Essex County Council Explore Essex Artist Commission 2022

Call out to artists for £10k commission

The Essex Climate Action Commission Interim Report outlines that Climate change is a threat to us all and a systemic risk that requires action at every level: internationally, nationally and locally. Essex is already seeing climate impacts from water shortages to flooding. These will continue to worsen and alongside overheating and soil degradation, will impact significantly on all Essex residents

Essex County Council (ECC) Culture, Heritage and Green Spaces Service are part of the Environment and Climate Action directorate and manages a unique portfolio of country parks and open spaces. We understand the unique voice culture and the arts lend to the climate action conversation and how it can engage residents in innovative and exciting ways.

As a service, our sites reflect Essex’s diverse landscapes and ecosystems, encompassing a broad range of environments, from coastal to urban, all with unique heritages and stories to tell. It is this variety, importance, and beauty that we wish to celebrate, underpinned by the challenge that climate change poses to them.

We know how vital Essex’s green spaces are to our residents. During the height of the pandemic ECC’S country parks alone welcomed over one million visitors, acting as vital spaces for physical and mental wellbeing.

Explore Essex Artist Commission: In 2020/21 we launched the first Explore Essex Art Commission, with a view to engaging residents with our sites as well as subjects of climate change and the Essex Forest Initiative via contemporary art. This resulted in arts partnership INSTAR creating the Infinity Forest at Danbury Country Park.

As part of this 2022 commission, we are open to proposals which take place in and around our sites, these being:

  • Cudmore Grove Country Park
  • Great Notley Country Park
  • Hadleigh Country Park
  • Marsh Farm Country Park
  • Thorndon Country Park
  • Weald Country Park

In addition to this, we welcome proposals which are not linked specifically to our sites, but which take place in Essex (excluding Southend and Thurrock). For any proposals not focused on our sites, artists will need to evidence that all relevant partnerships and approvals are in place to be eligible to apply.

Commission Priorities and Outcomes: As part of this commission, we are looking for an approach which:

  • Engages residents on issues of climate action and the messages and priorities as outlined in Essex’s Climate Action Commission Interim Report via contemporary art.
  • Celebrates either ECC’s sites or Essex (excluding Southend and Thurrock) more broadly via contemporary art, encouraging new visitors and engaging existing ones.
  • Is socially engaged and seeks to welcome new audiences and visitors from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds and communities.
  • Has strong engagement elements embedded into the proposal.
  • Celebrates the county of Essex and contributes to ECC’s ‘Everyone’s Essex’ strategy:
  • Considers the legacy of the project, including the lifespan of any physical works created, and continued means for engagement post-project.

Whilst the quality of the artistic end product is important, the commission wishes to focus more on community engagement and co-creation, as opposed to creating work in isolation without collaboration with Essex residents and their input. Any proposal should therefore strongly consider the outreach element and ensure it is meaningfully embedded and articulated in the proposal.

Budget: £10,000 inclusive of all materials and expenses.


  • 12th November: Commission opens for applications
  • 10th December: Deadline for applications
  • w/c 10th January: Interviews (online via Microsoft Teams)
  • w/c 17th January: Outcomes
  • w/c 24th January onwards: Commission starts

How to apply:

To apply please submit:

  • A project proposal of no more than three sides of A4 demonstrating how your work will meet the commissions priorities and outcomes.
  • If applying to deliver work outside of an ECC site we will require relevant letters of support from partners and any permissions for the instillation of work. Failure to supply this will make the application ineligible.
  • A one-page budget sheet.
  • A copy of your CV with links to any relevant websites and examples of work.
  • Please submit proposals to

For any further queries please contact: Andrew Ward, ECC Fundraising and Project Lead: / 033301 32470