Friday 21st May 2021 to
Friday 9th July 2021


Precarious straits ~ survival on Southend’s new coast, Southend-under-Sea’ is a collaborative project from TOMA (The Other MA) and TOW (The Old Waterworks) and is a Creative Estuary co-commission with additional funding from Arts Council England.

The project consists of a group exhibition, a series of events, workshops, a postal care package, new writing and poster commissions responding to the precarious times we inevitably face.

The exhibition will be at the TOMA Project Space and a series of events and workshops leading away from the rising tides of the estuary, down the high street and in-land to The Old Waterworks (TOW).

Alongside this activity we have invited three writers-in-residence, Holly Firmin, Rose Cleary and Zarina Muhammad from The White Pube, to reflect on ‘Precarious straits…’, these will be published in-house at TOW.

There will also be a newly commissioned care package with Bella Milroy, Evan Ifekoya and Jade Montserrat. These three artists will make work to be posted out to recipients who may not be able to visit this month-long programme or be able to access new artwork. We will prioritise disabled people, people with caring responsibilities or people otherwise unable to access arts and culture in person, bringing physical artworks to people’s doors.

‘Precarious Straits…’ will be a manual for awareness and survival, looking at the speculative economic, political and ecological futures people may have to navigate. Our starting point comes from research put forward by Climate Central—an independent group of leading scientists and journalists—suggesting much of the world’s coastlines will be submerged due to flooding by 2050, including Southend. TOMA and TOW will use this research and our existing ways of working together as a point of departure. A place to begin thinking and practicing in these uncertain times, working out ways to support small art ecologies in Southend and beyond. Solid foundations will, after all, help us in precarious straits.

Precarious straits exhibiting artists
Adam Hogarth
Amy Pennington + Sophie Chapman
Anna Chrystal Stephens
Emma Edmondson
Lolly Adams
James Ravinet
Louise Ashcroft
Raju Rage
Sara Trillo
Sean Roy Parker
Sofia Niazi
Solidarity Syndicate
The right lube

Book your timed slot for the exhibition opening via Eventbrite here

Workshops and events at The Old Waterworks (the space will be open for programmed events & to view the library & poster installation. There will be a cash donation bar)

Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 May - Screening of Estuary Festival 2021 opening weekend live broadcast with cash donation bar. Writer-in-residence launch: Holly Firmin.

Saturday 29 May - Morgan Quaintance film screening.
Sunday 30 May - Workshop with artist Ruth Hazel.

Saturday 5 June - Wild food walk & fermenting workshop with artist Sean Roy Parker. Writer-in-residence launch: Rose Cleary.

Sunday 6 June - Tincture making workshop & walk with medical herbalist Rabiah Mali.

Saturday 12 June - Workshop with artist Laura Trevail.
Sunday 13 June - Writer-in-residence launch & talk at TOMA Project Space: Zarina Muhammad from the White Pube.

Saturday 10 July - ‘Donna Haraway: Storytelling for Earthly Survival’ film screening & dystopian Pub Quiz Fundraiser.

Check out the TOMA & TOW websites to book time slots for the exhibtion and tickets for the workshops and events.

Events/Workshop artists
Laura Trevail
Morgan Quaintance
Rabiah Mali
Ruth Hazel
Sean Roy Parker

Care Package Commissioned artists
Bella Milroy
Evan Ifekoya
Jade Montserrat
Jane Lawson

Holly Firmin
Rose Cleary
Zarina Muhammad from The White Pube

About the curators
TOMA is a 21st century art education programme and exhibition space in a shopping centre. It is artist-run and based in Southend.

TOW is an artist-led charity and artists’ studios based out of a former Victorian pumping station in Southend.

‘Precarious straits ~ survival on Southend’s new coast, Southend-under-Sea is funded by The Department for Digital, Culture,
Media and Sport funds the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England and by Arts Council England’s Project Grants

Creative Estuary Co-commissions is an ambitious creative programme taking place along the length of the Thames Estuary in Kent and Essex. The Co-commissions will support creative practitioners and organisations to make and present new work. These co-commissions will be delivered through a network of partners and at a range of scales, responding to local contexts and communities. From grassroots organisations to established cultural venues, as well as smaller-scale commissions working directly with local artists and collectives, the Co-commissions will create opportunities for creative innovation and new cultural production throughout 2021 & 2022.


Friday 21st May 2021 to
Friday 9th July 2021


Series of workshops and events at The Old Waterworks, North Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex




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Estuary 2021 is made possible by

Principal Partners

Creative_Estuary_New_1   ace

Major Partners

ecc uok thurrock thames_gateway selep medway  thames estuary   ebbsfleet    Ebbsfleet mayor locatekent kentcc gravesham uoe bas_coun   south_coun Here for Culture

Commissioning Partners

book_fest community_fund heritage_fund creative_coast bexleysalford fpg lesnes Essex2020Logo The Old Waterworks Logo UCA1

Festival Partners

arts_human uni_south uni_oxford uni_glas send_pier pla opp_se henley Flowers Gallery logoc2c roh southeastern Thamesmead2 Peabody2 BowArts3 raddison uber arriva Canterbury Dartford Faversham Swale1 Thanet Visit c2c1 Chat

Festival Supporters

essex_diversity SouthEssex1 UniversityCentre1 Churches International Exeter Wales Ramm Artist Grand