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Melissa Nisbett

Dr Melissa Nisbett

Dr Melissa NisbettSenior Lecturer in Arts and Cultural Management

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 7562
Culture, Media and Creative Industries
King’s College London
334N Norfolk Building
Strand Campus 
WC2R 2LS  


Melissa's career has combined academia with arts administration. She has taught at postgraduate level for almost a decade, drawing upon a further ten years of professional experience within the cultural sector as an arts manager within galleries and museums.

Melissa left the arts in 2008 to pursue an academic career. Following the completion of her PhD in 2011, she worked as a Teaching Fellow at King’s College London and then as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Leeds, before returning to King’s as a Lecturer in 2013. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2015.

Melissa's research interests focus on cultural policy, arts management and the sociology of culture. She is particularly interested in the relationship between culture and power and has explored this from a number of angles, such as the impact of cultural elites on policy-making, the effect of charismatic leaders on the arts, the role of cultural heritage within conflict and warfare, and the use of soft power by countries wrestling for dominance within a shifting world order.

Her current research focuses on the intersections between cultural policy and foreign policy, and the role that culture plays within international relations, often referred to as cultural diplomacy and soft power.

Research Interests and PhD supervision
  • Cultural policy
  • Instrumentalism and the intersections of social policy and cultural policy
  • Arts management
  • Galleries, museums and heritage
  • Cultural diplomacy

Melissa welcomes applications for PhD topics related to any of her research interests.

Selected Publications
  • Nisbett, M (2016) Who Holds the Power in Soft Power? Arts & International Affairs.
  • Nisbett, M and Walmsley, B (2016) The Romanticization of Charismatic Leadership in the Arts, International Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, 46:1, 2-12.
  • Hesmondhalgh, D; Oakley, K; Lee, D and Nisbett, M (2015) Culture, Economy and Politics: The Case of New Labour, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Nisbett, M (2015) The Art of Attraction: Soft Power and the UK’s Role in the World - Policy Review, Cultural Trends, 24:2, 183-185.
  • Hesmondhalgh, D; Nisbett, M; Oakley, K and Lee, D (2014) Were New Labour’s Cultural Policies Neoliberal? International Journal of Cultural Policy, 21.1: 97-114.
  • Oakley, K; Hesmondhalgh, D; Lee, D and Nisbett, M (2014) The National Trust for Talent? NESTA and New Labour’s Cultural Policy, British Politics, 9, 297-317.
  • Lee D; Hesmondhalgh D; Oakley K; Nisbett M (2014) Regional Creative Industries Policy-Making Under New Labour, Cultural Trends, 23:4, 217-231.
  • Nisbett, M (2013) Protection, Survival and Growth: An Analysis of International Policy Documents, International Journal of Cultural Policy, 19:1, 84-102.
  • Nisbett, M (2013) New Perspectives on Instrumentalism: An Empirical Study of Cultural Diplomacy, International Journal of Cultural Policy, 19:5, 557-575.
  • Nisbett, M (2007) The Impact of War on Iraq’s Cultural Heritage, Cultural Policy, Criticism and Management Research, 1:2 [e-journal].
Expertise and Public Engagement

Melissa is a peer reviewer for the International Journal of Cultural Policy, Poetics and the International Journal of Arts Management. She is also on the editorial advisory board of Cultural Trends.

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