In Catalonia, everyone remembers the cultural pact promoted by the councilor Joan Rigol in 1985, setting out how it was necessary to unite efforts among all to ensure that culture occupies a central space. For this purpose, the pact signed between the Barcelona government team and the opposition parties that was presented this Friday was born; some general lines that will unfold with the final horizon of 2030 based on six axes: popular cultures and interculturality; visual arts, museums, architecture and design; media and communication; performing arts; humanities, writing and literature and memory, heritage and history. It was presented this Friday morning with the presence of all the political parties, something truly unprecedented in the Barcelona and Catalan political scene, with the idea that, whoever governs, culture is central to the life of Barcelona.

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It all started in November 2019 in the Commission for Social Rights, Culture and Sports of the City Council promoted by ERC and JxCat supported by all the parties with representation in the City Council, and although the pandemic has made work difficult, this Friday it was possible to present the document containing the main lines of action.

In the Saló de Cent of the City Council, the presentation was attended by Joan Subirats, Deputy Mayor for Culture, Education, Science and Community; Xavier Marcé, councilor for Tourism and Creative Industries; and the councilors, spokespersons for Culture of the different opposition parties: Gemma Sendra, from ERC; Ferran Mascarell, from JuntsxCat; Óscar Ramírez, from the PP and Eva Parera, from Barcelona Pel Canvi. The agreement presented is in addition to the global plan promoted by the Colau government approved at the end of April in which 69 million were injected to promote 100 actions such as the use of bass for workshops, rehearsals and art exhibitions, the promotion of a cultural currency and the free museums.

The plan, for now a very theoretical framework of work, raises some initial lines of 10 proposals in which there is talk of rethinking the architecture of large facilities, their government systems, size, possible alliances; the financing of culture, analyzing available and possible resources; gender and culture in the city; interculturality; the cultural and scientific capital of the city; the Heritage; cultural industries; art, culture and science; the educational system and the cultural internationalization of the city.

Gemma Sendra and Joan Subirats, during the event.Valentí Viñas

From now on, it will be the Consell de la Cultura that will oversee the development of the proposals of the pact and will articulate a calendar of debates, working groups and commissions on the horizon of 2023 and 2030 in which each of the aspects.

Subirats has remarked that it is a roadmap that was born at a time when the Generalitat has committed to doubling its Culture budget and the coca-capitality agreement is ending, which will represent an economic injection of about 20 million euros by the State after years of breaching the agreements with the city. For him, in addition, this document is a good contribution to achieve a recovery of culture, after the bad last year due to the pandemic.

For Sendra, it has to help create new financing instruments and it has to serve to create work synergies. “There is a lot of scattered information, but there is a lot of work done by the Consell de Cultura and the CoNCA, which will allow us to advance a lot. We have to see what can be used and what is valid for Barcelona ”. The pact is good because, he assures: “We politicians are challenged to be effective and create synergies and obtain all possible resources, but the challenge before us is great.” For her, the main challenges are to dignify the jobs of culture; the review of the relationship between public and private spaces and the rebalancing of the city’s cultural ecosystem, reaffirming poles such as Montjuïc and Parallel or Rambla and new ones such as Glòries.

Marcé, Mascarell and Parera, during the presentation of the pact for the culture of Barcelona.
Marcé, Mascarell and Parera, during the presentation of the pact for the culture of Barcelona.Valentí Viñas

Mascarell, a veteran in the management of Barcelona and Catalan culture, has recalled that the previous agreements in the city allowed to promote the plans of libraries or creation factories, has ensured that the pact “must serve to recover the idea that the city is full of talent; something that has to become his identity, since it gives him strength ”. Mascarell has assured that “in the face of the evident loss of cultural strength” something had to be done. “It is the beginning, not the end of a strategic plan that we would like to have presented. We are in the preamble, but we have to congratulate ourselves on the agreement that we have to make as ambitious as possible ”, he recognized and recalled the need to accept diversity, consolidate the city’s public system,“ which requires investment, since it is in a delicate phase and the need to make decisions of a strategic nature in fields such as the audiovisual sector that is ceasing to exist ”. Mascarell has admitted that the current reality is different. “Everything is new, you do not have to copy previous things, but there is a pattern that has to be followed,” he said.

Ramírez has also congratulated himself on the agreement, although he has assured that they do not agree 100%. Everyone can boost their brand in this cultural pact. It is open and broad and different ideas have been collected, while Marcé said that it is the first time that culture has been put into place, including the framework of the economy and education.

Subirats has recognized that culture always needs more resources, but has recalled that in Barcelona 6% of the budget is allocated to Culture, representing an expense per person per year of 90 euros. “At a comparative level, it is not bad, if we compare it with the rest of Spain, where only Bilbao has a similar figure and Madrid is around 50 euros, while cities like Berlin allocate around 100 and the Generalitat around 30 euros per person per year ”.

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