Barcelona Cultura
Who’s afraid of data?

In the sphere of culture, voices are often raised which question the quantitative data that are gathered, reproaching the possible reductionism involved in the analysis of culture on the basis of figures when more qualitative contents are not taken into account. This is a sphere in which neither analyses nor interpretations may be made without considering contents, expressions, formats, settings, etc.

But we need not necessarily avoid quantitative data in culture. What do these data allow us to do? To begin with, they let us count things, put them in order, classify, aggregate and compare them, and so on. Likewise, they allow us to explain, highlight, communicate and, ultimately, generate and share knowledge, which is one of the goals of the Observatori de Dades Culturals de Barcelona (Barcelona Cultural Data Observatory).

In sectors of cultural activity like the museums or the theatre ones, it is common to speak of such data as those regarding visitors or spectators. It is not so common, however, to speak of loans of art works, of how many pieces form part of museum collections or, more recently, of the aspects explaining the activity of civic centres or spaces for creation.

Of course, first it is necessary to define the goals, characteristics or contents to be surveyed, but the description of situations in terms of figures allows us to approach them from different dimensions. We can group centres which are similar in certain ways and analyse the characteristics which they have in common, produce historical series of various types of data and follow the development of a variable over time, etc.

We invite you to visit our website where you will find the data which the technical experts and the people in charge of the various facilities and activities have submitted to us so that we can understand what is done precisely in the facilities which they run or in the activities which they hold, and how it is done. Our aim is to provide content for the data, to not be afraid of data and, between us all, to improve our knowledge of our city’s culture. If you’d like to help us, we stand at your disposal to add, modify, analyse or interpret in new ways the data which we gather, or to provide information on other activities which are not currently considered here.