About us

Our Vision: To energise cultural diversity in arts and heritage

Our Mission: To create opportunities, stimulate participation and provide a focal point for the development, celebration and co-ordination of cultural diversity through arts and heritage activity.


Essex Cultural Diversity Project breaks down barriers and promotes cultural harmony in Essex and the wider region. Through arts, cultural and heritage projects we raise awareness of race equality and cultural diversity, benefiting all people within communities across Essex.

We work strategically with artists, the culture and heritage sector, the BAME community and the voluntary sector to help develop skills, build sustainable networks and infrastructures, alongside creating new opportunities to enhance BAME artists’ work. 


Our history

Essex Cultural Diversity Project (ECDP) was established in 2007 following a feasibility study commissioned by Arts Council England and Essex County Council to investigate the need for an arts programme focused on cultural diversity in Essex. The study found that work was urgently needed to support BAME artists and arts organisations, as well as strategic organisations to address cultural diversity in the arts and heritage sectors.

We are now a registered charity working across cultural sectors, building partnerships with artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries to promote culturally diverse work. Our scope is broad, commissioning and showcasing work from visual and performing arts as well as literature and heritage. Our work has ranged from outdoor theatre and festivals to world music and artist development opportunities, nurturing and supporting diverse talent and encouraging work from BAME artists. We are also working more closely with LGBT and disabled artists and arts organisations, extending our role as leading on artistic diversity.

Essex Cultural Diversity Project is proud to be included in Arts Council England’s list of National Portfolio funded organisations for 2018-22. This followed on from funding by ACE’s Elevate programme in 2016, which invested in 40 diverse organisations that, at the time, didn’t receive regular Arts Council funding, to help them better meet their artistic ambitions and support organisational development. This programme has had a significant positive impact in shaping our 2018-22 portfolio – 30 Elevate recipients, including Essex Cultural Diversity Project, applied for the portfolio and 20 were recommended for funding. As a result of Elevate and being a strong advocate for the Creative Case for Diversity, we have recently been awarded NPO status for the first time in 2018.