Catalan culture celebrated as Glasgow host FC Barcelona

Published: 6 November 2012

The University of Glasgow is hosting a day of Catalan cultural events to celebrate the ties between Scotland and Catalonia

On the day that Celtic play FC Barcelona in the Champions League, the University of Glasgow is hosting a day of Catalan cultural events to celebrate the ties between Scotland and Catalonia.

The events are part of a wider collaboration with Institut Ramon Llull (IRL), a public body which aims to promote Catalan language and culture internationally through encouraging cultural and academic exchanges, and FC Barcelona.

The IRL and FC Barcelona have an agreement to promote Catalan culture throughout the world. As part of this agreement, the two organisations are organising a series of activities related to both Catalan culture and FC Barcelona at various universities. The first will take place on 7th November at the University of Glasgow to coincide with the Champions League clash.

The day will include talks from Carles Vilarrubí, Vice-President of FC Barcelona, Barcelona-based writer, Matthew Tree, and a live performance by Els Amics de les Arts. Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, will meet delegates from Institut Ramon Llull and FC Barcelona at 10:00am in the University of Glasgow’s Randolph Hall.

Professor John Macklin, Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Glasgow, said: “The University of Glasgow is delighted to host this event, which is the first of its kind in a UK university. 

“The School of Modern Languages is a leading centre for the study of modern languages and cultures.   This is a wonderful opportunity, at an important historical moment for Catalonia and Scotland, to present aspects of Catalonia – its language, culture, history and of course sport to a wider Scottish public.”

Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said:  “I am extremely pleased to join with the School of Modern Languages and the University in welcoming this special event and its participants to our campus.  At a time when issues of national identities are so hotly debated in Catalonia and Scotland, this fascinating programme of events will not only entertain, inform and stimulate our thinking, but will help forge the academic and cultural links we already enjoy, including our shared passion for football!”

Scotland and Catalonia traditionally have a close relationship; the decision by Westminster to allow a referendum in Scotland has been viewed with interest by the Catalan people as support for the independence movement grows.

On 11 September this year, 1.5 million people took part in the Catalan National Day rally for independence in Barcelona. Not only did Catalan demonstrators plead for political autonomy, they also sharpened their demand for fiscal independence from Spain.


The full programme of events for the day is as follows:

  • 10:00am – Randolph Hall - Carles Vilarrubí, Vice President of FC Barcelona: ‘Barça, sport, culture and education’.

“Barça is a vehicle for the recovery of the Catalan identity and an instrument for the integration of new arrivals. Our values are teamwork, effort, respect, humility and tolerance. All of these values are swathed in the predisposition towards a European culture of a nation with more than a thousand years of history.”

  • 12:00pm – Randolph Hall - Matthew Tree: 'Catalonia and How It Got That Way: A Long-Term Resident's Perspective'.

“On the 11th of September this year, the largest demonstration in European history took place on the streets of Barcelona: an estimated 1.5 million people requested independence from Spain, prompting the Catalan government to set in motion all the specific, democratic mechanisms available to achieve this aim. Contrary to certain UK media reports, this is not a knee-jerk reaction to the recent economic crisis, but something which has been a long time coming. In just under an hour, a writer who has lived in Barcelona for the last 28 years will attempt to explain how and why this majority demand for independence came about.”

  • 1:00pm Queen Margaret Union - Els Amics de les Arts perform live

 Els Amics de les Arts belong to what some have called the new wave of Catalan folk-pop. Their songs tell daily stories of Catalan life.

  • 3:00pm – Randolph Hall - ‘Football, Barça, passion and culture’ – FC Barcelona Supporters Clubs meeting

Universality, solidarity and democracy have characterised FC Barcelona throughout its history. These values have also defined Catalan society. The symposium will be led by journalist Jimmy Burns, and representatives of international supporter’s clubs. They will talk about how these values provide meaning in their own respective societies.

Participants: Jimmy Burns, renowned journalist and member of the London FC Barcelona Supporters’ Club. Mateusz Szczepanski, representing the Polska FC Barcelona Supporters’ Club. Adam Brown, Vice-President of the Perth FC Barcelona Supporters’ Club. Josep Barnils, Manager of FC Barcelona Supporters’ Clubs, world-wide.

First published: 6 November 2012

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