Culture Essex

Culture Essex supports, promotes and advocates for the arts, heritage and creative sector in the county.

Who Are We?

The Essex County Council Culture team supports the arts, heritage and creative sector in the county.

Through our Arts and Cultural Fund we provide dedicated funding and support for artists, organisations, and creative practitioners working across a broad portfolio of disciplines and throughout, arts, heritage, creative and green spaces in Essex. In addition to this, we recently launched a Cultural Strategy for Essex, a broad and ambitious initiative that defines a county-wide roadmap of how we can help create the conditions for our cultural and creative sector to flourish.

With a focus on encouraging strategic partnerships, and networks and encouraging the sustainability and growth of the sector, we also support several Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations in Essex.

We understand the place that digital and tech businesses have in growing our county’s creative sector from digital start-ups, film and television production to games developers, entertainment companies as well as architects and designers, Essex has a wealth of potential.

Our vibrant cultural infrastructure stretches from Creative Estuary – part of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor in the south, to Colchester based Firstsite which was named Museum of the Year in 2021.

Image courtesy of Mercury Theatre. Photo: Pamela Raith.
Beauty and the Beast rehearsal at Mercury theatre. Pamela Raith.

Want to find out more?

If you’re an arts, heritage and creative practitioner, organisation or community group working in the sector in Essex, we’d love you to connect with us.

You can sign-up to our regular newsletter to keep up to date with key information, opportunities and information on ECC supported activities and or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and X.

Image: Beautiful China/Beautiful Britain’. Colchester Chinese Culture Society at Harwich Arts and Heritage Centre, 2022.
Colchester Chinese Culture Society at Harwich Arts and Heritage Centre, 2022

Defining culture and the creative industries

Culture is notoriously hard to define as it means so many things to different people, from art and religion to music and food, culture marks who we are and the society we live in.

We can agree however that the creative industries have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and have a potential for wealth and job creation.

The creative industries can include occupations such as advertising and marketing, architecture, crafts, design, film, video, TV and photography , IT, software and computer services, museums, galleries and libraries, music, visual and performing arts.

The Team

  • Andrew Ward, Cultural Development Lead
  • Catherine Harrison, Cultural Development Officer
  • James Ravinet, Cultural Development Officer

You can contact the Culture team on email:

  • Erica Gilson, Manager of Culture & The Essex Film Office

You can contact the Essex Film Office on email:

What Do We Do?

Supporting Arts and Culture in Essex

Through ourdedicated grants scheme we support arts, heritage and creative practitioners to deliver activities across the county.

In its first year, the Arts and Cultural Fund supported nearly 50 projects across disciplines including the visual arts, festivals, heritage, literature, theatre, and performance.

As well as supporting activity across the sector, the Fund has enabled over 300,000 Essex residents and visitors the opportunity to get involved with or benefit from creative and cultural activity across the county. Find out more here.


We work across ECC culture and green spaces services and venues including the Essex Record Office (county archive), Jaywick Martello Tower (exhibition and events venue), Cressing Temple Barns (heritage venue) and our country parks and green spaces.

As part of the County Council, we are committed to supporting and promoting the wealth of heritage and cultural spaces that Essex has to offer.

Whether you’re looking to undertake historical research for a project or seeking a venue to host an event, you can find out more about our arts and heritage venues here.

Image: The search room at the Essex Record Office.
The search room at the Essex Record Office

Building Partnerships and enabling networks:

We actively encourage and support strategic partnerships and networks to bring together local authorities, organisations and arts, heritage and creative practitioners from across the region, including forums such as Creative Colchester, Harlow Creates, Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA), Museums Essex, UK Growth Hub, The Essex Film Collective and the South Essex Creative Economy Network (SECEN).

We welcome partners both within the sector or those with an interest in developing a relationship with the arts, heritage and creative sector in Essex.

Group at culture networking meeting

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