<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Essex Life today click here

A month to remember at Firstsite

PUBLISHED: 11:46 06 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:46 06 March 2017




Colchester’s Firstsite gallery has not been without its critics, but this month is an excellent time to drop by and soak up some Essex culture, explains Janice Walker


The Firstsite gallery moved to its current location in 2011 and has become an integral part of the oldest recorded town’s cultural scene. Designed by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, the building is a masterpiece in itself.

Built on Scheduled Ancient Monument land, with a ‘no dig’ restriction to protect the archaeological artefacts languishing beneath, the gallery floats on an enormous concrete ‘raft’ and every inch of the TECU Gold (a malleable copper-aluminium alloy) cladding was painstakingly applied by hand.


When you have finished admiring the structure and the wonders of engineering that contributed to its construction, step inside to discover the myriad of cultural delights available.

Firstsite presents exhibitions from both local and internationally-renowned artists, it runs events, activities and learning workshops, and also shows a wide range of films, as well as live opera and ballet screenings.


The gallery’s calendar for March 2017 has something for everyone; with a variety of films and screenings including La Traviata and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; a major solo exhibition of paintings by Chinese artist Zhang Enli, including an ambitious new work which the artist will paint across the entire length and height of the gallery’s curved walls; the 2nd Annual African Families in the UK (AFiUK) Women’s Conference and a number of events which are part of the prestigious Essex Book Festival’s Colchester Place Weekend.

The Essex Book Festival was founded by Essex County Council in 1999, becoming an independent charity run by a board of voluntary trustees in 2011. The festival invites local and international writers to take part in its activities, and 2017 is no exception. There are more than 90 events taking place across the county and Colchester, including Firstsite, is hosting a liberal share of them.


Over the weekend of March 4 and 5, literature lovers can join members of the University of Essex’s Creative Writing team as they share some golden nuggets from their current works, young readers can listen to children’s author Kes Gray giving entertaining talks on board the EES for Schools’ bookbus, and young people can take part in a creative workshop with Monika-Akila Richards, doodle with the Sumi Ink Club or create stories with author DJ Catrell and illustrator Doug Smith.

As the name Colchester Place Weekend suggests, location and geography will play significant roles in many of the events taking place in the town.

The Essex Book Festival’s writer-in-residence is Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent, a Gothic tale of love, belief, science and religion, and she will be sharing the stage with Essex-based Polish poet Wioletta Greg and poet Philip Terry for a discussion about the significance of place in their work.

Writer and activist Lucy Popescu will be joined by AL Kennedy and Roma Tearne to explore the challenges faced by asylum seekers and talk about the collection of works entitled A Country of Refuge, which Lucy compiled and edited.

Whether you are an avid reader, a budding novelist, a novice poet, a published author, or a curious bystander, the array of events at Firstsite during the weekend of March 4 and 5 is sure to include something to spark your creativity or enhance your love of literature.

Find out more

For details of what’s on at Firstsite, clck here and for more information about the Essex Book Festival, visit http://essexbookfestival.org.uk.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Great Storm of 1987 brought havoc to the south of England and was a career-defining moment for TV weatherman Michael Fish. Peter Naldrett looks back at the events of 30 years ago and how they still impact today

Read more
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

If the Roman walls of Colchester could talk, what tales they’d tell. Petra Hornsby reveals what secrets there are to discover and what draws people to the oldest recorded town in England

Read more
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Whether it is fine jewellery and dazzling dresses or culinary delights and the best local produce, Brentwood offers so much more than just being the backdrop to a reality TV show

Read more
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

From woodlands and nature reserves to Dedham Vale, we pick 9 perfect places for countryside walks plus some of the best cosy pubs along the way

Read more
Friday, September 22, 2017

As the greens of summer give way to the browns and oranges of autumn, there’s no better time to go and explore Essex’s wonderful woodland. Here are 9 you should try

Read more
Monday, September 11, 2017

Essex is densely packed with wildlife: from nature and bird reserves to reservoirs and woodlands, we have picked some amazing wildlife spots in Essex

Read more
Monday, September 11, 2017

From scenic countryside to fresh sea air, Essex has so many lovely places you have to visit. Here are 10 of our favourite places to visit from every corner of the county.

Read more
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Why do we love Colchester? Maybe because of its rich, interesting history or maybe it’s the vibrant and modern culture, the list is almost endless

Read more
Monday, September 4, 2017

Across Essex our towns and villages’ streets are brimming with attractive, historical intrigue. In no particular order, these are 9 amazing ones you need to explore.

Read more
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Once home to the White Canons and much later to a library of antique books, Beeleigh Abbey has a history worth reading about, as Hannah Salisbury from the Essex Record Office reveals

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Essex Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Essex's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search