Dr Carla Figueira

Staff details

Position Director MA Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy | Director MA Tourism and Cultural Policy
Email c.figueira (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7553
Dr Carla Figueira

Carla Figueira, BA MA PhD FHEA FRSA, is an academic in the field of international cultural relations and cultural and linguistic policies. She is the Director of the MA in Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy and of the MA in Tourism and Cultural Policy at the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Carla is an international relations graduate of the Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (Portugal), she moved to London after a career in arts management. In the UK, she went on to gain an MA in Arts Management (City University, UK, Chevening Scholar) and a PhD in Cultural Policy and Management (City University, UK, Praxis XXI Scholar).

Carla is a member of ENCATC, the leading European network on Cultural Management and Cultural Policy education. She is a Chevening Alumna and Buddy.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD in Cultural Policy and Management (City University, UK, Praxis XXI Scholar)
  • MA in Arts Management (City University, UK, Chevening Scholar)
  • Bachelor’s degree (Licenciatura) in International Relations, with specialisation in Cultural and Political Relations (ISCSP, Lisbon, Portugal)

Teaching and Supervision

Research interests

Carla is interested in international cultural relations as a transdisciplinary field. She is also interested in the areas of cultural policy, cultural and creative industries, arts management and in language policy.

Her research interests encompass several academic disciplines, including international studies, history, cultural studies, sociology, linguistics and psychology. Keywords she has used to describe her work include: cultural diplomacy, cultural relations, sociolinguistics, language-spread policies, international cultural policy, international organisations, hegemony, soft power.

She is available to supervise PhD candidates that share her research interests.

Former PhD students include:

  • Dr Chun-Ying Wei "Taiwan's Cultural Diplomacy and Cultural Policy: A Case Study Focusing on Performing Arts: 1990-2014"
  • Dr Musa Igrek "Books as Cultural Diplomacy: A Case Study of the British Foreign Office's Information Research Department (IRD): 1948-1956"
  • Dr Evgeniya Kondrashina "Music from beyond the Curtain: Soviet Music Recordings and Cold War Cultural Relations, 1950-80"
  • Dr Kathrin Schmidt "Performing Salone – The impact of local and global flows on the aesthetics and ecology of contemporary Krio theatre in Sierra Leone"

Publications and research outputs


Figueira, Carla. 2013. Languages at War: External Language Spread Policies in Lusophone Africa: Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau at the Turn of the 21st Century. Peter Lang GmbH. ISBN 978-3631644362

Book Section

Figueira, Carla and Fisher, Rod. 2023. Challenges and Opportunities for Joined-Up Governance of EUropean International Cultural Relations. In: Chris Bailey; Elena Theodoulous Charalampous and Geert Drion, eds. Cultural Governance: Current and Future European Perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781032462004

Figueira, Carla and Fullman, Aimee. 2019. Rethinking Cultural Relations and Exchange in the Critical Zone. In: Victoria Durrer and Raphaela Henze, eds. Managing Culture: Reflecting on Exchange in our Global Times. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave, pp. 319-339. ISBN 9783030246457

Figueira, Carla. 2017. Cultural policy between and beyond nation-states: the case of Lusofonia and the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa. In: Victoria Durrer; Toby Miller and David O'Brien, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Global Cultural Policy. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 133-147. ISBN 9781138857827

Figueira, Carla and Hitchcock, Michael. 2016. Lusophone Gastrodiplomacy and Tourism: Macau and the BRICS. In: Ya-Nan Song and David Ritchie, eds. BRICS:Institutionalization & Macau. Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press, pp. 336-348. ISBN 9787509787137

Figueira, Carla. 2015. Cultural Diplomacy and the 2005 UNESCO Convention. In: Christiaan De Beukelaer; Miikka Pyykkönen and J P Singh, eds. Globalization, culture and development: the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137397621


Figueira, Carla. 2022. Opening Perspectives: Sustainability in Culture in External Relations. ENCATC Magazine(3), pp. 6-10.

