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Eva Nieto Mcavoy

Dr Eva Nieto Mcavoy

Research Associate

School of Journalism, Media and Culture

Two Central Square, Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a researcher of digital culture and media, with a focus on the politics of culture, memory and cultural diplomacy. My cross-disciplinary work is broadly framed by an interest in the dynamics between minoritized and (trans)national cultures, and between culture, power and technology.

While my initial focus was on exploring historical configurations of Spanish exiles working at the BBC world Service as cultural brokers between the UK, Spain and Latin America, my research has expanded comparatively and historically to encompass discourses and practices of contemporary culture, media and creative industries across borders.

At JOMEC, I research and teach digital cultures and media and the ways in which cultural institutions and museums adopt and operationalize digital strategies. I study the perceived value for different stakeholders of using immersive experiences, block-chain technologies, AI and machine learning, and social media. I have published on museums' 'digital pivot' during the Covid-19 pandemic, on the British Council's digital diplomacy campaign Shakespeare Lives, and on the relevance of the concept of soft power under the digital turn in international relations. I am particularly interested in the creative opportunities and ethical implications for users and 'produsers' of these technologies. We have recently published a discussion paper on crypto art.

Currently, the focus of my work with Dr Jenny Kidd is on the ethical implications of algorithmic memory work, particularly on social media networks (e.g. the MyHeritage app Deep Nostalgia). You can find our recent article published in Convergence here.

I was Co-Investigator of the 'COVID-19: Impacts on the cultural industries and implications for policy', researching the #Culture in Quarantine and #Museums at Home campaign on social media, as well as the impact of the pandemic on the Welsh screen sector.

I have also conducted research on media policies and ecosystems in other small nations, such as the Basque Country, and contributed to publications on the work and history of the BBC World Service, theorising it as a coorporate comopolitan space as well as a diasporic contact zone.

My work has benefitted from collaboration with industry, policy, and audiences (both on and off-line) through participatory action research frameworks. I worked for the ‘Arts, Culture and Public Service Broadcasting’ workstrand of the AHRC-funded Cultural Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) and on the Cultural Value Project, in partnership with the British Council, studying intercultural dialogue projects in Egypt and Ukraine. I am a co-creator of the Cultural Value Framework at the OU – a methodology that has been adopted by numerous international organisations as a tool of learning, monitoring and assessing cultural and public value.











Book sections



  • Digital culture and memory
  • Spanish culture and memory
  • (New) Media representations of culture
  • Minoritized cultures and memories
  • Cosmopolitanism and transnationalism
  • Cultural diplomacy and soft power
  • Public service broadcasting
  • Museums, archives and heritage
  • Exile, migration and diaspora
  • Arturo Barea
  • Cultural Value

Sitting at the intersection of cultural, diaspora and memory studies, my work looks at how minoritized culture, media and heritage practices inform negotiations of historical and contemporary attachments to (often conflicting) national, regional, diasporic and transnational identities. My initial focus was an exploration of the work of Spanish Civil War exiles in British media and cultural relations institutions as an exploration of cosmopolitanism and cultural brokering. Over time, my research has expanded comparatively and historically to encompass discourses and practices of contemporary (digital) culture, media and creative industries across borders.

I have studied media ecosystems in small nations, such as Wales and the Basque Country, intercultural dialogue projects in Egypt and Ukraine, and the work of (minoritized) cultural actors such as migrants and exiles in complex cultural and media settings and networks, often in organisations engaged in cultural diplomacy work at the intersection of the national and the transnational, including the BBC World Service and the British Council. This empirical research is the basis of more theoretical considerations and critiques of soft power strategies and related phenomena.  

For the Policy and Evidence Centre, my research with Dr Jenny Kidd has mostly focused on digital practices in museums, galleries and heritage sites, with a focus on the work of those at the sharp end of implementing them. We are currently conducting critical research into AI-enabled genealogy services, unpacking them as instances of ‘remediated memory’ shaped by corporate interests.

