Barcelona Cultura

Culture in times of pandemic (II)

During the last quarter of 2021, and carrying on from last autumn’s survey, the Barcelona Institute of Culture included a series of questions in the GESOP’s quarterly Omnibus, in order to monitor the importance of culture during the pandemic.

As a new feature, people were questioned on their knowledge of the Grec Festival, its projection beyond the city, and the Quinzena Metropolitana, Metropolitan Dance Fortnight festival, held in the Metropolitan Area.


The main conclusions are:

  • The gap between the importance given to culture at a general and individual level is narrowing. 35% see it as being ‘very important’ in people’s lives and 39% at a personal level.
  • Reading, watching films or series and listening to music are the most prominent activities, although there are differences in the groups that take part in each one, compared to the previous survey.

In regard to festivals:

  • 70% of the people residing in the BMA know about the Grec Festival, but only 3.2% saw a show in the last edition.
  • 17% of the people surveyed had heard about the Metropolitan Dance Fortnight, but less than 1% of them had attended a performance recently.


More information in this report (in catalan).

The pandemic and digital audiences


2020 was the year of Covid-19, a pandemic that has had devastating consequences for culture. But it was also the year of the generalised development of new strategies for reaching audiences, during a time when being on site was either prohibited or severely restricted.

In this context, and in very diverse ways, civic centres, museums, exhibition centres, creation factories, libraries, theatres and festivals all explored new ways of connecting with audiences and opened digital channels and platforms in order to respond to this new challenge. In some cases, this focused on school work, others generated activity on a more social and supportive level, while some opted for showing what was happening backstage. They were all projects that came out of collective effort and the need to reinvent oneself, and they were very well received.

Faced with this new reality, the Institute of Culture's Technical Officeworked with some of the cultural stakeholders involved, in order to obtain structured, uniform and comparable quantitative information on digital audiences, data which complement the information we already systematically compile about on-site audiences.

However, the digital world is very diverse, changeable and volatile, and agreeing on standards in such a short space of time was not possible. We will continue to work on it. However, we don't want to stop compiling data and showing, in some way, the efforts and the results of a digital activity that increased exponentially in 2020 and which is here to stay.

For all of those reasons, we present digital activity data and indicators for 2020 (in catalan), a compilation of some of the actions carried out. We know that this is a partial and incomplete compilation (and under permanent construction!). but we are sharing it with the aim of showcasing and recording the diversity of what is on offer, which is difficult to quantify, and the efforts made by stakeholders to continue creating culture in times of pandemic, exploring the possibilities offered by the digital world.

Disposable household income (DHI)

In July, the Municipal Data Office's analysis department published the study ‘Disposable Household Income in Barcelona. 2018’, an approach to household incomes.

Compared to previous studies, the main new feature is a change in the calculation method used: for the first time, the DHI was calculated based on a direct method and not by using indirect consumption indicators, the method used in previous years. The new calculation method makes it possible to know the structure of household resourcesand the public sector's role in redistribution.

Obtaining data broken down by district and neighbourhood provides important information on the socio-economic characteristics of the population, which is of vital importance for working at a territorial level and for evaluating  public policies aimed at reducing inequalities, also in culture.

Therefore, in September, the results of this study were presented, specifically addressed to ICUB personnel, in the Area of Culture, Education, Science and Community and Libraries.

Further information:

- Presentation of the study to cultural technical personnel (pdf)

- Complete report (external link)

Covid-19 and museums: group visits

15In addition to analysing what impact the Covid-19 crisis has had on the number and origin of visitors, as well as on revenue from museum activities, it is interesting to note what types of groups visited these facilities in 2020, their distribution by month, days of the week, times and origins.

With this aim, we expanded the information from museums with a specific section on data concerning group visits (only in catalan).

For example, these data provide us with information about the number of school groups visiting museums every month:

or alternatively, the days of the week with the most tourist groups:


Covid-19 and museums: the updated data

According to the weekly evolution of visitor numbers (only in catalan), Barcelona’s museums are on the road to recovery. In the week of 5 to 11 July, the figure rose above 27,000 visitors. This is undoubtedly still a far cry from the figure of over 64,000 visitors to those centres during the same period in 2019, but little by little, the curve is rising in a sustained way, marked here and there by peaks which correspond to open days.

Although it is true that since May, and especially since June, the number of foreign-national visitors has risen sharply (in just one month, the number of foreign visitors rose from 5,000 to 15,000), it is also true that the oscillations in the curve can mostly be explained by open days: the local public takes full advantage of them. This was especially clear during the celebration of Museum Night, on 15 May, an extraordinary open day which led to a rise in the number of visitors that week to 28,344, the highest figure of the year so far. Nearly 16,000 of those visitors were Barcelona residents (doubling the number of city residents who had visited museums the week before). A massive response which consolidated Museum Night and showed the interest it fosters in our city.

With the prospect of a fifth wave that may turn things around, it seems that the trend that started in May is being maintained for the moment: the number of foreign nationals is increasing, free admission continues to have a considerable effect on the number of visitors (especially locals) and, all in all, the financial revenue from ticket sales is increasing significantly. This is therefore good news for the city’s museums: the recovery continues.

New Covid-19 and Culture section

The website of the Cultural Data Observatory has opened a new Covid-19 data section* in order to monitor the recovery of cultural activity in the city

* Only available in the Catalan version of this website

Museums were one of the first sectors to be analysed, but data was also compiled on the activity of local centres, such as libraries and civic centres, basic facilities for culture in the various areas of the city.

The Barcelona Social Pact was presented on Friday 4 June. As a preliminary phase of this project, a report was produced, featuring a diagnosis of the state of culture in the city (you can see the report at this link). However, the Covid-19 crisis marked a turning point for this diagnosis, and consequently, the various political forces taking part proposed that the work should continue, in order to systematically analyse the evolution of the situation. It is in this context that, in order to present all of this information, you will find a specific Covid-19 section on this website, making it possible to follow the effects of this health crisis on various sectors.

In recent months, the Cultural Data Observatory has been working on two lines: to determine which cultural-activity data could be monitored continually and to monitor it; and to be able to repeat some of the analysis that was initially carried out in the diagnosis, and examine its evolution in 2021.

Museums were one of the first sectors to be analysed. It is important to highlight that, for the first time, the visitors to a large number of centres have been monitored on a weekly basis, and this information has made it possible to monitor the sector’s evolution in real time.


An analysis that goes beyond the figures

The analysis of the museum sector, compiled in the indicators, includes data concerning origin: the number of foreign nationals who visit the museums. This is not only relevant data for the analysis of visitors but also an indirect indicator of the number of tourists arriving in our city.

Another data set refers to the activity of local centres: libraries and civic centres, which are basic facilities for culture in the city’s various areas. In this case, the data are monthly, but they make it possible to see how these centres maintained their efforts to remain in contact with people at all times.

Finally, the data from the new Citizen Culture Office (OCCU) express the change that occurred in the cultural information office in the middle of La Rambla, which is mostly dedicated to tourists. With the onset of the health crisis, it turned its attention to providing support for the cultural network and city residents interested in creating culture.