Institut Ramon LLull

Catalan language and culture, more globally influential than ever


2023 was an exceptional year for the participation of Catalan language and culture in international scenarios, as evidenced by an increase in activity in all areas of the Ramon Llull Institute.

Throughout 2023, the presence of Catalan language and culture on the international scene grew, increasing activities in all areas of the Ramon Llull Institute. Noteworthy achievements include a significant increase in support for translation, participation in more literary fairs, the promotion of Catalan studies abroad with relevant activities, such as the establishment of a new chair at New York University (NYU), a Centre for Catalan Studies in Siena, a firm commitment to Catalan talent with an increase in artistic performances around the world, and the promotion of creative activities through a new residency programme.

According to Pere Almeda, Director of the Ramon Llull Institute, “with the support of the Department of Culture and in line with reaching 2% in Culture, we were able to work with a larger budget than ever and this allowed us to carry out more activities in all areas than in previous years. As an example, I would like to point out the growing number of translations of Catalan literature and, especially, the impact and significance of our writers, who generate a great deal of interest and are published by some of the leading international publishing houses.”


The IRL promoted Catalan literature abroad by supporting the translation of works in Catalan into other languages and maintaining a constant presence at international fairs and festivals. The Literature Department experienced remarkable growth in applications for all its grants (translation, illustrated work, and promotion), with a total of 422 grants awarded, 37% more than the previous year.

139 grants were awarded for the translation of original literary and intellectual works in Catalan and Occitan into other languages, 8% more than in 2022, consolidating the translation of children's and young people's literature with writers such as Care Santos, Jaume Copons or Anna Manso; classic heritage authors such as Montserrat Roig, Ramon Llull, JV Foix, Mercè Rodoreda, or Víctor Català; and authors of modern and contemporary poetry such as Mireia Calafell, Maria Mercè Marçal, or Joan Todó, among many others. The most translated languages were once more Spanish, English, French and Italian.

There was a firm commitment to illustrated work and comics. A total of 135 grants were awarded in these genres, 48% more than in 2022. The commitment to consolidating graphic novels will continue in 2024, and for the first time ever, the IRL will have its own stand at the Angoulême Comic Festival in France.

In 2023, the IRL was present at twelve international literary fairs: the Montreuil Book Fair (France), the Angoulême Comics Festival (France), the Bologna Children's Book Fair (Italy), the Seattle AWP Book Fair (United States), the London Book Fair (United Kingdom), the Poetry Market (France), the Turin Book Fair, the Gothenburg Book Fair (Sweden), the Frankfurt Book Fair (Germany), the Brooklyn Book Fair (United States), the Guadalajara Book Fair (Mexico) and, for the first time, it participated in the Sharjah International Book Fair (United Arab Emirates). In 2024, it will add new milestones in North Africa and Asia.

A special mention should be made of the fact that one year after Spotlight 2022, which focused on Catalan literature and culture as part of the London Book Fair, Eva Baltasar was nominated for the prestigious International Booker Prize and there was unprecedented interest in the English-speaking literary field in Miquel de Palol's The Garden of Seven Twilights. It is also noteworthy that Spain and Barcelona will be official guests of the Guadalajara Book Fair in the 2024 and 2025 editions, providing an ideal platform for the reception of Catalan literature in Latin America in the coming two years.

In 2023, there were 11 literary residencies, 40% more than in previous years. This is a future strategic line that will be reflected in the framework of the institution's new residency program. In this regard, a residency featuring Irene Solà will be held in May 2024 at Faberllull Olot, where editors from around the globe will come together to share their experience of translating the Catalan author into their own languages.

Additional priorities in the context of literature for 2024 will involve strengthening support for translating poetry, text-based theatre, and classics through targeted programmes and plans, as well as devising a strategy to foster new opportunities in Nordic countries and the Arab world.


The IRL promotes the study of the Catalan language abroad and in 2023, through the training provided by the teachers of the Llull Network (totalling 27,632 teaching hours), 4,709 students of various levels were instructed in the Catalan language, including specific studies of linguistics, culture, literature and translation, 17% more than in previous years.

Currently 130 universities around the world teach Catalan studies, of which 90 receive direct support from the IRL. The Institute wishes to continue expanding this network, prioritising strategic countries that currently offer limited or no Catalan studies, especially in Europe and Latin America.