My work has benefitted from collaboration with industry, policy, and audiences (both on and off-line) through participatory action research frameworks. I am a co-creator of the Cultural Value Framework at the OU – a methodology that has been adopted by numerous international organisations as a tool of learning, monitoring and assessing cultural and public value.

Research projects:

  • Researcher on 'Review of the broadcasting powers and responsibilities in selected countries' [2022-present].

I research the media ecosystem of the Basque Country as part of a review of the broadcasting powers and responsibilities in the Basque Country, Canada, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland and Estonia. The research is based on an analysis of policy documents, industry data and academic literature published over the last 15 years from these countries and across European and international media policy domains.

'The impact of Covid-9 on the screen sector in Wales': The Covid19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the screen sector in Wales, further exposing major shortcomings in how policymakers understand, recognise and support the sector and its freelance labour. Based on a series of interviews with freelancers, production companies, PSBs and screen agencies, this study investigates the effect that the pandemic, lockdown and the subsequent support measures had on the screen sector in Wales. It does so by focusing on the challenges facing the workforce, as well as organisational approaches to lockdown, the emergency funding made available to film and TV professionals in Wales, and the polarisation in the sector.

'Museums and Galleries use of social media': This research explores the ways that cultural institutions used social media to continue engaging with the public during the Covid-19 lockdowns, offering them virtual access to their collections, performances and experiences. It is an quantitative and qualitative analysis of a six-week snapshot of Twitter activity from March-May 2020. We examined 9000 tweets associated with the hashtags #CultureInQuarantine and #MuseumAtHome. We asked what kind of content was gaining traction on social media, and what sort of ideas and values were being generated through digital engagement with cultural institutions. We found that there were two main categories for type of engagement; ‘art as a way of coping’ and ‘art as education’. Underpinning these themes was a strong sense that ‘place’ was important to audiences, and content that referenced local areas and communities was particularly resonant.

The report of the project can be found here: 'Culture in Crisis: impacts of Covid-19 on the UK cultural sector and where we go from here'. Centre for Culture Value. 2022.

'Crypto-Art in Museums, Galleries and Heritage': this research explores some of the key issues that are emerging in the Crypto-Art space, from the way in which the NFT market operates, how the technology is being used by cultural institutions and artists, to theoretical issues regarding aesthetics, value and ethics. This discussion paper is intended as a reference document and a guide for academics, and well as for those working for cultural institutions such as museums or galleries who want to find out more about how this technology can be applied to their work, as well as artists and researchers who are operating in this field.

'Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and cultural sector: British newspaper reporting of the Culture Recovery Fund': this study examined newspaper coverage of the impact of COVID-19 on the creative industries. It looks at the way in which some of the challenges that are particularly unique to the creative industries, such as the outsized impact of the pandemic on freelancers, are talked about in legacy media outlets. It examined whether some creative industries sub-sectors were given greater exposure than others, and how the government’s financial support for the creative industries was critiqued and communicated by the press. It used qualitative methodologies, primarily by analysing a database of newspaper articles, stories, opinion-pieces and editorials covering the period 1 January - 31 December 2020. We found that newspapers generally were overly reliant on government press releases during this period, at the expense of other voices that could challenge and critique the official line. When newspapers did cover people and issues relevant to the creative industries, they tended to focus on only a few sub-sectors, particularly cultural sectors like the performing arts. When creative and cultural institutions were mentioned in the press, they were more likely to be based in England, particularly in London.

'Implications of the COVID-19 digital ‘pivot’ in museums and galleries: lessons from practitioners': Based on a series of interviews held with the people working for museums and galleries who were responsible for producing digital content during the pandemic, this research looked at how museums and galleries experienced the ‘pivot to digital’. Among other questions, we wanted to find out how the pandemic has changed people’s approaches to digital engagement, whether they were engaging with audiences in new ways, and whether attitudes about the value of digital platforms had changed. We examined some of the lessons learnt by these organisations, and set out some best practice principles for the sector going forward. 

