The fund is designed to allow cities and towns to invest in creative, cultural and heritage initiatives that lead to culture-led economic growth and productivity. It was awarded to help contribute to the development of the Thames Estuary area as Europe’s largest creative corridor, making it a world-leading location for creative and cultural industries covering both North Kent and South Essex.
Emma Wilcox will lead and manage the delivery of this project over the next three years, including looking for ways to ensure the full impact of the funding is realised and raising the profile of the Thames Estuary as a hub for creative and cultural production.
Emma previously worked for Kent County Council focusing on its arts and cultural policy and for Arts Council England developing relationships with local and regional government. She has worked on a range of culturally led economic development projects, maximising the role that arts and culture can play in driving this agenda.
After these roles she spent seven years working as an independent consultant, working across the South East, supporting local authorities to develop cultural policies, writing fundraising and bid proposals and securing investment. All these prior experiences and insights into the different requirements of various stakeholders make her a perfect fit for the role.
Sarah Dance, Chair of the Cultural Development Fund steering group, welcomed the appointment: ‘Emma’s extensive knowledge and experience of both the area and the Creative Industries will be invaluable to this very exciting project.’
Commenting on her appointment Emma Wilcox said: ‘I am thrilled to take on this role leading such an exciting and ambitious project for North Kent and South Essex. I am really looking forward to working closely with all of the partners to develop a creative cluster in the Thames Estuary which will benefit the region, culturally and economically, and which is connected to London, UK and global markets.’
The £4.3m Cultural Development Fund will be delivered by numerous partners working closely together. This cross-boundary partnership was established by the South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN), a working group of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and the GLA, who together launched the TEPC vision in 2017. The broader TEPC partnership is a consortium involving the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), Kent and Essex County Councils, 11 local authority areas represented by Thames Gateway Kent Partnership and Opportunity South Essex, SECEN, the GLA, Royal Docks and seven East London boroughs, University of Kent, University of Essex, and cultural organisations Metal and Whitstable Biennale.