27 May 2021


From the digitisation of culture to digital culture

27 May 2021

Sesión Online: From the digitisation of culture to digital culture

Date 14/5/21

  • Alba Colombo, lecturer in Arts and Humanities Studies at UOC
  • Jordi Herreruela, Festival Cruïlla Director
  • Jordi Sellas, Ideal Director
  • Miguel Valls, Alta Life Sciences founder and Board Member of Barcelona Tech City
  • Oscar Asensio, CEO and Founder at Blishers
  • Marisol López, Director of Digital Culture at ICEC (Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals)

Take Aways
  • The offline world leaves memories and builds loyalty while online consumption is very ephemeral.
  • More digitalisation and more technology means more opportunities.
  • Promoting the cultural uniqueness of local creators as opposed to the cultural entertainment offered by large technological operators.
  • It is necessary to consolidate an ecosystem that allows for the joint growth of Barcelona’s digital and cultural sector.
“More experiences, less stuff” 

The way of consuming culture has changed and digital formats have consolidated themselves as a successful model in the wake of the pandemic. Even events or shows that are more closely linked to face-to-face events have found ways to reach their audiences. Marisol López, Digital Culture Director at ICEC, says that this year, for example, they have found “less reluctance with online performing arts. This opens up the possibilities of access to culture at all levels”.

According to a study by the Institut de Cultura de Barcelona, 43% of the population finds that culture has been fundamental in their lives during the pandemic. However, the growth of digital consumption also opens up the possibility – or forces – the redefinition of offline events. In this context, technology is paramount to reinvent face-to-face experiences. “We have analysed our audience and adapted our content. The ability to naturally incorporate 5G, blockchain or big data will be natural aspects of any event or creative work. Every time we change the rules of the game, we move forward,” says Jordi Herreruela, Cruïlla Festival Director.

#HacTeHub, the art, science and technology hub of Barcelona

Hac Te hub is an initiative that explores and develops the intersections between art, science and technology with the aim of strengthening the digital transformation of society. Promoted by nine institutions, including Barcelona Tech City, it aims to position Barcelona as a global hub for research, training, dissemination, transfer and production in this field.

The digital context is an essential ally for weaving collaborations and exploring opportunities for growth. According to Oscar Asensio, founder and CEO of Blishers, “the future of any sector has to be digital, but we must continue to create ecosystems of trust that support initiatives”.  The speakers agreed that the ecosystems, in addition to generating synergies that add value to the city, must accompany companies and professionals accustomed to offline in this transition.

A differential proposal for Barcelona

Given this process of transformation and consolidation, the city has the potential to become an epicentre of reference. Currently, according to data from Barcelona Digital Talent, the digital sector is already the sector that generates the most jobs in Barcelona and there is a great attraction of talent and investment.

During the online session moderated by Alba Colombo, professor of Arts and Humanities Studies at UOC, the speakers stated that Barcelona must have a value proposition that sets it apart from the rest of Europe. Among other things, they agreed that this involves strengthening the capacity to finance itself with local capital, an effective model in the digital and innovative sector. “We have lived through many years of global franchising and I think we need to be more authentic. Commercially, it is going to start to be profitable not to be a franchise,” says Jordi Sellas, IDEAL Director, the Barcelona Digital Arts Centre.