our simple form as an Expression of Interest (NOW CLOSED).

You do not need to have confirmed details at this stage, just a brief outline of what you are planning or aiming to do. This will provide us with a good idea of how many activities we might need to include, what they are and what might be the most useful content of our free seminars.

If any of the requested details (like exact venue etc.) are unknown at this early stage – please just explain that within the text boxes available.

Please do this as soon as you are ready. 

Following this initial Expression of Interest, we will be in touch with further deadlines for finalised details, marketing material needed – and with all the resources from Estuary 2021 outlined above.

Criteria for the Associated Programme

In order for it to make some sense as a collection of events, we've put some loose criteria around it, as follows:-

  1. Date: your activity must take place during Estuary 2021 dates i.e. 22 May - 13 June 2021. Note: it can be one day – or a longer running event, as long as it has dates to offer within the Estuary 2021 range.
  2. Themes: your activity must have some thematic relationship to the Thames Estuary – which can be broad, expansive and open to many interpretations.
  3. Geography: there is much debate around the geography of the Thames Estuary – where it begins and ends – our definition is driven by what we think will make sense to audiences. See our map below – your activity should sit within the area defined.


As you can see, the Thames Estuary region is expansive. Estuary 2021 programme will be focused around railway stations for ease of audience access. These include (but are not limited to):- Shoeburyness / Southend Central / Chalkwell / Pitsea / Tilbury Town / Tilbury Ferry / Gravesend / Ebbsfleet International / Northfleet / Chatham / Sheerness-on-Sea. However, we welcome Expressions of Interest for Associated Programme from any part of the region.


Venues can often be hard to come by. This may be even more challenging in these times of COVID-19. Venues for artworks and events can be as far-ranging as beach huts, shops, abandoned buildings, shop windows, in the landscape, on the beach, train station platforms, boats, caravans/caravan parks, churches, galleries, the street, pubs, front rooms, gardens, sheds, banners, posters, the sea, cafes, radio airways, online … …just to name a few.

Covid-19 Safe Venues

We will all need to think about how to plan for and mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19. As you will be aware, the advice and guidance from the government on how to do this is constantly changing in response to events. We will provide example template risk assessments to assist you in assessing your event/venue. We do this in good faith and can accept no liability for any actions taken by you.

Estuary 2021 will host a number of events and artworks online in direct response to the current pandemic. This may be something that you consider too.

Public Liability Insurance

If you are thinking about putting on an event we strongly suggest you have your own public liability. Air members of A-N Newsletter are now automatically covered for £5million public liability. A yearlong subscription to their magazine and online services starts from £36 for artists or £15 for students.

Key facts about Product and Public Liability can be found HERE
Further details of A-N insurance offer can be found HERE


If you are organising a public performance or screening you may need to apply for a Temporary Events Licence (TENS). This will need to be addressed to the Local Authority where your event is due to happen. You can usually find all the appropriate information and forms on Local Authority websites. Should you require any help or advice on this, please email [email protected] and we'll do our best to help.

Current funding sources

Once you have registered your EOI, the Estuary 2021 team will send any updates on relevant funding sources as and when we hear about them. In the meantime, we've listed a few that are current, or imminent below.

Arts Council England:

ACE Project Grants have recently reopened. There are no specific deadlines, but please remember to leave plenty of time for your event planning and production as these cannot be funded in retrospect. Projects requesting under £15,000 take 6-weeks to process. Those over £15,000 – £100,000 have a 12-week decision turnaround.

For further information on Project Grants - click HERE

Visit the ACE website HERE to check details and updates on Developing Your Creative Practice grants for individual artists and practitioners. 

National Lottery Community Fund

Essex Community Foundation

Veolia Trust

Thurrock Council - Community Arts and Culture Funding

Southend on Sea Arts Council (SOSAC)

Kent County Council - Art Investment Fund

Estuary Festival is supported by