Before I can explain how the Ramon Llull Institute helps project Catalan culture abroad as well as our goals for the future, there are a few things I would like to share with you. First, the individual success of a Catalan artist or creator in any field of culture helps to forge a positive brand image for the whole of Catalan culture. Second, a positive brand image for Catalan culture adds value and gives greater visibility to each of the artists within this culture. Third, if Catalan culture has a positive brand image, built on quality, visibility and the excellent reputation of its artists and creators, this in turn helps create a positive brand image for the entire country, which has economic repercussions in fields like industry, tourism and services.
This is the work that our Institution does and will continue to do in the future, which is the same task that is shared by all of the world’s institutes that seek to project their respective cultures. We are instruments for projecting the work of our artists and creators – both past and present - of our heritage and our language. But we believe that with the combination of these individual and concrete projections we are helping create a positive brand image for all of Catalan culture. We also believe that this positive image will open doors to new and emerging artists. Exhibiting works by Miró, Dalí, Tàpies, Barceló or Gaudí; translating Rodoreda, Pla, Barbal, Porcel or Cabré; interpreting Montsalvatge; presenting Manel or Antònia Font at music festivals is not just exporting what they produce, it means we are opening doors to a greater public visibility of a culture. And this visibility will help other names, perhaps less well known ones, gain visibility. It is about taking advantage of our assets so that we can open doors to emerging artists. There is only one condition: a powerful culture that supports all of this, one made up of tradition and innovation, heritage and creativity.
This international projection has a cultural effect: it helps to circulate ideas, creativity, and makes a language and a culture more visible. But it also has certain economic effects, and not only in the cultural or knowledge-based industries. It affects the production of an entire country. Through culture we create an image of other countries. If culture manages to associate the image of a country with creativity, innovation, quality, good taste, a strong heritage, there are enormous benefits for that country’s industrial products, for its tourist offerings and for its professionals who have to compete in international markets. An institute for cultural projection like the Ramon Llull is therefore a good overall investment. It is good for culture. It is good for knowledge and for teaching, which is the best raw material for the future. But it is also a good investment when it comes to our brand image. A brand image is the umbrella that will protect us when we venture out into the stormy markets during a crisis. The bigger, more attractive and sturdier this umbrella is, the better we will be able to move about in the storm.
Director of the Institut Ramon Llull (organisation promoting Catalan language and culture internationally). Member of the Advisory Council of InTransit.