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Essex Cultural Destinations Project Research Commission £4,500 – Radical Essex

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Research Brief – Radical Essex

Essex Cultural Destinations Project
The three partners of the Essex Cultural Destinations project [Focal Point Gallery, Visit Essex, Firstsite] are looking to commission a body of research to inform an activity plan aimed at repositioning culture as a prominent component of the county’s visitor economy. The value of tourism in Essex is a significant £2.9 billion, however only a small proportion of this is going to the arts and culture sector and a much greater contribution could be made. The proposed project has been designed to ensure that a wider audience will experience the cultural offer in Essex which will benefit the visitor and cultural economies as well as having wide social benefits.

In conjunction with research to better understand the behaviour of cultural tourism in Essex, a programme of activity will aim to challenge pre-existing perceptions of culture within Essex, develop relations between the tourism and cultural sectors and better communicate the region’s cultural product. A public-facing event programme and adjoining marketing campaign, which will take place over 6 weeks in 2016. It will aim to showcase and raise awareness of a specific part of Essex’s cultural product and support a long-term shift in perceptions of the area.

Entitled, ‘Radical Essex: The Modernist County’, a combination of events, academic seminars and publications will showcase an element of the region’s unique history.
In order to support this activity, Partners would like to commission a body of research into the county’s role in the development of UK modernism and in relation to radicalism in thought- through lifestyle, politics, visual arts, literature and architecture. Key starting points include experimental architectural and social projects in the region, such as Frinton-on-Sea, Silver End and the Bata Factory, and the influential figures Henri Chopin and Humphrey Spender.

Purpose of research
The aim of this research is to provide a solid understanding of Essex’s role in the development of UK’s Modernism and provide the background upon which partners can provide audiences with a re-examination of the county.

Research deliverables
The working title ‘Radical Essex: The Modernist County’ and the specific remit of the research can be adapted- indeed, we are keen for the research to tighten the subject matter for the activity programme planned for 2016. The priority is for research to focus on a unique aspect of the county’s heritage and to provide an innovative vantage point.

Ideally, this project should collate pre-existing research and identify new sites or lines of enquiry to be explored under the confirmed subject title. In addition to publications and surveys, it should identify professionals and organisations who may be possible collaborators within the broader project. The research is likely to involve a series of site visits throughout Essex, in addition to interviews or conversations with academics or those with an interest in the subject matter.

Reporting requirements
Partners will require a final report which provides a user-friendly overview of the findings and a brief opening synopsis. A full appendix of sources and possible collaborators should be attached. Interim reporting is also expected. Copyright for the report should be assigned to the three partners for the sole purpose of the Cultural Destinations Project and for use in fundraising applications. Any other use will require negotiation with the consultant.

Budget and timescale
This project is being funded by Arts Council England and Visit England. A sum of up to £4,500 [plus VAT] has been awarded to cover the project fee. This includes the research (based on 35 days at £142 per day), data collection, meetings, travel and other materials required.

Proposals should outline the days and rates planned.
Research is expected to be delivered by January/February 2016.

A proposed methodology, timetable and budget are required. An overview of skills and relevant experience would be valuable. Details of two references should be supplied.

Proposals should be emailed to [email protected]

All respondents will be contacted three weeks after the deadline, with details of the decision.