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Essential tagwords for appreciating culture in Barcelona

Essential tagwords for appreciating culture in Barcelona

Andrea Batalla Par

Manager, Digital Sales, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial

Daria Shornikova
Daria Shornikova

Brand & Communication Director, ISPD Global

Enhancing the culture of Barcelona could serve as a support for strengthening ties between us

Barcelona has become a powerful magnet for people from all over the world. Every individual has their own roots, talent, and language, however, and like London, New York or Dubai, the Catalan capital increasingly resembles the world after the fall of the tower of Babel.

Regardless of whether we were born in Barcelona or whether we have chosen to move here, it often seems that we lack a common language. So what can the city do to help us support each other, push back our boundaries, and erase the borders that divide us? Perhaps, the answer can be found in art. The role of culture in a changing world is essential: it has the power to enable people from all over the world to live together in harmony, to integrate, to educate, and to inspire.It can serve as a universal language, telling stories, transmitting values, guiding people, and uniting communities.

In this article we list some essential concepts or “tagwords” about Barcelona’s cultural scene that may help us to discuss the prosperous, diverse, and captivating city we all aspire to construct.


Barcelona has hosted key events in contemporary history, such as the 1992 Olympic Games, and is also home to cultural landmarks that enjoy universal appeal, such as the architectural legacy of Gaudí. The city now offers a very wide range of high-quality cultural attractions of very different kinds, run by both public and private bodies, and encompassing both popular traditions and experiments in contemporary fusion.

It is precisely this amalgam that makes the city attractive and unique; it is an extraordinary heritage on which to build. When we incorporate the legacy that identifies us, we can move forward with confidence. Rather than breaking with the past, we need to incorporate it within our identity and to encourage different generations, customs, and styles to exist side by side.

Glocal Tech

Those who lived in the medieval era or at the height of Catalan modernisme combined the human with the divine, but new generations are now fostering a symbiosis between humans and digital technology, providing fresh opportunities to assert Barcelona’s leadership as a focus of contemporary culture, a dynamic city that is in harmony with global rhythms.

The cultural scene in Barcelona resembles several other cities in various ways: Vienna, with its great capacity to attract tech talent; Paris, a city that has historically been more open to new influences; and San Francisco, a city that is larger and has better connections. 

Barcelona’s commitment to promoting new opportunities based on technology and innovation makes it necessary to take advantage of local talent and to attract talent from abroad. The challenge of striking a difficult balance between opening up to the world while not losing the essence that defines us as a city involves a constant dialogue between globalism and tradition, and is based on respect and openness to new area of creativity.


It is a fact that creative activity in Barcelona has prospered thanks to the patronage of major entrepreneurs. The fact that the city today is a startup hub and a focus of international investment means that an increasing number of companies are inspiring consumers with art, generating considerable benefits. There may be cities that are home to better-known museums and artistic forums on the world stage, but there are a large number of cultural enterprises in Barcelona. Barcelona has positioned itself as the European capital of multimedia art (Loop, IDEAL, Moco), technology-based culture (Domestic Data Streamers, Sónar+D) and music (with well-established festivals like Primavera Sound and the Cruïlla Festival).

Cultural businesses have the power to drive the new economy. Culture, from literature and music to gastronomy, from cinema to video games, plastic arts, dance and advertising, stimulates other sectors. The city still has challenges to face, however, mainly with regard to institutional and economic support, access to multi-purpose facilities, and the promotion of diversity


Cultural institutions must participate in education as actively as possible in order to train new generations to make new discoveries, to be critical of their environment, to embrace diversity and to develop sensitivity to their heritage. It is important to give an outlet to human emotions, as well as to learn about genres, artists, and formats. 

Así lo hace el Liceu con su proyecto OPERA PRIMA, ideado para acercarse al barrio del Raval. La clave del crecimiento es preparar a los futuros barceloneses conscientes, conectados y equipados para crear en y para la comunidad. Pero no solo es el trabajo de las instituciones, sino de cada uno de los ciudadanos: compartiendo nuestro conocimiento e inquietudes culturales, aprendiendo los unos de los otros, probando nuevas vertientes artísticas y arriesgarnos innovando. Abrir las puertas a la Barcelona artística tal y como la vivimos cada uno multiplica por mil lo que puede ofrecer esta ciudad haciéndola mejor anfitriona.


If something should characterize us, it is the passion to the core for our city, and for culture and its transforming capacity.  We must come to an agreement at a private and institutional level on the commitment that we make as citizens of Barcelona in the field of culture. As citizens we are part of this transformation, and we have the challenge of getting involved in the redefinition of the city. A new identity is built and grows when it is shared by the locals and those who have chosen the city to live. 

The future of Barcelona concerns all of us who feel connected to the city, whether it is because our roots are here, out of gratitude for the warm welcome we have received, or from a desire to succeed in such a symbolic place.

The Barcelona of culture calls us all to explore, to tell our stories about it, to taste, share and show. Now, imagine a Liceu opera at Cruïlla, with a set based on big data, with interaction with the public and with our own live participation as Barcelonans, regardless of our origin. Sounds attractive, right?

So what Barcelona can you imagine?

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