Camille Leinardi, co-founder of “Nina et Louise” organization
Marina, volunteer of “Nina et Louise” since September 2019
How old are you ? What is your nationality? Where are you living ?
Camille Leinardi: I am 22 years old, I am French and I live in Paris for my studies.
Marina: I am 22 years old, I am French and I live in Paris for my studies.
Who created the organization and why?
I created the organization with three other students from my master’s degree: Agathe Gervasoni, Sarah Favre and Mathilde Mazic Portejoie. Originally it was for a university project, but we decided to continue the project for ourselves. We wanted to promote women artists and women’s heritage, but we also wanted to work within a territory, so we first decided to create visits of Parisian arrondissements. This was the original core of our organization. Now we also share women’s portraits who were often forgotten from History, we publish articles about women artists, but also general articles about women’s heritage.
Can you tell us a little bit about your organization?
The goal of our organization is to promote women’s heritage, but we don’t only care for the great history, we are also interested in the more ordinary history, the one that can be easily forgotten. We are careful to not glorify women and to talk about a more “invisible” history. For example, in our visit around the 10th arrondissement of Paris we talked about Les grisettes, a group of poor women who worked in the textile industry during the XIXth century. We had not a great name to associate to these women, but we wanted to talk about them so that they wouldn’t be forgotten. This idea is important for us because women were often excluded of the notion of “genius”, we don’t want to continue to exclude women because they aren’t brilliant enough. Another important point in our organization is that we understand the word culture in its broadest sense. The fine arts aren’t our only point of interest. We are careful to include women who worked in arts but also women who worked in science, in sports, etc.
When and Why did you join the organization?
Camille Leinardi: I joined the organization at its very beginning when it still was a university project. Agathe, Sarah and Mathilde had the idea of making a cultural project where we would promote women’s heritage in Paris. I was extremely interested by this idea, so I decided to join them. On a personal level I was already engaged in feminism, I was already part of an activist organization for women’s rights and the possibility to join my activism and my taste for culture in one project was something very appealing to me.
Marina: I joined the association at the beginning of the 2019 school year. I wanted to get involved with the public through mediations, with young artists to create exhibitions and above all to inform, share and discover with others, and especially how we can reintegrate women into history.
How would you define feminism?
Camille Leinardi: At the beginning of the organization we talked about the values we wanted to respect and share through it. For us, feminism must include everyone. We support women of color, trans people, sexual workers, etc. We know that feminism has several definition depending on our vision of the world, for our part we are clearly anti-capitalist, ecologist, antiracist, anti-ableism… We also think that our actions must be completed with activism and a sociological filter that includes gender studies, postcolonial studies, etc.
Marina: For me, feminism must be inclusive, and the must aim is to is to achieve equality between men and women. I consider men (cis) as allies of the movement also stand to gain: an end to abusive virility and to all the presuppositions expected of both women and men. Only Women must decide about their lives and their bodies… For me, feminism allows me to rethink gender stereotypes, the injunctions that people are subjected to… This feminism expresses itself more particularly in the arts, where women are always reduced to the status of muses while they are also artists, producers, architects, photographers…
What obstacles have you faced?
Camille Leinardi: This past year we have faced one main obstacle, the difficulty to combine our school activities (or professional activities) and the organization. Agathe, Sarah and I were on our last year of master’s degree and it was a very demanding year. Sadly the organization suffered from it, we started the school year by wanting to diversify our activities but due to our schoolwork, our professional engagement and the social context (we had a huge strike in Paris from December to February, and now there is the Coronavirus Crisis) we couldn’t. We certainly hope to do better next year.
Marina: Managing engagements and studies at the same time. How to challenge institutions, find funds to pay artists for exhibitions… We discover a whole financial and logistical aspect, which is very complex.
On a more pragmatic level have you been supported during your project?
Camille Leinardi: First it is important to know that we don’t have financial assistance. Everything we do is voluntary. However, we had the opportunity to establish beautiful partnerships. Last year we worked with Le Journal du Village Saint-Martin, a local paper, and the 10th arrondissement city hall. We also have ties with other organization such as Women who do stuff who made a map of organizations that were looking for new volunteers.
If I want to volunteer, how can I contact you and what will I do?
If you want to contact us you can send a mail at email@example.com or through our social networks (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook). We are not currently looking for new volunteers, but we are always interested in making new partnerships and projects.