Barcelona, a city famous for its sandy beaches, for its quirky architecture, for its sunny skies and for its multitude of famous landmarks. It’s no surprise that people from around the globe are pouring into Barcelona to find work and create a life for themselves. The Ajuntament de Barcelona releases annual reports on exactly how many foreigners are living in Barcelona; as of 2016, 267,790 internationals live in Barcelona; that’s a big 16.6% of the entire population of Barcelona. Why is this important? Because it is this mix of cultures, languages, perspectives, ways of being and perhaps a few glasses of sangria that create the melting pot of ideas and movements that are happening in Barcelona right now.
I want to take you on a journey through 4 major movements happening in Barcelona as we speak; The Maker Movement, The Tech Movement,The Catalan Independence Movement and The Sustainable Fashion Movement.
The Maker Movement
With the architectural and design roots that have woven themselves through every street, park and cobbled alleyway of Barcelona, it should come as no surprise that there is a creative, hands-on movement occurring in Barcelona; they call it The Maker Movement.
The Maker Movement rose in response to the shrinking of the practical arts and the disconnect between people and the things they use in everyday life. The movement is trying to encourage more people to engage in the DIY (do-it-yourself) culture that is so needed in our world today.
The Maker Movement is happening internationally, and Barcelona over the years has been a proud host of some of the major Maker Movement events. In 2007 Barcelona hosted the first European Fab Lab Network (Fab Lab is a research organisation that explores the area of Digital Fabrication), in 2014 it hosted the 10th International Fab Lab Conference and the Maker Faire Barcelona 2018 marks the city’s 5th Maker Faire, an event that aims to bring together Barcelona’s creative and innovation communities.
Barcelona boasts an extensive range of maker hubs including; MOB BLN, MOB PAU, MADE Makerspace, TransfoLAB BCN along with an impressive number of arts and crafts studios, including ceramic hub ElTorn Barcelona, Rosas Crafts and Lantoki. So if you want to get your hands dirty, explore your creative side or simply want to learn more about others’ projects, head down to any of these spots to check out what’s going on.
The Tech Movement
The is a major tech movement happening in Barcelona and it has been gaining momentum over the last few years. The city currently has over 1200 startups, employing 11,700 people and in Atomico‘s third annual report on the Technological Panorama in Europe, Barcelona is found to be the third city preferred by entrepreneurs to create a new startup, following closely behind London and Berlin. In the first quarter of 2017, Barcelona’s startups closed the highest number of deals since 2014, with 72 startups raising funding.
So what are some of the major startups that have come out of Barcelona?
Glovo is one of Barcelona’s most successful startups. Glovo is a delivery app and it promises to deliver the best products of your city within 1 hour. Unsurprisingly, many people use Glovo to deliver food (I’m sure I’m not the only one) but Glovo can also deliver things like electronics and pharmaceuticals. What is the cause of the tech movement in Barcelona? Check out our article that delves more deeply into the causes of the thriving tech industry in Barcelona but to summarise; there are two major causes: the lifestyle Barcelona has to offer and the planning by the city decades ago in order to precisely bring about the current effect.
The Catalan Independence Movement
Unless you have been living under a rock you will have heard, watched or read about the independence movement happening across Cataluñya at the moment. The movement is complex with many different facets but I’m going to summarise it in a nutshell.
The movement’s primary goal is to gain independence of Cataluñya from Spain. The movement is actually not in fact a new movement; it began in 1922 when Francesc Macia founded the political party Estat Catala. However, up until recently, the movement has been focused on autonomy rather than independence.
The modern independence movement began 8 years ago in 2010 when The Constitutional Court of Spain ruled that some of the 2006 articles of Statute of Autonomy were unconstitutional.
Jump forward to October 2017, Carles Puigdemont announced a referendum on independence to be held on October 1st 2017.The results showed 90% of Catalonians were in favour of independence. On October 27th 2017, the Catalan Parliament voted in secret and approved a resolution declaring independence from Spain. This caused the trigger of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution and the Catalan government were dismissed and direct rule was imposed over Catalunya by the central government in Madrid.
The movement continues to push towards independence despite the presence of strong unionist movements against it.
This movement is happening globally but it is particularly taking off in Barcelona. Barcelona is seeing a range of movements under the sustainability umbrella, including; sustainable fashion, sustainable eating, sustainable swimwear, the recycled use of almost everything, even sustainable hairdressing. Here are a few of the Barcelona based companies and initiatives leading the sustainability movement.
allSisters is a Barcelona based eco-friendly swimwear brand that uses the highest quality recycled fabrics to create its high-end swimsuits. Its primary goal is to create comfortable and fashionable swimsuits while respecting the environment throughout every stage of the production process. It is just about to launch its SS18 collection
Back to Eco
Back to Eco is a Barcelona based handbag and accessory brand using upcycling to create it products. Back to Eco uses upcycle jeans and other items to create beautiful new items. Its primary goal is to promote a circular economy and sustainable fashion.
D’un Comme Un Accord
D’un Comme un Accord is a shop that can be found in El Borne, Barcelona and it is host to a unique blend of services and items, including; a sustainable hairdressers, a fashion store and an art gallery. The hairdresser uses all natural and vegan products and the fashion items are all made using upcycled fabrics.
OMG BCN sell only products Made in Barcelona. All the items sold here are unique and one of a kind and all have avoided the international shipping that is hugely costly for the environment. Their products are always made by local designers and often using sustainable materials.
This list is certainly not exhaustive and there are plenty more sustainability focused projects in and around Barcelona; be sure to seek them out and show your support.
Barcelona is truly unique in its ability to host and support the political activism, environmentally conscious mindset and innovative industries that all take root in the city. Perhaps it’s something to do with the sun, even maybe the sangria, but there are collectives of people creating a movement everywhere you look in Barcelona. Whether you are into tech or more of a creative person, find the movement that connects with you here in Barcelona and run with it.