‘This is Us’ creative conversations about Castle Point

Estuary Festival and Metal announce ‘This is Us’, an 18-month creative engagement programme with opportunities for local residents to share and explore experiences of living in the borough and aspirations for its future. 

Local artists will be commissioned to develop creative activities that share perspectives from people of all ages and backgrounds across the borough. Together, local people will come up with ideas that could range from exhibitions to photography and music events. Commissioned by Castle Point Borough Council, ‘This is Us’ will also provide an opportunity to support, nurture and grow artist and creative networks in Castle Point. The outcomes will feed into the development of the new Castle Point Local Plan (CPP). 

The themes include; where we live; how we live; who we are; and our future. Each project will be tailored to map onto the neighbourhood areas of the CPP, each with its own distinctive identities, priorities and make-up: Canvey Island, Benfleet, Hadleigh, Thundersley and Daws Heath. If you are an artist or a creative working in Castle Point and would like to express your interest please join our database by completing this short online form     

Thea Behrman Estuary Festival’s Artistic Director said: 

"Creative activities can unlock completely new perspectives about the places considered home. As a newly formed independent CIC now based in Castle Point, Estuary Festival is delighted to be working in partnership with Metal, local communities and artists to celebrate the rich, often overlooked stories of Estuary people and places." 

Andrea Cunningham Director at Metal Southend said: 

"Metal is enthusiastic about the potential of these projects to showcase Castle Point's creativity, foster the expansion of creative networks in the borough, and celebrate the abundant creative talents of its residents."  

Cllr Warren Gibson, Chair of the Castle Point Plan Board, said:  

“It is vitally important that residents’ views are at the heart of developing the Castle Point Plan. This plan will help shape how our borough develops in the coming decades and, with something as important as this, capturing people’s view shouldn’t just be done through surveys. 

“From the start we have been keen to use other forms of engagement to ensure everyone can have their say. That is why we are pleased to be working with Estuary Festival and Metal. These creative organisations will ensure art offers people an alternative way to have their say.” 

For more information about ‘This Is Us’ contact [email protected]  

Image credit: Castle Point workshop with local creatives, ASELA consultation, photo: Thea Behrman 

ID: Five people gather around a table writing on coloured strips of paper which are displayed around a colourful mind map on a big piece of white circular paper. There are pens on the table and chairs around it.

Estuary Festival CIC was established in 2023 as an independent organisation to take forward the work initiated through the first two festivals founded by Metal in 2016 and 2021 with Cement Fields. It has been established with seed funding from Creative Estuary, public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Essex County Council’s Arts & Cultural Fund and is working in partnership with local authorities across the region. Estuary Festival is delivered in partnership with Creative Estuary to support and grow the creative sector in the Thames Estuary. Made in the Estuary is a high-quality creative programme from Creative Estuary which will nurture and highlight cultural production in the Thames Estuary area (South Essex and North Kent). Estuary Festival is central to the success of Made in the Estuary bringing curatorial and production expertise to ensure we increase opportunities for the creative sector.

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