Figueira, Carla. 2022. Sharing learning and teaching experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. /encatcSCHOLAR, ISSN 2466-6394

Figueira, Carla and Fullman, Aimee. 2021. Emergencies, Emergences, Engagement: Cultural Relations and Climate Action. Cultural Relations Collection,

Figueira, Carla. 2020. Indigenous Peoples as Non-State Diplomatic Actors in the Public/Cultural Diplomacy of Taiwan: A Case Study of Dispossessions: Performative Encounter(s) of Taiwanese Indigenous Contemporary Art. International Journal of Taiwan Studies, 3(1), pp. 62-92. ISSN 2468-8797

Figueira, Carla. 2018. You may say I am a dreamer. Alliance for Global Cultural Relations,

Figueira, Carla. 2017. Policy Perspective: A Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council: Towards an EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations (2016) by the European Commission. Cultural Trends, 26(1), pp. 81-85. ISSN 0954-8963

Figueira, Carla and Fullman, Aimee. 2016. The role of higher education in the professionalization and education of future leaders in international/external cultural relations. "Cultural Management Education in Risk Societies - Towards a Paradigm and Policy Shift?!” Conference Proceedings 2016, pp. 151-167.

Figueira, Carla. 2016. Would you vote for a Eurovision Brexit? The Conversation,

Figueira, Carla. 2015. Persuasion and power in the modern world (Review). Cultural Trends, 24(2), pp. 178-182. ISSN 0954-8963

Figueira, Carla. 2014. Cultural diplomacy and cultural imperialism: European perspective(s) (Review). International Journal of Cultural Policy, 20(4), pp. 513-515. ISSN 1028-6632

Conference or Workshop Item

Figueira, Carla and Persaud, Roxanne. 2023. 'Unconference as a pedagogical tool for 'decolonising’ teaching and curricula'. In: ENCATC Congress 2023. Helsinki, Finland 11 - 13 October 2023.

Cortes, Nuria and Figueira, Carla. 2022. 'Teaching practices under unexpected circumstances: using online tools during Covid-19'. In: 13th Annual ENCATC Education and Research Session. Antwerp, Belgium 17 October 2022.

Figueira, Carla; Wolther, Irving; Vieira Lopes, Sofia and Campêlo, Isabel. 2022. 'Party for everybody? Professionalism vs. professionalised amateurs in the Eurovision Song Contest'. In: RIPE@2022 Conference: Between the Fourth Estate and the Fifth Power. Vienna, Austria 18 – 21 September 2022.

Figueira, Carla. 2015. 'A cultura nas relações externas: reflexões sobre política e prática'. In: Seminário sobre Ação Cultural Externa. Portugal.


Figueira, Carla. 2018. Interview with Dr Carla Figueira - Dispossessions Opening Reporting at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Figueira, Carla; Edney, Kingsley; Wastnidge, Edward; Yablokov, Ilya and Grayson, Kyle. 2016. Soft Power in World Politics: discussion at the Political Studies Association 2016 conference in Brighton (22 March 2016).

Professional Activity

Figueira, Carla. 2021. Address to the European Parliament public hearing by the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education on the EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations.

Figueira, Carla. 2021. International Dimensions of the Creative and Cultural Sectors: Culture, Diplomacy and Branding.

Figueira, Carla and Fisher, Rod. 2021. Compendium of Cultural Policies in Europe - Country Expert for the UK (England & Wales).

Figueira, Carla; Ivo Franco, Pedro Affonso; Martins, Carlos; Henderson, Marisa; Silvander, Johanna; Quintana, Carolina; Maia, Laina; Muxito, Adelino and Fortez, Ingrid. 2020. Consultant for the EU - UNCTAD joint Programme for Angola Trade II: Creative Economy component.


Figueira, Carla; Vieira Lopes, Sofia; Wolther, Irving and Campêlo, Isabel. 2018 - ongoing EUROVISIONS: International Conference on the Eurovision Song Contest.

Figueira, Carla. 2017. Learn a Language: Find a Language Buddy at Goldsmiths.


