19 November 2014

What is the Blanquerna Observatory?

The Blanquerna Observatory on Media, Religion and Culture is an interdisciplinary space for research and dissemination of activities in the field that links communication with the religious phenomenon. Since its creation in February 2013, the Observatory has been monitoring trends in interreligious and intercultural dialogue, freedom of religion and conscience, the presence of religion in the media and especially in new technologies, and the link between popular culture and the spiritual and social aspects of today’s world.

The Observatory is an incubator for educational, socio-economic and research initiatives. In the year 2012, the first post-graduate course in Institutional Communication and Religion in the Digital Age was created with the intention of training professionals to improve the communication and image of ecclesiastical entities, to learn about religion and its involvement with the media, and to identify the keys to corporate communication and apply them to the religious environment. In 2022, the First International Congress on Religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience was held within the framework of the Blanquerna Chair on Religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience, with the participation of more than ninety experts from twenty-nine countries; the second edition of the Congress has taken place in 2024 and it hosted a hundred people from twenty countries.

The Blanquerna Observatory’s efforts to include the religious aspect in social cohesion, freedom of expression and the naturalisation of the religious fact in increasingly complex societies have gone hand in hand with several local, national and European projects. The project ‘Religion in the Shaping of European Cultural Identity (*RISECI)’ created a platform for interdisciplinary and cultural dialogue on the heritage of religion in European identity, its role in the European public space and in the construction of its identity(ies); The project ‘The Efficiency of Interreligious Dialogue as a Tool for Religious Freedom in Catalonia (DialoCat)’ identifies interreligious and interconfessional dialogue initiatives in Catalonia and analyses them in terms of their impact on the respect, promotion and guarantee of the right to religious freedom; and the project ‘Humanitarian Corridors Integration Pathways (HUMcore)’ aims to offer people in situations of particular danger or suffering a safe and legal transfer to their place of residence, promoting social inclusion based on a network of solidarity; among others. The Observatory’s mission is to analyse the religious fact and its presence in the public space, especially its impact on communication, all from a multidisciplinary perspective and with an international projection.