Kickstart Welcomes New Staff

Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture recently welcomed a new artistic director, Emma Kivisild, and operations director, Nisse Gustafson, to their staff. 

Emma Kivisild, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, has been active in the Vancouver arts community for many years. Under the pseudonym Lizard Jones, Kivisild previously collaborated with artists Persimmon Blackbridge and Susan Stewart as the award-winning collective known as Kiss & Tell. In recent years, her distinctive artwork has been exhibited at Kickstart events and also at Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival. She is the author of Two Ends of Sleep, a novel about living with MS, and is working on a PhD at UBC.  Enthusiastic about her new position with Kickstart – Disability Arts & Culture, Kivisild states, “People with disabilities are creating all kinds of astounding art sculpture, spoken word, breakdancing, burlesque: And it doesn’t stop there. I’m excited to be part of it.”

Emma can be reached at

Nisse Gustafson is a writer living in Vancouver. Following her experience as a volunteer publishing assistant for Artichoke Publishing and occasional contributor to Artichoke magazine, she co-edited the third volume of a series of books entitled Craft Perception and Practice: A Canadian discourse, after her mother, Paula Gustafson, a well-respected arts advocate and editor, passed away. Nisse has seven years administrative experience supporting development departments of organizations serving people living with disabilities, including CNIB and the Developmental Disabilities Association. She has been making art since she was a child, and studied theatre in Alberta following high school before moving to Vancouver in 1991. Nisse has recently rekindled her love of writing fiction and painting. She and her husband, a musician, recently returned to Vancouver after a year living in London, England. Nisse is enthusiastic about her new role as Operations Director with Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture and looks forward to a dynamic, exciting year ahead for the organization.

Nisse (pronounced nee-sah) can be reached at

Kickstart’s mission is to produce and present works by artists with disabilities and to promote artistic excellence among artists with disabilities working in a variety of disciplines.



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