Essex County Council Tree Clock Commission

Call out to Essex artists for £10k commission

We are inviting artists to apply for a £10,000 commission running between October 2020 to February 2021 to create work which responds to the Essex Forest Initiative based at and inspired by one of Essex County Councils’ parks and places.

Overview: Essex County Council (ECC) has pledged to plant 375,000 trees across Essex to reduce carbon levels as part of the Essex Climate Change Action Plan. The £1million Essex Forest Initiative will plant trees over five years, capturing 60,000 tonnes of carbon, whilst the cross-party Climate Change Commission will fund and support environmental initiatives that look to reduce 02 and waste, promote sustainable transport and combat climate change.

To celebrate, promote and engage Essex residents with the Essex Forest Initiative and to highlight and track the successes of the first year of tree planting taking place between October 2020 to February 2021, ECC Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Green Spaces Service (CHTGS) would like to commission an artist/s to produce work which draws on themes of climate change, the Essex Forest Initiative and which celebrates ECC’s managed open spaces and places, a full list of which can be viewed here on our Explore Essex website, but which include eight country parks, five mills, Cressing Temple Barns, Jaywick Martello Tower, the Essex Record Office and four outdoors centres.

The Brief: We are looking for an artist or artists using any media to create a work, physical or digital, inspired and informed by the Essex Forest Initiative which will be situated at any one of our sites. We welcome ideas where work is not produced in isolation, but engages the users of the site/s where the work is created. Artists should have a track record of producing work sited in the public realm, that is strongly participatory and socially engaged and of creating work which engages and involves local communities.

Engagement could include holding events, walks, talks and workshops (socially distanced / online) with groups and users of ECC sites and services with support offered via CHTGS to identify relevant groups.

The selected artist/s will be given £10,000 (including fee, research, travel, materials and installation) and we are open to all ideas and mediums that would add to the public realm, could form part of the landscape, but that would require minimum ongoing maintenance or complicated installation. Work can be permeant or impermeant, but consideration should be given as to how any work can leave a positive legacy on the space within it is made and the communities it engages with. This pilot commission will also form the basis of an ongoing artist commission over the next five years which will mirror the timeline of the Essex Forest Initiative.

Particular attention should be paid to how the work can raise the profile and amplify marketing messages around the Essex Forest Initiative and tree planting, especially as tree planting season begins in October, linking to CHTGS marketing channels and strategies, working with the marketing team to create and inform engaging PR opportunities.

We are also keen to explore how this commission can be used to leverage possible funding from other funders. Artists may wish to consider proposals which think of areas of additionality which could be realised by approaching other funders, whether that be as a sole artist or in partnership with ECC.

To Apply

Please email by Friday 4th September:

  1. Your CV
  2. Please outline your response in no more than four pages of A4, including images and weblinks where applicable outlining:
  3. What you will do.
  4. Which of our ECC sites your project will take place in and why?
  5. How your project fits in with and promotes the priorities of the Essex Forest Initiative.
  6. How your project will track and highlight the success of tree planting this autumn/winter.
  7. Who will benefit from your project and how you will work with communities?
  8. Your experience of delivering a project like this.
  9. How you will market your work.
  10. Possible match funding opportunities.
  11. Any ongoing maintenance considerations.

Please include an outline budget with your proposal.


  • Deadline: 4th September
  • Interviews w/c: 14th September
  • Artist/s Selected: 21st September
  • Project start: October onwards
  • Work to be created by: 29th January 2021
  • Project culmination 28th February 2021


Culture, Heritage, Tourism & Green Spaces Service

Culture, Heritage, Tourism & Green Spaces (CHTGS) brings together the following teams into a single service:

  • Green Spaces: Country Parks; Woodlands; Mills
  • Essex Outdoors
  • Cressing Temple Barns
  • Jaywick Martello Tower
  • Essex Record Office (ERO)
  • Visit Essex

These services contribute significantly to the environment and cultural life of Essex, benefitting residents, visitors, businesses, institutions and communities throughout the county. Our ability to preserve, develop, open up and share these unique resources with new and diverse audiences can be enhanced with the help of generous supporters.

A relatively new team within the Place and Public Health Directorate at Essex County Council, CHTGS has been established to bring together a portfolio of public facing activities that deliver a broad range of exciting services, facilities and events for the benefit of individuals and communities in Essex, enabling them to understand and appreciate their history, heritage, coast and countryside, tourism destinations, and cultural venues and activities.