The Eye


Jan 22, 2016 Photo: Josep Losada

What to do with the Born cultural centre?

This year promises to be crucial to the success of the sovereignty process, while at the same time it is 300 years since the Nueva Planta decree was issued by King Felipe V, in which Catalonia lost its ancestral rights. So, it is fitting that El Born Centre Cultura is back in the news, given that the site commemorates the fall of Barcelona to Felipe V's troops in 1714, which led to the Nueva Planta decree. The cultural centre has had a chequered history, plagued by controversy and criticism, which makes its continued existence something of a feat in itself.

Yet, from the start there have been question marks hanging over its purpose, and the city council has decided to review its use. Promising that the results of the “rethink” over how the centre should be developed will be made public some time this month, Berta Sureda, who heads Barcelona council's culture department, said: “We need a coherent conceptual line through good exhibitions, the connection with the public and with certain sectors involved, such as the academic community.”

We will see how the council decides to reorient the focus of the centre, but one thing we already know can only be welcomed as good news. As can be seen in this image, the archaeological remains that form the centrepiece of the centre are spectacular, historically vital and superbly presented. Whatever happens, we can rest assured that this flashback to the past will not disappear: “The permanent display will be absolutely respected,” vowed Sureda. That, at least, is news to applaud.

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