ESTUARY 2016 – New Biennial Arts Festival – Essex and Kent

Creative and Art Events




17 September – 2 October 2016

For more information, see Estuary website.

Metal presents, Estuary 2016, sixteen days of art, literature, music and film curated in response to the spectacular Thames Estuary. An eclectic programme of exhibitions, performance, conference and events pulls together powerful themes resonant to the place, its landscape, and communities.

Curated by Colette Bailey, Gareth Evans and Sue Jones.

Estuary is a curated in response to the spectacular Thames Estuary and presented in culturally significant and historic venues along the Essex and Kent shorelines.  An exciting mix of new and existing works will pull together powerful themes resonant to the place, its history, landscape and communities in an ambitious programme of contemporary art, literature, film and music.


The Thames Estuary is an ‘edgeland’. It is a place of transition – one of arrivals and departures – a gateway that connects the UK to the rest of the world. It has been the front line for the defence of the realm as well as the first port of welcome for migrants and visitors from around the world. Industrial heartland and logistics sit alongside wild habitats, ancient monuments and concrete commuter towns. Echoes from the birthplace of early punk, noisy seaside fun, brent geese, fog horns and cargo ships create an unmistakable soundscape. It has long provided an endless source of fascination, inspiration and mystery for both artists and audiences.

Estuary 2016 will take place over 17 days in September / October 2016 and will feature work and projects from across the whole Estuary region. Metal are working in partnership with five estuary local authorities (Southend, Thurrock, Gravesham, Medway and Kent), local and regional agencies such as the Port of London Authority, Thames Estuary Partnership, South Essex Local Enterprise Partnership and the National Trust, a wide range of arts and business partners, including Tilbury Port, Southend Pier & Foreshore, Southend Museums, Coalhouse Fort, Focal Point Gallery, Whitstable Biennale, Whitechapel Gallery, Totally Thames, Artswork and ROH Bridge, Ideas Test, Focal Point Gallery and Kinetika, as well as South Essex College, SEEVIC and a number of South Essex schools.


The Top 10 Ten Highlights Include:

Points of Departure: 

17 – 30 September 

28 contemporary artists present new and existing works in the astonishing Grade II* listed Tilbury Cruise Terminal and venues in Gravesend.

Shorelines Literature Festival: 

17 & 18 September 

Writers, artists film-makers and performers explore the Estuary and related themes, alongside tours of Tilbury Port, Family Activities and Riverside Walks.

Sound of Thames Delta: 

1 & 2 October

Musicians, writers, artists, film-makers and broadcasters examine the relationship between place and music, at the end of the world’s longest pier in Southend-on-Sea.

Fort Film Night: 

Sunday 25 September 

A sea-themed feature film, outdoors in the stunning amphitheatre of the C19th military base, Coalhouse Fort. Selected by public vote.


17 – 30 September

The last Lightship built in the UK moors up at Gravesend to present a mix of art, workshops, music and film on board.

Museum of the Thames Estuary – Pop Up:

17 September – 2 October

Brand new collection of shipwreck finds from the Estuary bed itself alongside work by Adam Dant that reveals secrets still hidden beneath the waters.

Infinity (1980-2015): 

17 September – 2 October 

Iain McKell’s extraordinary photographs of the music and street culture of Southend in the 1970’s and 80’s punctuates the mile long walk into the heart of the Estuary on Southend Pier.

Wish You Were Here: 

17 September – 2 October 

Ten artist-designed Beach Huts on Southend Pier take you on an artist-led, nostalgic journey through the heyday of the classic British Seaside experience to the present day.

Southend Charabanc: 

24 & 25 September 

Head out to Southend for a weekend of cultural pleasure seeking and sight-seeing with vintage buses laid on to take you from event to event.

Raga Dawn: 

Sunday 18 September 

Sunrise performance by acclaimed vocal artist, Caroline Bergvall with singer Peyee Chen and site-specific sound by Sam Blank. Followed by a shared breakfast.

Metal are working in partnership with four estuary local authorities, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock, Gravesham and Kent and a wide range of regional agencies, business and arts partners, including:-

Arts Council England

Capital Cruising

Port of Tilbury

Southend Pier & Foreshore

Southend Museums

Coalhouse Fort

Focal Point Gallery

Whitstable Biennale

Whitechapel Gallery

Totally Thames

Artswork and ROH Bridge

Ideas Test


Port of London Authority

Thames Estuary Partnership

South Essex College


South Essex schools.

Estuary 2016 is funded through an Ambition for Excellence grant from Arts Council England as well as a number of other partners.  Curated by Colette Bailey, Gareth Evans and Sue Jones.

All photos (c) Simon Fowler.

– See more at:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s