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Dr Eva Nieto McAvoy

Dr Eva Nieto McAvoy

Research Associate

School of Journalism, Media and Culture

Two Central Square, Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS


I am a Research Associate on the ‘Arts, Culture and Public Service Broadcasting’ workstrand of the AHRC-funded Cultural Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC).

As a cultural analyst and historian, my interdisciplinary research is broadly framed by an interest in the dynamics between national, exilic and diasporic cultures, and between power, knowledge and technology; mechanisms of cultural brokerage; ‘memory work’ and evaluation methods of cultural and public value, in organisations at the intersection of the national and the transnational, including the BBC World Service, the British Council, PEN International and the Goethe-Institut.

I hold a PhD in Iberian and Latin American Studies (Birkbeck, 2017) and, prior to joining Cardiff University, I was a Research Associate at the Open University on the Cultural Value Project. I have been a visiting research fellow at the Department of Hispanic Studies at Brown University (USA) and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin (USA).

My publications include (full list in publications tab)

Gillespie, Marie and Eva Nieto McAvoy “The BBC’s Corporate Cosmopolitanism: The Diasporic Voice between Empire and Cold War”, in Cosmopolitanism in Conflict: Imperial Encounters from the Seven Years' War to the Cold War, ed. by Dina Gusejnova (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 179-209.

Gillespie, Marie and Eva Nieto McAvoy, “Digital Networks and Transformations in the International News Ecology: A Critique of Agent-centred Approaches to Soft Power”, in Routledge Handbook on Soft Power, ed. by Naren Chitty, Li Ji, Gary Rawnsley and Craig Hayden (Routledge, 2016), pp. 203-218.

“‘A Spaniard Discovers England’: Arturo Barea and the BBC Latin American Service”, Wasafiri, 26, n. 4 (December 2011), pp. 9-12.



  • PhD in Iberian and Latin American Studies (AHRC-funded), Birkbeck, University of London, 2017
  • MA (with Distinction) in The History of the Book, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2010
  • BA in Spanish Philology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 2002

Honours and awards

  • 2011-2015: AHRC Block Grant Partnership Studentship Award (tuition/maintenance fees)
  • 08-14/10-14: AHRC IPS at the Harry Ransom Centre in University of Texas at Austin, US
  • 05-14/09-14: Visiting Research Fellowship at CRESC, Open University
  • 2013/2014: AHGBI and Spanish Embassy Travel Grant
  • 2013/2014: AHRC Research Training Support Grant
  • 2013/2014: Birkbeck School of Arts Conference Funding
  • 01-12/06-12: Visiting Research Fellowship, the Department of Hispanic Studies, Brown University

Academic positions

  • 2018-2019 Research and editorial consultant for “InfoMigrants” project, Open University, October 2018-April 2019
  • 2017-2018 Research Associate for “The Cultural Value Project: Cultural Relations in Societies in Transition”, Open University, February 2017-June 2018
  • 2016-2017 Language Research Assistant (Spanish) for “The Culture Value of Shakespeare Lives 2016”, Open University, May 2016-February 2017
  • 2014-2015: Assistant Tutor of “Critical Methods”, Birkbeck, University of London
  • 2014 Research Assistant for the AHRC-funded “Cultural Value Project”, the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), Open University, July-August 2014
  • 2010-2011: Sessional Lecturer of Spanish, Birkbeck, University of London 

Speaking engagements

Public Engagement, Knowledge Transfer and Impact (selected)

  • Website for the Cultural Value Project:
  • “An archive in exile: Arturo & Ilsa Barea”, Weston Library Blog, 20 September 2018
  • Interview for Radio Nacional de España (Spanish National Radio) about Arturo and Ilsa Barea’s archive for El Ojo Crítico, 9 February 2018
  • Curator of the exhibition: “A Spaniard in Oxfordshire: Arturo and Ilsa Barea’s papers come to the Bodleian”. Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, 8-11 February 2018
  • Cataloguing Arturo and Ilsa Barea’s papers for their donation to the Bodleian Library, 2011-2018
  • Invited speaker at public events commemorating the donation of the Barea’s archive: A Spaniard in Oxfordshire: Arturo and Ilsa Barea’s Archive. Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, 8 February 2018 an The Triumph of Arturo Barea, Insituto Cervantes, London, 7 February 2018
  • Adviser in Exhibition The Waiting Room: Spanish Exile in UK. Instituto Cervantes, London, Apr.-June 2015
  • Co-organiser of ILAS Postgraduate Conference, Birkbeck, University of London, 10 June 2014
  • Co-organiser of Thinking Visually: Iberian and Latin American Images in Research and Practice, in Arts Week, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London, 19-24 May 2014

Papers Presented at Conferences, Workshops and Seminars (selected)

