Creative Estuary partners with UKREiiF to drive forward creative and economic evolution across the Thames Estuary


20 April 2022

Creative Estuary has officially joined UKREiiF, with Emma Wilcox, Project Director, due to speak on the first day, along with chairing a roundtable discussion on ‘Culture Driven Levelling-Up – Harnessing all elements of UK’s creative potential for Inclusive Placemaking’ during the course of the three days too.

Creative Estuary are driving forward both the creative and economic evolution of this unique region, with the ambition of transforming 60 miles of the Thames Estuary across Essex and Kent into one of the most exciting cultural hubs in the world! There’s significant support behind this initiative with Creative Estuary being formally backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Creative Estuary is a consortium of public sector and cultural organisations, led by the University of Kent, working together to support the delivery of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor. They include the South-East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), Kent and Essex County Councils, the Greater London Authority, 11 local authority areas represented by Greater North Kent and Opportunity South Essex, the South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN),University of Essex, Locate in Kent, and cultural organisations Metal and Cement Fields. Together, they’re unlocking the area’s potential, both as an international production hub, and a collaborative, inspiring place to work for a new generation of creative talent.

Their programme aims to transform the visibility, identity and future of the area’s creative production infrastructure, supporting more than 400 new jobs, and delivering new skills, qualifications, and training across an area of 1.5million people! Which is an ambition that aligns strongly with UKREiiF’s objective of unlocking inclusive growth across the UK.

Emma Wilcox, Project Director of Creative Estuary, said “It’s been fantastic to work with the team at UKREiiF to ensure culture and the creative industries can bring their innovative thinking, economic clout and partnership-working expertise to this discussion. Creative Estuary is a powerful example of how culture should be at the heart of the levelling-up agenda.”

Keith Griffiths, Director at UKREiiF, said: “We’re thrilled to see yet another innovative partnership jump onboard UKREiiF, reaffirming the importance of connecting people to opportunities (which transform communities!). Creative Estuary are doing fantastic work in building the capacity and resilience of the creative industries and shining a light of the talent and the academic resources they have on offer. Helping younger generations find their footing and develop the skills they need to build a career upon is something we’ve made a priority at our event and we welcome their focus on presenting opportunities specifically for young people and those at the start of their careers. We’ve been offering free tickets to younger and other less represented groups of people since we launched to ensure they’re represented and can get involved… Supporting the next generation is so important, which is why we’re very excited to see Creative Estuary showcasing what they’ve got to offer!”.

Led by property events company Built Environment Networking and supported by some of the biggest UK property and infrastructure companies, the first annual UKREiiF event will be held in Leeds on 17-19 May 2022. The forum will attract inward investment, generate economic growth and drive a more sustainable and inclusive culture within the property and construction industries.