Discover England's Creative Coast

4 Jun 2021 02:04 PM

Looking for a socially distanced day out this summer? England’s Creative Coast combines exciting new artworks with a chance to enjoy the beautiful coastlines of Essex, Kent and East Sussex. This coastline has inspired artists including JMW Turner for hundreds of years.

Developed as a cultural tourism experience and funded by Arts Council England and Visit England, England’s Creative Coast allows visitors to discover the art and culture of the coastal South East. Seven arts organisations in towns along the coastline of Essex, Kent and East Sussex have joined forces to showcase new outdoor site-specific Waterfront commissions - Turner Contemporary in Margate, Cement Fields in Gravesend, Creative Folkestone, Bexhill-on-Sea’s De La Warr PavilionHastings ContemporaryMetal in Southend-on-Sea and Towner Eastbourne.

England’s Creative Coast celebrates the importance of creativity and the uniqueness of being and living by the coast, by connecting people and places along the route. The Waterfronts artworks take the border between land and water as their inspiration, focusing on issues, stories and questions – social, natural, geological, political - to offer fresh perspectives on each place.

Led by Turner Contemporary in Margate, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, you can follow one of the itineraries on the website or join the world’s first art geocaching tour.  Among the highlights of the seven new commissions are:

  • Turner Contemporary presents Michael Rakowitz's 'April is the cruellest month', Margate, 1 May - 14 November  
  • Cement Fields presents Jasleen Kaur: ‘The first thing I did was to kiss the ground’ Gravesend, 22 May – 12 November (launching with Estuary 2021)
  • Metal presents Katrina Palmer: ‘Hello’ and ‘Retreat’, Southend-on-Sea, 22 May – 12 November (launching with Estuary 2021)

Michael Rakowitz, April is the cruellest month. A Waterfronts co-commission with Turner Contemporary for England’s Creative Coast. Photo by Thierry Bal.

Cement Fields, a gallery based in North Kent, are one of the creative organisations taking part.

Their Artistic Director, Sue Jones says: “Cement Fields is delighted to have co-commissioned a new work by Jasleen Kaur with England’s Creative Coast for Gravesend on the banks of the River Thames in North Kent. 

“Jasleen’s work, The first thing I did was to kiss the ground, consists of a sculpture and sound work sited on Gravesend’s Town Pier and pontoon. The two works are about resistance, responding to Gravesend and also Tilbury Docks which is just across the river, as sites steeped in complicated histories of migration. 

“The sculpture makes visible overlooked identities and voices of South Asian diaspora communities; from the spiritual and political importance of hair, the head as a container of knowledge, song as oral history, to the idea of water as a carrier of people and practices. The sound work, made in collaboration with artist Ain Bailey, brings together music and songs, portals into other times and places, together with the voices of members of the Saheli Women’s Group.”

Hazel Edwards, South East Area Director, Arts Council England says: “England’s Creative Coast offers a fantastic opportunity to rediscover the coastline that inspired artists from Turner to the present day. It’s all outdoors so it’s a great chance to find hidden treasure with the world’s first art geocaching tour or visit one of the seven new artworks by leading contemporary artists including Michael Rakowitz’s ‘April is the cruellest month’ in Margate and Jasleen Kaur’s ‘The First Thing I Did Was Kiss The Ground’ in Gravesend. I can’t wait to visit England’s Creative Coast this summer.”

Discover more at