Pedro Olalla. Foto: Albert Armengol

Pedro Olalla likes to stroll around the places in Athens where concepts like citizenship and participation were forged, not to retrieve them like fossils, but to remind us what our worn-out democracy could be like and isn’t. The Hellenist returned to Barcelona in May to present his latest work: a reflection on old age and the aging society.

Foto: Albert Armengol

The ecofeminist activist Vandana Shiva, who visited Barcelona in January, suggests changing our current mental framework –oriented towards dominating the Earth– for another based on life and respect for biodiversity.

Foto: Albert Armengol

The second debate in the series organised by Barcelona en Comú under the general title ‘Dret i defensa del Comú’ (‘The Law and Defence of the Commons’) brought together during the month of November the acclaimed activist Naomi Klein, author of a damning account of ‘shock doctrine’, and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Foto: Albert Armengol

For the Kenyan novelist and essayist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, language is the custodian of identity and a tool to be used against colonial domination. On the publication of several of his books in Catalan and Spanish translations, the Catalan PEN Club invited him to the CCCB to speak on writing and emancipation.

Foto: Albert Armengol

Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation at University College London, has carved out a significant niche for herself in academic circles by debunking the big ideological myths surrounding private enterprise. In April, she was a guest speaker at the CCCB’s lecture series on the impact of information technologies on the economy and on democracy.

Foto: Pere Virgili

Loretta Napoleoni, one of the world’s leading experts on terrorism, believes that Islamic State is here to stay and that we have no option but to negotiate on a political level. In October, this analyst took part in the lecture series “D.O. Europa” at El Born.

Philip Hoare. Photo: Miquel Taverna / CCCB

Hoare, once part of London’s punk scene and author of The Sea Inside, has found two channels for expression outside music: literature and the sea, with freedom as the common denominator. He gave a talk at the CCCB in September.

Foto: Dani Morell.

From Minsk to Barcelona

Francesc Serés

Svetlána Alexiévich’s stories remind us of the need to talk about what we are most familiar with, whether that is Barcelona or the Soviet Union, the women and children the Belarusian writer has interviewed for her books or the people going down the Via Laietana.