Social activist, cultural anthropologist, graduate of applied linguistics and cultural studies (Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin), founder and organizer of “Demakijaż” – Women’s Film Festival since 2016. Associated with Grrrlz GET LOUD, a grassroots initiative advocating a greater visibility of women and girls in the context of the alternative music circuit. Currently studying Film and TV Production Organization at the Film School in Łódź.
Involved in cultural animation, artistic practice, and social activism. In the past, professionally affiliated with the Centre for Culture in Lublin and with the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre. With years’ worth of experience in film and theatre festival production as well as in implementation of grass-roots cultural initiatives, Simona is currently engaged in the practice of inclusivity, working in the liminal space of intersectional feminism and queer.
Feminist, cultural manager, graduate of sociology and journalism (Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland). A longtime mover and shaker of the D.I.Y. scene in Lublin; founding member and originator of GRRRLZ GET LOUD– a grassroots initiative supporting the participation of girls and women in independent culture.
Social activist, feminist, graduate of philosophy and Polish studies; active in the cultural sector since 2008, logistics coordinator for the “Two Riversides” Film and Art Festival in Kazimierz Dolny (2010-14), programming manager for the “Cinema in Sneakers” Film Festival in Warsaw (2014), curator of the “Discussions about Growing Up” film meetings; organizational director of the Summer Film Academy in Zwierzyniec (2018-19). Founder and organizer of “Demakijaż” – Women’s Film Festival (est. 2016), author of University, Humanities, Philosophy: Academic Education According to Martha Nussbaum and Alasdair MacIntyre (2015), published articles in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily and Znak monthly. Currently conducting doctoral research into how the division in the public and private spheres influences the understanding of justice and how it affects women’s rights.
My activist adventure began in 2018 when I heard about the idea to organize the first Equality March in Lublin and decided to get involved. At first, I didn’t want to “lean in” knowing that the other people in the group were much older than me and had more experience. However, pretty soon I became a leader and a year later a co-founder and board member of the Lublin Equality March Association.
Over the past four years I have co-organized three Equality Marches (as one of the youngest organizers in Poland), strike actions and demonstrations in favour of women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and the climate crisis. In the high school I attended at the time, I managed to organize training for staff on how to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2020, I organized a campaign to donate masks to shelters for people in homelessness crisis, hospitals, and addiction treatment centers, among others. In the same year, I carried out the educational and integrative project “Rainbow Mythbusters”, in which, together with other members of the Association, we traveled to smaller towns in the Lublin Province in a rainbow-decorated bus, initiating the integration of the local LGBTQ+ community, as well as ordinary passers-by. We gave talks, sang, and painted tote bags together.
A year later, the grant proposal I wrote won the Active Citizens competition. The project’s goal was to establish a community centre for LGBTQ+ youth. This is what I consider my greatest success so far, and in fact my greatest pride. The fact that young, non-heteronormative people have their own place in the city of Lublin – a space where they can freely meet, learn, read books, relax, play board games, as well as participate in workshops, realize their own ideas, develop themselves, and receive psychological and legal support – the only such a place in this part of Poland.
In 2022, I was awarded the title of the Equality Leader of the Lublin Province by the Congress of Women and the British Embassy, as one of the “16 Leaders of Equality” in Poland.
I started with the activist part of my life, because I find it the most important. On a daily basis, I work in a contemporary art gallery, where I am responsible for marketing / promotion, for our in-house youth programme, and for accessibility of our programming. I am fortunate to be working with a great, open-minded team and I can practise activism at work or through it.
Author of Afro-Caribbean Poetry in English: Cultural Traditions (2015); since 2016 curator of Reggae University at the Ostróda Reggae Festival; co-curator (alongside Monika Borys) of the Disco Relax exhibition at the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw (2019-20); co-editor (alongside Jolanta Prochowicz) of Poetki na czasy zarazy (2021), an anthology of contemporary poetry by women; member of the Polish Literary Translators Association.