Agenda item

Cultural Development Fund


The Assistant Director (Communities) updated the Committee on the successful bid for Cultural Development Funding to deliver the ambition of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor.


£4.3 million funding has been awarded from the Cultural Development Fund towards the delivery of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor with total project value of £6.7m.


The University of Kent will take a lead on this Fund and will receive £4.3m to work with partners in Essex and Kent to develop the Thames Estuary Production Corridor as Europe’s largest creative corridor – “a world leader for the creativeand cultural industries”.


The Cultural Development Fund will help deliver specific projects, as follows:


·         Estuary 2020: expansion of this month-long international arts festival to include new commissions in locations and communities across the Thames Estuary

·         Corridor Commissions: focused on digital innovation, bringing together internationally renowned and creative technologists to ‘waymark’ visitors along the Thames

·         Re:Generation 2030: Creative Apprenticeship scheme, creating job opportunities for 60 young people from the Estuary’s disadvantaged areas to work

·         Estuary Works: New creative workspaces for creative and digital businesses in creative clusters like Margate, Southend and Chatham Dockyard.

·         Estuary Producers: Producer ‘residencies’ in locations across the Estuary, creating new cultural experiences in high streets and parks, on watersides and other venues

·         Creative Labs: bringing together creatives, technologists and academics to explore how culture can address key issues such as mental health, ageing and town planning


Opportunities will potentially exist for Gravesham to benefit from this funding in relation to the following:


·         Estuary 2020 – Gravesham participated in Estuary 2016, which was led by Metal in association with other partners including Whitstable Biennale, and with the participation of LV21 on this side of the water and a concentration of activity and installations at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal. It is likely that Gravesham will be able to develop its role for 2020 and strengthen partnership working across the water at this point.

·         Developing the council’s working with creative organisations and making the case for funding to support local cultural commissions.

·         Looking for help from the TEPC to develop the area’s identify through culture, recognising the strength of the Gravesham’s diversity and heritage.

·         Aim to develop additional cultural work and production spaces.

·         Support the development of creative skills, jobs and apprenticeships, especially within the creative and digital sector in Gravesham.


Arts Council England has announced a further round of funding for a programme called Creative People and Places. Its objective is to invest in communities where there are lower levels of engagement in arts and culture. Applications for this funding are to be led by local consortia, not including local authorities, and the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation has indicated its wish to lead a bid for this area focused on the Ebbsfleet Valley area and neighbouring communities.


The Assistant Director (Communities) advised the Committee that he would welcome any ideas or examples of cultural development and asked that they be sent to him outside of the meeting.


Cllr Mochrie-Cox suggested that low rent, high output areas generate grants; a lot of creative hubs have office pods and this is something that GBC should explore.  


Cllr Meade highlighted the ‘Boxpark’ idea that has been created in Shoreditch and Croydon. Boxpark is a food and retail park made out of refitted shipping containers (pop-up mall). Cllr Meade suggested that Gravesham could have its own Boxpark at the Canal Basin.



The Committee noted the report on the Cultural Development Fund.


Supporting documents: