The first year of Emergent is drawing to a close and we are preparing to open applications for year two. We thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with the artists shortlisted for our hybrid residency programme for early career artists, delivered in partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, to get their feedback and insight.

Kasra Jalilipour has been busy in the year since we first met, but we found time to get their updates and reflections, which you can read below...

Read more about Emergent Apply for Emergent 2023

Kasra Jalilipour (b. 1995, Isfahan) is an Iranian-born multidisciplinary artist, performer and writer based in the UK. Through humour, provocation and storytelling, their practice uses the body as the subject to talk about race, gender identity and sexuality. They use speculative histories and fictions to re-tell stories through a queer lens.

Kasra Jalilipour

Shortlisted artist for the Emergent 2022 Cohort

Katayoun sits slightly reclined on a chair wearing a pale t-shirt and dark trousers. Why did you apply to Emergent?

The partnership between Shape and Baltic was very exciting to me and it felt like an opportunity that would be understanding of my needs as a disabled artist.

What lessons about your practice - or anything else - has Emergent offered you?

Being able to express my ideas for the future of my practice in a supportive environment has been massively important for me and the conversations have helped me see it all more clearly.

Still from digital artwork. A computer-generated head floats on a purple backdrop, nothing below the neckline.

Do you feel like your practice or career have improved at all as a result of Emergent?

There's definitely going to be long term effects, for now it has definitely helped me more on a personal level.

We know terms like ‘emerging’ can create barriers for some artists. What does being described as an ‘emerging artist’ mean to you?

I do think these terminologies are perhaps more useful to organisations and funders than artists. I think there's a hint of capitalist marketing in it too. I feel like I have been emerging for a long time and I will probably be described as such for a while longer.

To me it means that I'm still figuring out my practice, but I don't think we ever stop figuring it out. It's also hard to not see how certain characteristics such as age, race, gender, and experiences like education play a part in which one of the terminologies apply to you. Personally, I think we can do without these terminologies as they can be divisive.

Portrait photograph of the artist Katayoun Jalilipour, with shaven dark hair and wearing a pink shirt.

Katayoun is lit by a soft pink and purple light in a dark room. They reach out to the left with their artwork installed on a white plinth behind them. Their other hand is open, holding a small object. Photo by Sophie at CLAY.Image: Katayoun at CLAY, taken by Sophie (Instagram)

What’s next for you?

This year I'm busy with a few residencies including one at Prospect Cottage. I have also just been awarded the Jerwood New Work Fund and I will be working towards a solo exhibition.

Emergent is a project aimed at addressing and tackling the entrenched marginalisation and under-representation of disabled people in the arts sector and wider society. The main focus is creatives at an early stage in their career (including re-emerging artists) who need support in order to continue.

Designed as a hybrid programme, we believe this format is important as we move away from the pandemic conditions, to find that much has changed, and new ways of working and making art are happening. By 'hybrid,' we mean including both in-place and online ways of working, including the making of new artworks and the sharing of creative experiences with audiences.

Alongside the selected Emergent Awardee, a selection of shortlisted artists receive tailored artist support for the duration of the programme.

Artist Support at Shape

As part of our mission to support disabled creatives and change the cultural landscape for the better, we regularly commission new works either as part of our main Arts Council England-funded programme or as one-off projects. On our website you can explore our recent collaborations and commissions and find out more about the artists behind them. 

Read Kasra's artist profile  Check out the rest of our blog

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