The Observatori de Dades Culturals de Barcelona (Barcelona Cultural Data Observatory) is an initiative of the Institut de Cultura (ICUB, Culture Institute) of the Ajuntament de Barcelona (Barcelona City Council) created with the purpose of publishing data, indicators and reports on the city’s cultural reality and to provide institutions, cultural agents and the scientific community with information that is well-organised and easily accessible.

It’s true to say that over recent years there has been a proliferation of all manner of observatories (some for data on the public, others for policy assessment or with statistical or research objectives), and this, in our opinion, is positive. Each of these instruments specialises in its own field, and this is a step in the right direction. Observatories are necessary, but above all we must be different; we need to specialise and not duplicate our efforts. Moreover, we need to be interconnected, to liaise, to agree on criteria and procedures and, especially, to work side-by-side, sharing information.

Today, we’re all just one click away from a staggering amount of data and information. All too often, however, we’re faced with masses of information that we can’t analyse due to the presentation format, how the data are structured or the lack of context. The added value that our observatory offers is the systematic presentation of data that is both well-organised and homogenous (a feature that enables comparatives and time-tracking), and also its publication via an accessible consultation system that we believe to be quick and effective.

Because we are a public service, we are duty-bound to share the knowledge we amass from our work. Nonetheless, this observatory was not set up with the sole purpose of fulfilling a duty. Instead, we are convinced that our work will allow for studies on and a deeper understanding of the cultural sector in Barcelona.

We possess valuable information, but we obviously don’t have all the data on the city’s cultural sector. We set out with many shortcomings and voids but we’re keen to remedy this gradually, as agreements and partnerships with other observatories, institutions and sectors allow us to move forward in each field of work.

Thus, this new observatory watches, observes and is aware of Barcelona’s cultural reality, but, what’s more, it’s open to sharing, connecting and reflecting with the purpose of broadening the knowledge we have of our city.

The Observatori de Dades Culturals de Barcelona is, above all, a tool at the service of citizens.