Foment Martinenc, a not-for-profit association that now organises cultural and leisure activities for children, young people and adults, was founded in 1878 by working-class people in Sant Martí de Provençals area. During the period of the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939), the association extended its activities to become a reference for less well-to-do sectors in the neighbourhood. The present headquarters occupies the site where the original building stood.
Foment Martinenc, created at the initiative of artisans and workers with heightened social awareness, sought to offer instruction and knowledge to the residents of Sant Martí de Provençals, then an independent and predominantly working-class municipality which was not incorporated into Barcelona until 1897. The organisation also offered its members a space for recreation and culture with theatre performances, literary events and dance sessions in a designated hall.
The association remained on the sidelines of politics until 1931 on the proclamation of the Second Republic, when it afforded its explicit support to the government. Foment Martinenc then became something more than a place of instruction and social interaction. It also became a place for spreading the Catalan language (Catalan was the official language of the association), culture and traditions, as well as social awareness. During the time of the Republic, Foment Martinenc became a point of reference for the neighbourhood’s working class sectors in light of its social role and the large number of activities it carried out, expanding its organisation of courses, lectures, concerts and plays.
Within the organisation, women’s participation was promoted for the first time – which until then had not been members – and in 1935 the Women’s Section was created, who would go on to exercise full rights with the association’s structure a year later. As of 1936, the enrolment of members was regularised. Today, the Women’s Section continues to be one of the pillars of the organisation.
During the Spanish Civil War, Foment Martinenc became one of the targets of the different political parties and trade unions in an endeavour to influence its social mass; however, its openness to all viewpoints and non-belligerent stance prevented the association from being identified with any particular group, despite its working class and progressive nature.
Address: 591-593, Carrer de Provença || Coordinates: (LAT, LONG): 41.410421281, 2.182655017