Creative Estuary


Our vision is to forge a future founded on creative energy and innovation, along the length of the Thames Estuary.

Where the river meets the sea, the estuary is a place of production with an industrial legacy and a distinctively creative spirit. It has a long heritage as a maritime thoroughfare, with historic settlements and extraordinary stories, inspiring open spaces and rich heritage, from Chatham Historic Dockyard to Tilbury’s port and including the seaside resorts of Margate and Southend.

The Estuary has an established creative and cultural ecosystem. It is home to national and internationally important centres of creative production, vibrant clusters of creative makers and producers and a diverse network of places which are defined by their distinctive creative and cultural offerings. We already have flagship projects such as Turner Contemporary and High House Production Park, both have created a spark for a change and we are learning from and building upon their successes.

Creative Estuary is led by the University of Kent on behalf a partnership of higher education, public, private sector and cultural organisations, working together to deliver the Thames Estuary Production Corridor, an ambitious thirty-year vision to unite east London, north Kent and south Essex as a world-class centre for creative and cultural production: leading global innovation, creating new jobs, developing local talent and supporting the rapid growth of the creative economy.

Initially funded through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Cultural Development Fund, Creative Estuary has four key aims; to unlock economic growth and productivity; strengthen local leadership; enhance creative skills and to make places attractive to live, work and visit.

We want people to feel more excited, ambitious and hopeful about the future of the area and to celebrate its unique identity. Through our projects we will identify places for production and work, transform our high streets and towns, celebrate the river and its heritage and create extraordinary experiences for audiences, visitors and communities in the estuary. We are commissioning artists and creative producers to make new work with and for their communities, telling new stories about the estuary.

With the support of this investment, we have the means to shape and develop our infrastructure, boost production capacity, catalyse talent development and drive innovation across the region. On the ground, our festivals and collaborations will raise our profile and build confidence within our communities. Using culture as the catalyst for growth, our region will provide much-needed space for expanding creative businesses, providing the services, skills and infrastructure sought by both UK organisations and international creative producers.


Creative Estuary is proud to be driving forward the creative and economic evolution of this unique region, unlocking its potential both as an international production hub and a collaborative, inspiring place to work for a new generation of creative talent. Our programme will transform the visibility, identity and future of the area’s creative production infrastructure, supporting the creation of new jobs and delivering skills, training and apprenticeships across an area of 1.5million people.

Reason for joining GCDN

Creative Estuary is a learning project, we are committed to learning with and from others and sharing our experiences generously. We recognise that through GCDN we can work with others, seeking out international examples of best practice and making a vivid and lively contribution to the debates. We also hope to take advantage of the GCDN network and opportunities to help drive forward our place making agenda and spread the word about Creative Estuary.