'Immersive experiences in museums, galleries and heritage sites: a review of research findings and issues': Interest in immersive experiences in museums and heritage sites has increased in recent years in response to challenges faced by the sector and the potential of emerging technologies. Arts and heritage institutions hope immersive experiences will lead to increased visibility and a culture of innovation, new audiences, more meaningful participation, better engagement, and additional revenue. But attempts to find straightforward connections between investment and outcomes have been inconclusive or resisted. This research looks at recent academic research into immersive experiences in museums, galleries and heritage sites, and highlights key debates, opportunities and challenges. It presents recommendations for arts and heritage organisations who are considering immersive approaches in their work, are interested in how audiences might respond, and want to know more about the challenges, as well as recommendations for funders and policymakers. 

  • Research Associate, EC-funded 'InfoMigrants', The Open University [2018-2019]

InfoMigrants (IM) is a collaboration led by three major European media sources: France Médias Monde (France 24, Radio France International, Monte Carlo Doualiya), the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, and the Italian press agency ANSA. InfoMigrants is co-financed by the European Union. IM is a website which informs migrants and refugees about the migration situation in countries of origin, transit and destination, while facilitating access to relevant, timely and accurate news and information in order to counter the erroneous information passed on by human traffickers. InfoMigrants is available in five languages: French, Arabic and English, Dari and Pashto. The Open University adapted the CVM to asses the value of the platform for different stakeholders. The strand of the project that I was involved with, evaluated the level and quality of user engagement with the website and its social media platforms. We conducted content analysis of the most popular articles on their Facebook pages in English, French, Arabic and Dari as well as analysing user comments. In doing so, we provided IM with qualitative ethnographically-informed insights into the relationship between their content and user's responses as well as into the nature and quality of the debate on migration.

The Cultural Value Project: Cultural Relations in 'Societies in Transition’ (2017-2018) was a collaboration between the Open University and The Hertie School of Governance, commissioned by the British Council and the Goethe-Institut, that explored the different features of the UK and Germany’s approaches to cultural relations in Egypt and Ukraine. The study provides evidence that cultural relations do generate value for all stakeholders involved in the foreign cultural relations organizations activities. It also sheds light on the conditions that would be favourable to reducing conflict, to training and promoting cultural brokers, to identifying and building future leaders, and to strengthening civil society. My work was particularly concerned with the role of local cultural brokers, who play a key role in managing various trade-offs and tensions: mediating social relations via their multilingual skills; brokering arrangements and agreements with different parties; exchanging knowledge and know-how; training peers in skills; and introducing technological innovation. In doing so, they build on and enhance their cultural and social capital, while contributing to a dialogue of cultures. Local cultural brokers are essential to good cultural relations, but their work mostly remains underappreciated and invisible.

I also led the literature review into cultural relations, which draws on a detailed investigation of the existing academic literature in German and English on cultural relations, soft power, cultural diplomacy and related concepts. We found that the term ‘cultural relations’ refers to interventions in foreign cultural arenas with the aim of enhancing intercultural dialogue and bringing about mutual benefits connected to security, stability and prosperity. There is no universally agreed definition of cultural relations. The conceptual confusion can lead to differences in practice, though it can also enable flexibility. Just as there is no common definition of cultural relations, there is no one correct approach to good cultural relations, or simple method of evaluating cultural relations. Practitioners face very different cultural and geopolitical contexts. Effective cultural relations necessarily involve flexibly adapting programmes in ways that resonate with these contexts

The British Council commissioned the Open University to develop an evaluation plan for Shakespeare Lives (SL) in 2016 based on the Cultural Value Model, a methodological tool devised by the Open University in collaboration with the British Council that offers an innovative and comprehensive approach to assessing the impact of the British Council’s Cultural Relations Programmes. I was involved in the multilingual research (Spanish) that analysed the British Council Shakespeare Lives social media campaign to promote the programme across the globe (in my case in Spanish-speaking countries, mostly in Latin America). Our findings demonstrate that audiences like to engage with activities that invite their participation in ways that reflect their knowledge of Shakespeare, allowing them to compare his works with their own national/local literary figures and to share ideas about universal themes. While the Twitter campaign garnered significant positive attention from members of the public around the globe, the soft power ambition to boost ‘Brand Britain’ did not appear to materialise. We concluded that dialogic forms of cultural diplomacy that stress the value of open cultural democracy, even if difficult to achieve in practice, are more likely to succeed.