  • “Manuel Chaves Nogales: Spanish Exiles in London”, British Library, 19 February 2019 [invited talk]
  • “Cultural Brokers at the BBCWS, the BC and the GI: invisible histories”, in Brokerage in a diverse Europe: Intermediaries, go-betweens and bridges, The Open University, London, 12-13 January 2018 [workshop paper]
  • La forja de un rebelde, del exilio a la democracia en TVE”, in Democracy and the Arts in the Contemporary Hispanic World, Department of Hispanic Studies, University of Birmingham, 25-27 June 2014 [conference paper, fully funded]
  • “Exile, Movement and the construction of a transnational intellectual: the case of Arturo Barea”, in 19th Annual Graduate Student Conference, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, 4-5 April 2014 [conference paper, fully funded]
  • “‘La batalla de las patatas’: narrativas de exilio y guerra en la BBC”, in Iberian and Latin American Studies Research Seminar, Queen Mary, University of London, 19 March 2013 [invited talk]
  • “La invención de ‘Juan de Castilla’: Arturo Barea, la BBC y América Latina” in VI International Transatlantic Conference, Brown University, 10-14 April 2012 [conference paper]






I have taught undergraduate courses on Spanish language and culture as well as on Critical Methods and Theory.

Research Interests

My main field of research is cultural studies and history with a focus on the politics of culture and cultural relations. Sitting at the intersection of cultural, diaspora and memory studies, my work looks at how actors negotiate their position within these institutions and intellectual networks; at the dynamics between knowledge and power in these contexts; at discourses of difference and sameness; at cultural brokerage, translation and cosmopolitanism; at how ‘memory work’ informs negotiations of historical and contemporary attachments to (often conflicting) national, regional, diasporic and European identities; and at how concepts such as 'home, 'nostalgia', and 'trauma' operate in contexts of war, migration and exile.

While my primary focus has been the Spanish Civil War exiles during the Second World War and Cold War, my research expands comparatively and historically to encompass contemporary structures of cultural brokerage, for example in the cultural relations work of the British Council in Egypt and Ukraine. My work also investigates evaluation methodologies of cultural and public value through a participatory action research framework. 

Research Projects

I have been a Research Associate at the Open University on the Cultural Value Model, contributing to its methodology through projects such as ‘InfoMigrants’ (2018-2019), ‘The Cultural Value Project: Cultural Relations in “Societies in Transition”’ (2017-2018), ‘The Cultural Value of Shakespeare Lives’ (2016-2017) and ‘Cultural Value at the British Council and BBC World Service’ (2014).

My PhD in Iberian and Latin American Studies (Birkbeck, 2017) looked at the interface between Spanish Civil War Exile and the diasporic contact zone in London in the 1940s-50s, through the life and work of Spanish exiled writer Arturo Barea.

I am currently working on transforming my PhD thesis, A Spaniard in Hertfordshire: the intellectual exile of Arturo Barea, into a monograph that will follow Barea’s exile as the narrative thread that will help me explore the transnational intellectual configuration of exiles in the immediate post-WW2 period. Barea’s ideological transformation in contact with British affairs and leftist intellectuals and through his collaboration with the BBC’ global outreach effort during the war and beyond points to the importance after 1945 of the Cold War as the international framework against which (Spanish) intellectuals such as Barea had to define their politics. This becomes particularly tangible in the connections that these intellectuals established with transnational cultural enterprises – such as PEN or the Congress for Cultural Freedom – founded (and funded) with the central aim of disseminating as widely as possible the values of freedom and democracy and which brought together a cosmopolitan group of intellectuals. This allows for an interpretation of Spanish Republican Exile culture which challenges its traditional readings within Spanish historiography.

My work on the intersection of cultural relations and power has taken me to collaborative research on audiences of soft power and the digital turn, contributing to articles published in Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies (2015) and The Routledge Handbook of Soft Power (2016).


The Cultural Value Project

The Open University partnered with the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin to work on The Cultural Value Project. It was a joint research project commissioned by the British Council and the Goethe-Institut that explored the different features of the UK and Germany’s approaches to cultural relations.  

The Cultural Value Project builds a better understanding of the nature and value of such activities in terms of their ability to make a difference - in particular to supporting stability and prosperity in societies going through substantial change. 

The findings from the Cultural Value Project have informed policy decisions at the British Council and the Goethe-Institut. You can read the literature review here and the final report here.

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

As part of my research, I have catalogued Arturo and his Austrian wife Ilsa’s archive for its deposit at the Bodleian Libraries (2018). You can read about it here. This work will contribute to making an important repository of Spanish Civil War exile in Britain available to researches. I have curated several exhibitions with the material, including 'A Spaniard in Oxfordshire: Arturo and Ilsa Barea's papers come to the Bodleian'.