Essex 2020 A year of Science, Creativity and COVID-19

Essex2020’s focus on innovation and creativity has been pushed to the fore in recent weeks with event organisers showing a huge amount of resilience and creativity despite the obvious challenges and difficulties. It has also produced some interesting discussion about the benefits and limits of science and technology! Although some Essex2020 events have been cancelled or postponed many are adapting and some new ones emerging. Keep an eye on to see what is planned access to the resources and funding support we are posting. 

In Chelmsford whave been busy adapting our plans and were delighted that Frances and Herbie from Electric Voice Theatre recently received ACE emergency funding for their project ‘Echoes from Essex Girls’. This connects historic local female scientists to female scientists working today through song, music, performance and spoken word. Although they hope to hold a final performance in the theatre we are developing podcasts and a virtual zoom choir which can be filmed and broadcast if the theatre can’t be open. 


At the moment we are busy co-ordinating various activities for the Dame Nellie Melba/Marconi broadcast centenary on 15th June. Ian Knowles and the team at the theatre have been working with historian Tim Wander to develop a radio play ‘Power behind the Microphone’ which celebrates the first ever live entertainment broadcast and highlights the talents of all the local people that made Chelmsford the birthplace of radio. BBC Essex plan to livestream a re-enactment of the performanceCSES and Civic Society are turning some of their planned Marconi related lectures into webinars and Alan Pamphilon is experimenting with making films of his planned Marconi history walks. 

Some people have been using this time to develop ideas. EmjaySessions, Steve Mortimer and the Black Chapel Collective have been busy making content for ‘The Great Connect’ an immersive music and video experience on the theme of science and spirituality which is planned for 17th October at HotBox.  

The work started at Tree-mendous has continued into Essex Book Festival’s bunting project which you can contribute to at home and we have enjoyed seeing people using their sewing, crafting and 3D printing skills to make masks and PPE. Shortly we will be sharing some online workshops for making music and costumes for the return of the City’s Carnival which are being prepared by artists working with the Chelmsford’s Art and Cultural Festival team 


Paul Diamond’s People on Work initiative has adapted over lockdown and is a great way for young people to gain skills by asking people they know his 3 golden questions which can be uploaded to his growing careers resource.


There are some exciting projects in the pipeline including the return of the City Photography Competition and Nikki Mendes opening her gin distillery, shop and workshop space on the High Street. We are looking forward to collaborating to create a Chelmsford gin and are working on a theme ‘The Future of Radio’ with Chelmsford Museum, Radio Emma Toc, Chelmsford for You, Chelmsford Community Radio and others to develop a series of events including a potential discussion panel, workshops and podcast series.  


As always we are open to ideas for new activities and events to add to the programme so do get in touch with your plans and suggestions. Our next Essex2020 Chelmsford, Basildon and Brentwood Hub meeting is 21st May 12-1.30pm via Zoom. Contact if you would like to join in.  


Thank you to everyone who contributed to the recent article in Essex live.  

 It would be great to see more coverage of all the creative and cultural things going on so please keep sending Elliot photos and examples of your activities for planned follow-up features. Elliot Hawkins <>


ECHOES Minerva Scientifica Image

ECHOES Minerva Scientifica Illustration by Amy Whiten