Ends on

EMERGENYC 2021

Now accepting applications for our 14th cohort! Application deadline: February 8, 2021 

EMERGE 2019 


EMERGENYC is an incubator for emerging artist-activists interested in developing their creative voice, exploring the intersections of art and activism, and connecting to a thriving community of independent practitioners—most of them POC, women, and LGBTQIA+ folks. First launched in 2008 at the Hemispheric Institute—and now independent, in partnership with BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange and Abrons Arts Center—EMERGENYC offers varied entry points into art and activism, prioritizing process, discovery and reflection, and fostering a brave space for experimentation, risk-taking and community-building. The annual program encourages participants to take interdisciplinary leaps, mix styles and traditions, and develop incisive new work at the intersection of performance and politics. Over the years, EMERGENYC has activated a strong network of artivists who have built solidarity across differences and challenged dominant narratives through artistic cultural resistance. 

The Program—2021 Zoom version 

While we miss the in-person  experience, this pandemic-era virtual iteration has allowed for an  expansion of the network of participants—folks can now be anywhere and still be a part of the cohort—which in 2020 brought us unforeseen magic  and pleasure. For 2021, we will continue creating in our virtual  playhouse: with a decolonial lens, we will explore the intersection of art and activism through creative writing, autobiographical narratives, group work, and other multi-disciplinary adventures—all while creating and re-creating a space in which all participants build community with one another, actively listen with their bodies, and build intentional trust to lay a foundation where compassion and risk-taking guide our work together.

Selected participants will take part in weekly Sunday workshops facilitated by George Emilio Sánchez and Marlène Ramírez-Cancio, as well as workshops by established guest artists who are leaders in the field of performance and politics. Guest workshop leaders for 2021 will be announced closer to the date. (See the faculty page on the Hemispheric Institute website to see past instructors.) 

We ask applicants to define issues that are important to them and explore how creative practices can harness their political voice. Participants have explored themes of racism and racial violence; police brutality and mass incarceration; joy as resistance; queer worldmaking; disability rights; undocumented immigrant activism; war and human rights; environmental justice; and myriad topics that affect their lives and those of their communities. These engagements have resulted in the creation of performance art pieces, multimedia installations, theatrical explorations, street performances, video art, and more. The program will take place every Sunday (10am–2pm Eastern Time) from Sunday April 4th to Sunday July 11th (*except for July 4th), with the final works-in-progress presented on July 8th, 2021 via Zoom for an invited audience.

This 3-month program has a fee of USD $500. A modest amount of financial aid will be available to cover part of this fee on a need basis. If your enrollment depends on financial aid, please let us know in your application.

STEFA (2019) 


Who Is Eligible? 

EMERGENYC is now open to ALL emerging activists/artists/performers (not just NYC-based) who are fluent in English and can participate in online workshops from 10am–2pm Eastern Time. Applicants must have prior experience in various performance genres and/or activist practices. Age is not a factor (past participants have ranged in ages 18–45) — what we define as 'emerging' is fluid, and has more to do with how you self-define than anything else. Conflicts and attendance: Any conflicts applicants have with the EMERGENYC Sunday schedule should be noted in their application. 

Eric Taylor (2017) 


How to Apply 

The deadline to submit materials on Submittable is Monday, February 8th, 2021 at 5pm (Eastern Time). 

You will be asked to submit: 

—A biographical statement (maximum 500 words) This is your chance to let us know who you are, where you're from, your performance background, and your current obsessions/projects. Please do not submit this in the third person or copy and paste your bio—we want to hear your story in your voice, in the first person. Talk to us. 

—A statement of purpose (maximum 750 words) This statement describes the reasons you want to participate in EMERGENYC. Please outline the specific issues you would want to address through the program and any preliminary ideas about the communities or practices that would ground this work. 

—Your resume or CV 

—Two (2) work samples (See Application Form for details) 

—Contact information for the two (2) people writing you letters of recommendation. (Please select two recommenders as soon as possible, giving them ample time to write and submit your letters.  

—OPTIONAL: A paragraph explaining your request for financial aid to cover the $500 tuition. Be as detailed as possible to help us understand the circumstances of your needs. For any questions about the application form or how to apply, please contact us via the Contact form at emergenyc.org

Finalists will be interviewed via Zoom in March; the first registration payment will be due the first week of April. 

Troizel Carr, "Black People Die in Public" (2017) 


(Photos: EMERGE'19; STEFA; Eric Taylor; Troizel Carr.)


We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.