One of the IRL’s objectives is to link Catalan studies with professional opportunities. This has enabled 130 students of Catalan abroad to take part in specialised conferences and seminars focused on the application of Catalan in diverse academic and artistic contexts. One of the year’s new features was the well-received audiovisual subtitling seminar, which will be held again in 2024.

160 Catalan teachers who give lessons abroad also received complementary and specialised training. This year, 80 Catalan teachers from foreign universities met in Valencia at the International Conferences for Catalan Teachers that the IRL organises annually as an event for training teachers and updating teaching tools and resources, and also as a meeting point for the exchange of teaching experiences. From 2003 to the present, over 1,600 teachers have participated in language and cultural training programmes in Mallorca, Andorra and Catalonia.

The IRL also promotes and supports the organisation of academic and cultural activities (conferences, seminars, concerts, cultural weeks, etc.) in universities abroad to increase the visibility and impact of Catalan studies and to raise awareness of Catalan language and culture. In 2023, 84 activities were conducted, a 5% increase over the previous year. This upward trend is expected to continue, as it is one of the Institute’s strategic objectives.

Regarding the appointment of teachers, there were 2 calls in 2023: one in April for 20 universities, receiving 86 applications, and another in December for 9 universities, receiving a total of 66 applications, following the trend of previous years.

This year the IRL has established a new chair at New York University (NYU). With this one, there are now 7 chairs in the Llull Network and it should be noted that the Chair of Catalan Culture of the University of Havana and the Mercè Rodoreda Chair of the City University of New York celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2023. The IRL has also continued to consolidate research programmes, opening a new Centre for Catalan Studies in Siena, the first in Italy. Pere Almeda asserts that "chair programmes and study centres enable us to present our culture in all its facets at renowned universities and provide opportunities for the Catalan academic world to strengthen its research networks."

Furthermore, 1,139 students took part in the Catalan certification exams abroad, in line with the pattern observed in recent years.


Catalan talent is more internationally present than ever before. The Performing and Visual Area experienced growth in all its disciplines with 3,523 artistic performances around the world, an increase of 21% over 2022.

The IRL continued to collaborate with international venues and festivals where it facilitated the outstanding participation of Catalan and Balearic artists, such as the Exit festival and the Cratère Surfaces festival of performing arts in France, which programmed eleven and five companies, respectively; or the Lithuanian festival Contempo de Kaunas with 4 companies. It also focussed on prospecting and presence in South America in festivals such as Santiago OFF, Temporada Alta in Ibero-America or Teatro a Mil.

The Institute also supported international tours of projects such as UBU, a production of Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art of Palma with Successió Miró directed by Robert Wilson performed in Germany and France, and The Pulse. Gravity & Other Myths, a contemporary circus show that opened the Grec Festival de Barcelona and in which over 30 members of the Choir of Girls of the Orfeó Català took part. The production toured Montreal, Galway and Graz.

During 2023, the IRL promoted residencies of Catalan artists in internationally renowned centres in collaboration with Catalan institutions. This is the case of La Chartreuse in Villeneuve les Avignon (France) with the Tantarantana; Playco in New York (United States) with the Sala Beckett, various programmes with the Mercat de les flors or the Hivernem programme with Fira Tàrrega. With the Institut del Teatre de Barcelona, the Institute co-organised Catalonia's participation in the Prague Scenography Quadrennial, where Crop, an installation by Albert Pascual, Carlota Ricart and Raquel Cors won the organisation’s Art Prize for the most socially sensitive installation.

In terms of visual arts, Following the Fish, the exhibition curated by Leve with the collaboration of Top Manta, was the most visited of the six exhibits presented by the Ramon Llull Institute at the Venice Architecture Biennale, with a total of 26,674 visitors. In 2024, Catalan culture will return to the Italian city with the Bestiari project by the artist Carlos Casas curated by Filipa Ramos, which will be part of the 60th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, which can be visited from April 20 to November 24.