  • PhD in Iberian and Latin American Studies. AHRC-funded, Birkbeck, University of London [2010-2017]

My thesis A Spaniard in Hertfordshire: the intellectual exile of Arturo Barea focuses on the role of Spanish Civil War Exiles as cultural brokers and intermediaries, particularly in cultural institutional settings at the intersection of the national and the transnational such as the BBC World Service, PEN international and the Congress for Cultural Freedom during the Second World War and Cold War. This work was underscored by an exploration of the importance of culture in brokering international relations; of the role of cultural workers within (cultural) institutional settings; of how artists and organisations negotiate their positions in the contexts of different national (cultural) policies, and of the role of these different actors, including the state, in (not) remembering and commemorating marginalized groups, such as migrants and exiles. 


I have taught as a lecturer, guest lecture, and seminar tutor at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture (Cardiff University) and at Birkbeck, University of London on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

  • Lecturer/Guest Lecturer: 'Digital Creativity' (MA) and 'Spanish Language and Culture' (BA)
  • Seminar Teacher: 'Critical Methods', 'Media, Globalisation and Culture', 'Understanding Journalism', 'Media and Gender', and 'Media Audiences'

Prior to returning to academia, I was a Secondary and Sixth-Form teacher of Spanish Language, Literature and Culture in Spain, with an interest in co-operative learning methods.


  • PhD in Iberian and Latin American Studies (AHRC-funded), Birkbeck, University of London, 2017
  • MA in The History of the Book, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2010
  • Experto (Post-graduate Degree) in Cooperative Learning, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain. 2008
  • Licenciatura (BA Hons) in Spanish Philology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. 2002

Honours and awards

  • 2020-2021: Co-Investigator, AHRC-funded project “COVID-19: Impacts on the cultural industries and implications for policy”, Centre for Culture Value, University of Leeds, UK
  • 2011-2015: AHRC Block Grant Partnership Studentship Award, Birkbeck, UK
  • 2014: AHRC International Placement Scheme at the Harry Ransom Centre, University of Texas at Austin, US
  • 2014: Visiting Research Fellowship at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change, The Open University, UK
  • 2013-2014: AHRC Research Training Support Grant
  • 2012: Visiting Research Fellowship, Department of Hispanic Studies, Brown University, US

Professional memberships

Member of Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland, Association of Internet Research, Memory Studies Association

Academic positions

  • 2022 - present: Research Associate “Public Service Broadcasting in the Basque Country”, JOMEC, Cardiff University
  • 2019-2022: Research Associate, “Arts, Culture and Public Service Broadcasting”, AHRC-funded Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre/Cardiff University
  • 2020-2021: Seminar Tutor in “Media, Globalisation and Culture”, School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Cardiff University
  • 2018-2019: Research Associate, EC-funded “InfoMigrants”, The Open University
  • 2017-2018: Research Fellow and Project Coordinator, British Council-funded “The Cultural Value Project: Cultural Relations in Societies in Transition”, The Open University
  • 2017: Translator/Subtitling (Spanish into English) films, Department of Languages, Cultures and Applied Linguistics, Birkbeck, University of London
  • 2016-2017: Research Assistant, British Council-funded “The Culture Value of Shakespeare Lives 2016”, The Open University
  • 2014-2015: Associate Tutor in Critical Methods, Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing, Birkbeck, University of London
  • 2014: Research Assistant, AHRC-funded “Cultural Value Project”, The Open University
  • 2010-2011: Lecturer in Spanish, Department of Languages, Cultures and Applied Linguistics, Birkbeck, University of London
  • 2008-2009: Lecturer in TEFL, ESIC Business School, Madrid.
  • 2004-2009: Secondary and Sixth Form Teacher of Spanish, Colegio Los Peñascales, Madrid.
  • 2002-2004: Primary Teacher, Colegio Liceo Sorolla, Madrid.
  • 2001: Teacher of Spanish as a Foreign Language and Translator, Bâloise, Madrid.

