Emily Bivens was raised in southern Louisiana. Her childhood bedroom was set apart from her family on the far side of an old house under which a large colony of armadillos would root and cavort all night. She studied biology later switching to art when she realized that there are limits to what science can explain. She has had exhibitions and performances in festivals, museums, galleries and washaterias.
Bivens is the recipient of the 2019 Ann and Steve Bailey Opportunity Grant and 2019 Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. Individual work has been shown at Skulpturens Hus, Stockholm, Sweden, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO, Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia, PA and DEMO project in Springfield, IL. Her collaborative work with The Bridge Club has been presented at Press Street for Prospect 3+, New Orleans, LA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA, The Texas Biennial, San Antonio, TX, Currents: The Santa Fe International New Media Festival, Santa Fe, NM and the Lawndale Art Center, Houston, TX. Bivens received her BFA from Colorado State University and her MFA from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She is an Associate Professor of 4D and Time-Based Art at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.