Photo by Nick Fewings on UnsplashPhoto by Nick Fewings on Unsplash


In early 2020, Creative Estuary commissioned four creative cultural projects with Estuary-based producers and artists, to contribute to the Associated Programme for Estuary 2021. Precarious straits ~ survival on Southend’s new coast, Southend-under-Sea, is one of the commissions.

About the project
‘Precarious Straits…’ will be a manual for awareness and survival, looking at the speculative economic, political and ecological futures people may have to navigate. TOW and TOMA’s 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 their 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.

There will be an exhibition at the TOMA Project Space in the Royals Shopping Centre, Southend, and a series of workshops and events that will lead us away from the rising tides of the estuary, down the high street and in-land to The Old Waterworks.

There will also be a care package commission – artwork will be sent in the post to disabled people, people with caring responsibilities or people otherwise unable to access arts and culture in person, bringing physical artworks to people’s doors.


The people behind the festival

Emma Edmondson, TOMA

Emma Edmondson is an artist who also works in education. Emma’s work stems from connections between; current socio-political issues, survival, inequality, cycles, reusing, holistic practice, functional art and the anthropocene. She explores these through sculpture, education, writing and print. In 2015 Emma set up The Other MA (TOMA) an artist-run art education programme shaped by participants. It’s an art space in a shopping centre in Southend on Sea. TOMA believe in lifelong learning, collaborating over competing.

Warren Harper, The Old Waterworks

Warren Harper is a curator and researcher based in Essex. He is Director at The Old Waterworks (TOW) an artist-led charity in Southend-on-Sea that provides studios, facilities, and research and development opportunities for artists. At its core TOW is home to a community of local artists and organisations who work nationally and internationally. Warren is also curator of How to Make a Bomb: An English Garden by artist Gabriella Hirst, which is part of the Estuary 2021 programme and forms part of his current PhD research at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Visit the exhibition and find out more

Group exhibition at TOMA Project Space, Unit 13, Royals Shopping Centre, Southend, SS1 1DG. Opening Saturday 22 May from 12-6pm. Then open 23 May to 19 June (on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). 

Book your timed slot for the exhibition opening via Eventbrite

The Old Waterworks will be hosting a series of workshops and events every weekend from 22 May.

Full listings can be found on their website 

Instgram @theotherma @theoldwaterworks 
Twitter @theotherma_TOMA @old_waterworks