The Institute co-organised Catalan participation in some of the most prestigious biennials and festivals on the international scene, such as BIENALSUR 2023 (with Jordi Colomer, Antoni Muntadas, Joan Fontcuberta, Marc Vilanova), the 35th Sao Paulo Biennial (with Jorge Ribalta), the XVI Cuenca Biennial (with Max de Esteban and Marcelo Expósito) and the 36th transmediale (with Joana Moll). It also helped Catalan creations play a leading role in prestigious institutions such as the Daniel Steegmann Mangrané exhibition in Kiasma (Helsinki), which received over 140,000 visitors (and can currently be visited at the Macba), or the celebration of the Tàpies Year in Bozar (Brussels).

Following in the field of visual arts, one of the most outstanding projects of next year will be Manifesta 2024, the influential international exhibition of contemporary art that is held in a different European city every two years and that will be in Barcelona and 11 cities in the metropolitan area from September 8 to November 24. The IRL is on the organising committee.

As for music, New York was the epicentre of a programme organised directly by the IRL or co-organised with local cultural actors, such as concerts by Joan Manen and the tribute to Alícia de Larrocha, or the two successful performances at the Carnegie Hall by Albert Guinovart and the Franz Schubert Filharmonia. Moreover, contemporary music made its presence felt in summer programmes and open-air performances at the Lincoln Center La Sra.Tomasa, and at Summerstage in Central Park, where Queralt Lahoz, Marala, Lia Kali and Dj Trapella dazzled the audience. Still in America, the MUTEK MX Festival (Mexico), aimed at artists and audiences attentive to the world of digital culture, programmed for the first time five multidisciplinary artists under the title #FrenteCatalán: Shoeg, Torta Relena, Marina Herlop, Alba G. Corral and Albert Barqué-Duran.

Also noteworthy are the collaborations with European music broadcasting networks such as Jazz I Am, Liveurope and the European Forum of Worldwide Festivals, which made it possible to hold 37 concerts in 15 halls and 2 leading festivals. In addition, the IRL has promoted six international residencies involving Catalan musicians with local artists in Quebec, Nairobi, Lisbon, Seoul and Amsterdam.

In the field of cinema, Catalan creation has established itself on the international scene thanks to awards such as the Golden Bear at the Berlinale for Alcarràs, by Carla Simón, or the Best European Film Award in the Directors' Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival for Creature by Elena Martin. Festivals become a showcase that not only showcases the creativity but also consolidates its prestige. In this way, the possibility of specifically focussing on Catalan programming strengthens the scope of productions, generates dialogue and promotes creative exchanges. In this sense, in 2023 the participation of Catalonia as a guest of honour at the 31st edition of the Raindance Film Festival in London was co-organised with Catalan Films (ICEC), and a careful selection of Catalan titles and professional activities was presented, and where Upon entry, by Juan Sebastián Vásquez and Alejandro Rojas, won the Discovery Award. The organisation of Catalan film festivals or exhibitions abroad will continue to be one of the IRL's priorities, such as the celebration of the Catalan Film Festival in Scotland in March 2024.

The IRL has also co-organised international events with local institutions such as the Catalan Film Academy. In this sense, the Gaudí Cycle has crossed borders and been projected in France and Mexico. The Institute is determined to keep working towards the internationalisation of this programme in the upcoming years, and its expansion to Chile, the United Kingdom and Germany has already been confirmed for 2024. Additionally, the exhibition will be extended to Mexico.

The IRL has also encouraged other formats that give a deeper view of a particular theme or filmmaker. Last year, a retrospective of Albert Serra was co-organised at the FICUNAM film festival (Mexico City) and was very well received. A format that the IRL wants to promote in the future.


Finally, the IRL has taken a step forward in its commitment to promoting the internationalisation of contemporary creation through the new artistic residency programme, which includes the first call for grants for international residency programmes in the performing arts, cinema, music, design and architecture.

In the 2023 Faberllull Olot, the residency managed by the Ramon Llull Institute with the collaboration of the City of Olot hosted 216 professionals from 33 countries through 13 thematic residencies. Faber Andorra, the individual residency programme supported by the Government of Andorra and the Institut Ramon Llull, hosted 6 professionals from 5 countries.

Faberllull Olot will start the year with twelve individual residencies, in January, with professionals from all over the world from different disciplines, and in February it will host the Hackathon. Film residency for young talents that aims to foster emerging voices in the audiovisual sector that are in the process of turning professional, through training, and by promoting creation and production.

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