From the Essex and Kent shorelines: Estuary 2016



Here is something that is right up our street – or perhaps better, right along our coastline. Estuary 2016, which begins this coming weekend on the 17 September is a new biennial arts festival curated in response to the Thames Estuary. In Elsewhere No.03 we featured illustrations of the Maunsell Sea Forts by Dylan White, so this is certainly a place and a landscape that is interesting to us, and the festival that is hosted by venues along the Essex and Kent shorelines looks to be a brilliant mix of visual art, literature, film and music.

The programme of the festival is designed as a response to the stunning geography of the region and of the Essex and Kent communities that border the Thames Estuary itself. It will tell the stories of those who have travelled the water and the land, of the people who migrated and emigrated from the Tilbury Cruise terminal and the music borne out of South Essex. Estuary 2016 will explore the cultural significance of the Thames Estuary as a gateway to the world… it all sounds fascinating and our only regret is that we can’t be there!

Here is some more from the organisers about Estuary 2016, and some of the highlights to look out for:

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.

Some highlights of Estuary 2016:

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.

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.

This is of course just a selection of all the amazing events, exhibitions, performances and more that are taking place at Estuary 2016 from the 17 September to the 2 October. Head over to the Estuary festival website to get the full information and we wish the organisers all success for this inaugural event.