Coinciding with UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day, every third Thursday of November, philosophy returns to the streets of Barcelona: Barcelona Pensa is back. This festival, organised by the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Barcelona, will present a cultural proposal based on reflection and thought, under a marathon format, on 16 and 17 November. All activities are free and open to the general public.
The festival continues with the desire to take philosophy beyond the classroom and bring it closer to citizens, to promote "thinking as a fundamental tool for building a critical, participatory, open, tolerant and responsible society" that can respond to the challenges of today’s world. The cultural activities address various themes with innovative formats: radio, exhibitions, book presentations, fairs, philosophical cafés, concerts and activities for children and teenagers.
The co-director of the festival and lecturer of philosophy at the UB, José Diez, explains that "as it has always done, Pensa will focus on the present, such as war and peace, freedom and the ethical commitment of the press, feminism and the rights of other animals, but also on issues that have always interested philosophy, such as the good and happiness, self-knowledge and the limits of art". Lorena Fuster, co-director and lecturer of philosophy, is "satisfied to have reached almost ten editions, an important milestone that will be celebrated next year with many surprises".
War and the journalistic storytelling, at the heart of this year’s issue
As always, the Festival will focus on the present. The main lecture will be given by Emilia Bea Pérez, philosopher of law, who will invite us to think against war through Jane Adams, Vera Brittain and Virginia Woolf.
War conflicts will also be present at the presentation of the Catalan edition of Colònia DMZ, a collective testimony of the effects of military violence and American imperialism on the civilians of the Korean peninsula. Its author, Don Mee Choi, will talk to the translators as part of the Festival.
On the other hand, journalism, which is crucial in the narration of war episodes, will be under the critical microscope at the roundtable "Journalism and ethical commitment". Philosopher Marcel Cano Soler and journalists Marta Ballesta Senabre and Xavier Giró Martí will debate the meaning of journalism in our society and the challenges faced by those who report the reality.
Journalism will also be discussed at the Philosophy Radio: philosopher Montserrat Crespín and journalist Noemí Polls will address press freedom, politics and the audiovisual media business.
The Faculty, for everyone
This year’s edition inaugurates the Research Fair, which will showcase the tasks of some of the research groups of the Faculty of Philosophy of the UB. This innovative activity will take place during the two days of the festival, and will be open to students of the faculty and anyone interested.
ICREA professor Josefa Toribio will be in charge of analysing the mechanisms of the unconscious in the conference "Controlem el que pensem? Els prejudicis i perjudicis del jo habitual".
On the other hand, lecturer Núria Sara Miras Boronat, will present her edition of Jane Addam’s Democracy and Social Ethics, as well as, together with Júlia Martín Badia, Privilege Walk. Una eina socioeducativa per reflexionar sobre gènere, capacitats i salut mental.
Children and teenagers
Just like every year on World Philosophy Day, the Faculty’s classrooms will be filled with primary and secondary school students. Invited by the Grup d’Innovació i Recerca per a l’Ensenyament de la Filosofia (IREF), they will reflect on happiness with the activities "Children think" and "Adolescents who meet to think".
Roundtables, cafés and breakfasts to discuss philosophy
It has become a tradition for the Festival to host a series of activities that seek to create spaces for discussion and joint reflection among its participants. This year, the Feminist Conversations will focus on the powers and limits of alliances between feminisms by Clara Serra, Bàrbara Ramajo and Laura Labiano.
On the other hand, Laura Fernández and Rocío Thovar invite us to have a philosophical coffee with "Animal(istic) political action". And the organisers of the Raval Philosophy Café, Jordi Alsina, Xavier Alsina and Jordi Beltran, will be reflecting on the body in "The body: am I or have I got?
Thursday will begin with the "Ephemerides" accompanied by a breakfast, which will commemorate the figure of Aristotle, the centenary of the death of Proust, the bicentenary of the death of Sophie de Grouchy and the centenary of the publication of the English version of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus logico-philosophicus. The event will feature Antoni Prevosti, Júlia Vernet, Valèria Gaillard and Sergi Oms, respectively, great connoisseurs of the works of these great names in the history of philosophy.
Theatre, cinema and music
Like philosophy itself, Barcelona Pensa would not be the same without a selection of artistic proposals. This year’s edition has something for everyone:
Poetry lovers will enjoy Charles Baudelaire, recited by actor Bernat Quintana in the act "Anywhere, outside the world".
The LAB36 art gallery invites film lovers to enjoy a guided tour of the exhibition "Space and experience in film" and a joint reflection with Judith Colell, Victoria Ioudina and Alan Kanjo.
Music will be present at the closing ceremony with a concert by the group Eleusis, made up, among others, of students from the Faculty of Philosophy.
The Barcelona City Council and the Barcelona Provincial Council are collaborating in this philosophy festival.