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Image: Chi Emecheta


New PROFORMA Co-Director Chi Emecheta!

We are extremely excited to welcome new PROFORMA co-director Chi Emecheta on board! Chi is an emerging artist and creative producer with an interest in interdisciplinary practices. As new co-director of PROFORMA, Chi is committed to supporting artists and creatives in making and presenting work in both gallery and non-gallery spaces, focusing on performance and visual art.

Here is our welcome interview with Chi:


Chris Bailkoski - Welcome on board as our new director here at PROFORMA, we are excited that you are going to be working here, please can you introduce yourself?


Chi Emecheta - Thanks Chris, I am excited to be onboard! 

Hello everyone, I am Chi. Introductions are not the easiest thing,


Shall I compress my CV down to a few lines of achievements that I am not interested in? 


Or shall I tell you about my evolving practice as an artist, one that started in a homemade fort prepared from an upturned table and a few bedsheets. 


Maybe I can tell you that I live in South Manchester, and that I call it home, and if you ever need a cup of tea and a chat, my doors are open.


….I have grown up in many different cities

… I worked in healthcare for a while and have been making for as long as I have done anything else. 

… I am easily bought with a good book, a decent cuppa or a sincere hug. 



how about this – I love stories, I love beautiful things, I am excited about facilitating creative people to make and show work and all I want to make a place for people to experience them. 

CB - What are you looking forward to most working at PROFORMA? 


CE - Manchester is awash with talent, and passion and drive. I am excited by the opportunity to meet and work with creative people in Manchester, whether they call it home or are just passing through. 


CB - What are you looking forward to most working at our new venture, Longsight Art Space?


CE - LAS is a special place; it sits within a community/ neighbourhood that could be yours or mine. Being here is a clear statement of intent, to centre the making, displaying and experience of art where people live and work. Here, art is not something you make a pilgrimage to experience, it is part of the beat of a daily routine, and part of a life. I am looking forward to testing this theory out …. I know it will be broken a little but that the thing that will emerge will be interesting.  


CB - What is your vision for the future of LAS and something that you want to achieve here? 


CE - I keep answering the next question in the previous. I think I have touched on it a little before….

LAS as a place that is part of the lives of the people of Longsight and its immediate surroundings.

I want it to be a node, focusing artistic activity in and amongst the ecosystem a community – in beat with it.


…. Can you imagine, we might nurture the next generation of creative people, mechanics with a creative practice, philosophers who run news agents, painters who are environmental researchers … teachers, doctors, mums, activists… all with another language to articulate the world they live in…


But if all we do is exhibit exciting, beautiful or interesting work, I will be content. 

Follow Chi on instagram here


PROFORMA is a non-profit visual art, performance and curating platform in Greater Manchester supporting artists and curators by commissioning new work and providing artist exchange opportunities while offering an essential programme for artists’ development including mentoring and peer-led talks.


Founded by creative director Chris Bailkoski, exhibitions have so far included showcasing mid-career artists at The Dancehouse Theatre, Manchester, The Manchester Contemporary, SET Space, Dalston, Abingdon Studios, Blackpool, Begehungen festival Chemnitz and Corte Supernova during Venice Biennale 2019.


Presenting artists from the Greater Manchester region, our aim is to commission new work for spaces outside of traditional galleries and support artists through collaboration and promoting exchanges locally and internationally. Alongside this programme, there is a supporting series of critical talks, Curating Movement, with national and international curators and artists. PROFORMA is also part of East Street Arts GUILD programme.


In PROFORMA’s vision it is clear that Greater Manchester has an abundant, creatively diverse and thriving visual and musical arts ecology and the hope is that our new strands, PAVILION, LOITERand CENSUS,will offer essential resources to help nurture and sustain artist and curator practices in the region.  



Chris Bailkoski is a curator with extensive experience of developing collaborative practices to create dynamic exhibitions and events in both galleries and non-gallery spaces, predominantly focusing on grassroots visual artists and musicians in the North-West region.


The ideas for PROFORMA have been developing through his own curatorial practice and as a director of Soup Kitchen. Founded in 2010, Soup Kitchen is a music focused arts venue in the city centre of Manchester. Providing a platform for grassroots musicians and producers through productions and exchanges with international artists, during this time the venue has become a vital part of Manchester’s cultural community. In addition to this, he has curated visual art exhibitions throughout the North West region and PROFORMA is the marrying of both these strands of his career. 

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