Committees and reviewing

  • Peer-reviewer for Convergance, Contemporary European History, Media History, International Journal of Cultural Policy

  • Scientific Committee of Revista Úrsula of Hispanic Studies

  • Reviewer/Moderator for the AHRC South, West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership


 I am currently available to supervise postgraduate research students in

  • Digital culture and memory
  • Spanish exile culture and memory
  • Spanish Civil War culture
  • (New) Media representations of culture
  • (Digital) Cultural diplomacy
  • Arturo Barea


My work benefits from (and I particularly enjoy) collaborating with others through participatory action research frameworks, inclkuding industry, policy, and publics (both on and off-line). I'd like to think that my work has also had a positive impact on those that I have partnered and worked with through my various projects. Here are some examples:

A Spaniard in Oxfordshire: the archive of Arturo and Ilsa Barea.

I partnered with the family of exile writers Ilsa and Arturo Barea, as well as with the Bodleian Libraries and the Instituto Cervantes to make an important repository of Spanish Civil War exile in Britain available to researches. The work included cataloguing their archive for its deposit at the Bodleian Libraries (2018). You can read about it here: An archive in exile: Arturo & Ilsa Barea.   I also curated several exhibitions with the material, including 'A Spaniard in Oxfordshire: Arturo and Ilsa Barea's papers come to the Bodleian'.  Archives, libraries, books and scrapbooks can help exiles keep links with their homeland, but can also ground them to their new homes. Arturo and Ilsa’s archive is testimony to this.This project was a much needed reminder of how Britain’s (often reluctant) hosting of European exiles resulted in the political, cultural and social contributions of exiles, migrans and diasporas to British culture and politics.

AHRC Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre and AHRC Centre for Cultural Value

I have engaged in public discussions on public service broadcasting and digital culture for the PEC and the CCV, centres that aim to bridging the gap between academic research on the one hand, and industry and policy-making on the other. This is a selection of blog posts for both institutions:

I have contributed submissions to official inquiries and consultations as part of different teams:

  • DCMS Committee – Cultural Placemaking and the Levelling Up Agenda. Submission from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, 18 February 2022.
  • Centre for Cultural Value and Culture Commons (2022) submission to the DCMS Select Committee enquiry: ‘Reimagining where we live: cultural placemaking and the levelling up agenda’”, 18 February 2022.
  • Promoting Britain abroad - Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Submission from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, 6 January 2022.
  • “A creative Recipe for Soft Power”. PEC’s submission to the unpublished Soft Power Strategy and the published Integrated Review, August 2020.
  • PEC/JOMEC Submission of written evidence to "The future of public service broadcasting”, House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Committee, July 2020.

Jenny Kidd and I also edited and contributed an introduction to Catherine Allen's excellent industry report “Beyond the early adopter: widening the appeal for virtual reality” on Limina Immersive’s experience of using creative technologies, particularly virtual reality, to reach new audiences. Our planned work with cultural insitutions and partners on immersive experiences was sadly cancelled due to Covid-19.

I co-created and worked for The Cultural Value Framework (CVF) at the OU. It is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary methodology that takes into account the interests and perspectives of a range of people and stakeholders involved in cultural activities. It offers a practice that can be owned by the participants and allow them to explore the meaning of their work and to look at impact over time. Its primary objective is to provide an analytical and methodological framework for re-conceiving models of evaluation. In particular, it shifts the frame of analysis away from impact to value. The CVF is a good example of Participatory Action Research which engages participants and partners actively in the entire process of project design, monitoring and evaluation. s an approach that incorporates publics as main cultural actors often at the intersection of consumers and producers, and at the centre of the activities of cultural organizations. An important goal is to understand reception, not just to evaluate organizations’ objectives understood as outcomes.