Figueira, Carla; Ivo Franco, Pedro Affonso; Martins, Carlos; Fortez, Ingrid; Henderson, Marisa; Pegado, Gersy; Mendes, Cassandro; Maia, Laina; Bokor, Katalin; Muxito, Adelino; Silvander, Johanna; Simonini, Benedetta and Quintana, Carolina. 2023. Mapping the cultural and creative industries in Angola. Technical Report. United Nations, Geneva.

Figueira, Carla; Ivo Franco, Pedro Affonso; Martins, Carlos; Henderson, Marisa; Fortez, Ingrid; Maia, Laina; Bokor, Katalin; Mendes, Cassandro; Pegado, Gersy; Silvander, Johanna; Muxito, Adelino; Quintana, Carolina and Simonini, Benedetta. 2023. Mapeamento das indústrias culturais e criativas em Angola. Technical Report. United Nations, Geneva.

Figueira, Carla; Joffe, Avril; Perkins, James; Purushothaman, Venka; Smith, Sarah E.K.; Triebel, Odila and Villanueva, Cesar. 2023. ICRRA Policy Brief 2022: Culture in Security: International Cultural Relations as an Enabler of Peace through Engagement. Other. International Cultural Relations Research Alliance (ICRRA)/ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V.), Stuttgart.

Chitty, Nareen; Figueira, Carla; Joffe, Avril; Perkins, James and Triebel, Odila. 2022. ICRRA Policy Brief 2021: Cooperation in a fragmented world: International cultural relations at the crossroads of climate, health and political crisis. Technical Report. International Cultural Relations Research Alliance (ICRRA)/ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V.), Stuttgart.

Raj Isar, Yudhishthir; Fisher, Rod; Figueira, Carla; Helly, Damien; Schneider, Mirjam and Smits, Yolanda. 2014. Engaging The World: Towards Global Cultural Citizenship. Project Report. European Union.

Further profile content

Professional projects

Carla is a trustee of Arts Cabinet – Art and Enquiry (https://www.artscabinet.org/), a charity raising awareness of the critical state of cultural production through arts and culture exchange programmes that draw on challenges posed by global issues.

Carla is supportive of her former students and enjoys collaborating with them. In May 2018 she hosted Dispossessions: Performative Encounter(s) of Taiwanese Indigenous Contemporary Art with Biung Ismahasan, a Curator from the Bunun Nation – one of the sixteen officially recognised Indigenous peoples of Taiwan – who was one of her first students on the MA Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy. The event raised awareness of the largely overlooked work of Indigenous contemporary artists from non-Western countries in London. See: https://biungismahasan.weebly.com/dispossessions-exhibition-programme

Grants and awards

2018: Goldsmiths Student-Led Award for Challenging and Inspiring Teaching
This award recognises someone who encourages self learning, debate and critical thinking amongst students.

Consultancy work & other

In parallel with her teaching and researching academic career, Carla Figueira is a consultant in the area of cultural and language policy, the cultural and creative sectors, and cultural diplomacy. Carla is currently a UN consultant with UNCTAD working on the mapping and development of the cultural and creative industries in Angola. Previous consultancy work includes the EU project mapping the use of culture in external relations, informing the future EU strategy: Preparatory Action Culture in EU External Relations.

She is also an experienced arts manager, having worked, for almost a decade, for the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Lisbon, Portugal. Her last position there was Director of the Municipal Sound Library, heading a team of 13 staff. From 2009 to 2011, Carla was the Co-ordinator of the UK Committee of the European Cultural Foundation.

Carla is involved in different networks and platforms related to international cultural relations and cultural policy. Besides being a member of ENCATC’s Europe International group, through which she delivers annually cultural relations and diplomacy academies since 2012, Carla has close associations with other cultural policy and arts management networks worldwide: the Association of Arts Administration Educators; ANCER, the Asia Pacific’s Network for Cultural Education and Research; and the Taiwan Association of Cultural Policy Studies TACPS.

She is also a member of two networks interested in cultural diplomacy, which originated in the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council funded programme Translating Cultures: Understanding the Role of Cultural Products in Cultural Diplomacy and Diplomatic Cultures. She runs the JISCmail open listings International Cultural Relations Multidisciplinary Forum and Cultural Tourism and Policy Forum.