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Meet Emma Bentley Fox, this year's Emergent Artist in Residence

23 Aug 2023
Baltic Press Team

We're delighted to announce the recipient of this year’s Baltic x Shape Arts Emergent residency,  Emma Bentley Fox.

Emma has blonde hair and wears a pink tutu while talking on a novelty phone on the floor.
Emma, self portrait, 2021 © Emma Bentley Fox

Emma Bentley Fox is announced as recipient of the 2023 Baltic x Shape Arts Emergent residency.


Now in its second year, Emergent is a new hybrid residency and support programme for early-career disabled artists with a £5k bursary. The open call welcomed applications from disabled artists/creative practitioners in the first five years of their career, who have met with significant barriers in developing their artistic practice. The three-month residency programme combines digital and physical elements of delivery, supported by both organisations.

This year’s shortlisting process was very competitive with a high volume of applications. The awarded artist, Emma Bentley Fox is interested in image-making and community building and seeks to create spaces for those who are marginalised. She works across a range of media, exploring ideas of taste, nostalgia, queerness and archiving. As part of her residency she hopes to connect with the photography community in the North East.

Emma will take part in the residency online and at Baltic, where, in addition to receiving expert support and mentoring to inform her practice, she will use the facilities and have curatorial and technical input to extend her current research and develop new work. A showcasing or broadcast opportunity will also be provided as part of the programme.


Two people blow out birthday candles.

About Emma Bentley Fox

Emma Bentley Fox is a socially-engaged arts practitioner, with a multi-disciplinary approach to art-making. Her practice centres community-building and collaborative working to generate moments of joy, healing, intimacy and kinship. Co-founder of Party Mom Society (Leeds, 2018) she has documented, produced and performed in, alternative/inclusive queer nightlife spaces that centre non-conforming Queer experiences. 

More recently in 2022 she was awarded an Arts Council England's DYCP grant, to archive her body of photography work, culminating in her first solo exhibition Confessions of A Party Mom, 2023. This brought together a very small snapshot of her archive documenting 7 years of alternative queer nightlife spaces across Yorkshire. She has also been developing a Leeds-based network of Queer archivists and Trauma-Informed archiving workshop spaces, specifically tailored to those in recovery, and exploring the potential of ‘archive’ as a site of healing, repair, storytelling and protest/resistance.

She is particularly drawn to colour analogue photography, and the expansiveness and possibility of the image/texture in photo-negatives and analogue images. She relates this back to her own experiences of gender and queerness. Archives also similarly are not fixed. They are places of negotiation, fluid, open to interpretation and Emma is interested in what can be found and lost in the gaps.

About Shape Arts

Shape Arts is a disability-led organisation breaking barriers to creative excellence. We deliver a range of projects supporting marginalised artists, as well as training cultural venues to be more inclusive and accessible for disabled people as employees, artists, and audiences. Running alongside this portfolio is the NLHF-funded National Disability Movement Archive and Collection (NDMAC), a radical collecting and retelling of the Disability Rights Movement’s heritage story; and, until recently led by Shape, Unlimited, which, largely supported by Arts Council and British Council funding, provides a platform for disabled artists to develop, produce and show ambitious and high-quality work, and which aims to transform perceptions of how the work of disabled artists is received in the mainstream art world.