On Tuesday next, 18 February, the University of Manchester will be hosting a new Seminar on Barcelona FC and Catalan culture. It will coincide with the Champions match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City in the evening. The event comes under the agreement signed in September 2012 between the club and the Institut Ramon Llull to promote Catalan culture in the world. Similar seminars have been held at the universities of Glasgow, Paris 3 Nouvelle Sorbonne and Amsterdam.
Tuesday’s seminar will begin at 10.00, when the deputy principal and dean of the Humanities Faculty, Keith Brown, will welcome the guests with the director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Àlex Susanna. Next, the vice-president of the Barcelona FC Institutional and International Department, Carles Vilarrubí, will deliver the lecture “Barça, Sport, Culture and Education”. He will explain how the club is a vehicle for the recovery of Catalan identity and an instrument for the integration of newcomers. And that the club’s values are teamwork, effort, respect, humility and tolerance. Then the Costa Brava-Pirineu Tourist Board from Girona will be laying on a sampling of Catalan produce.
At 12.00, Dr Louise Johnson, director of Catalan studies at the University of Sheffield, will deliver the lecture “Sporting Culture and national consciousness through football and the Olympic Games”. When the talk ends at 13.00 there will be a concert given by Clara Sanabras, accompanied by Harvey Brough and Antonio Romero. To close the seminar there will be a Catalan language beginners class given by Adrià Castells, lecturer in Catalan language and culture at the University of Manchester.
All in all, a good example of the task performed by the Institut Ramon Llull in the international dissemination of Catalan culture in the three branches it works in: universities, literature and creation. At the University of Manchester, an international reference, courses in Catalan language and culture have been given for 25 years. The lecturer in charge of the courses, Adrià Castells, has been chosen twice as the best foreign language teacher in the Humanities Faculty. In recent years the number of hours and the degree of specialisation of the classes has gradually increased. In addition to dealing with linguistic aspects they introduce contemporary issues linked to Catalan culture, such as the subject Barcelona City Image.
As a lead-up to the seminar, on Monday there will be a presentation of Catalonia as a tourist destination, organised jointly by FC Barcelona and the Catalan Tourist Agency.
The aim of the agreement signed in 2012 by the IRL and FC Barcelona is to coordinate the potential of both institutions as ambassadors of Catalan language and culture and the cultural values linked to sport and Catalanness. 150 universities all over the world are now offering Catalan studies.
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