Carla’s passion for Indigenous cultural astronomy, Indigenous studies, cultural theories, cultural competence, communication, creativity, and social sciences in general, started almost 25 years ago, with her Honours Degree in Cultural Anthropology at Nova University in Lisbon. However, after finishing her degree, she was away from Academia for more than 20 years. She received an exceptional invitation from a top multinational advertising agency, and she embraced a solid, intense and internationally awarded career in the creative and communication industry as a journalist, creative copywriter and Creative Director. Carla was so deeply involved in the Creativity and Communication fields, that she even completed the 1st year of PhD in Communication Science course at Lusófona University in Lisbon, Portugal.

But soon she started to feel the urge to return to academia. In 2014, she arrived in Australia with her husband and two children, with a clear goal in her mind to make a career change and return to Academia as a researcher and cultural astronomer. 

In December 2018 she completed her MSc by Research, with the thesis titled Exploring Cultural Competence for Astronomers, with supervisors Dr. Duane Hamacher (Monash University) and Prof Daniel Robinson (UNSW). Carla’s research focus was on determining how cultural competence in-action can help non-Indigenous Astronomers work ethically with Indigenous peoples, and develop culturally respectful and beneficial outcomes with astronomical projects located on Indigenous sacred lands. She finished her MSc thesis in 2018 with a UNSW Outstanding Academic achievement award.

After completing her Master, Carla was awarded a Scientia PhD Scholarship in the School of Humanities & languages, UNSW. Her proposed research is titled “A case study of applying the Personalized Autonomous (PA) model for Indigenous students in higher education.” Carla also combines her studies with tutoring at UNSW, and being part of the Australian Indigenous Astronomy group team.

Published Paper

Media Article

Seminar Presentations

  • Exploring Cultural Competence for Astronomers (presentation of the MSc Thesis research findings) – 18th Australian Space Research Conference 2018, Gold Coast (BEST STUDENT ORAL PRESENTATION AWARD)
  • How I explained my research to a 9-year old kid interested in Astronomy – The Mount Stromlo Observatory Student Seminars 2018 (Canberra)
  • Exploring Cultural Competence for Astronomers (presentation of the research methodology and proposed theoretical model) – 17th Australian Space Research Conference 2017 (Sydney University)
  • Exploring Cultural Competence for Astronomers (presentation of the two case-studies: TMT and SKA projects) – The Mount Stromlo Observatory Student Seminars 2017 (Canberra)
  • The Moon and the Australian Indigenous Women – 15th Australian Space Research Conference 2015 (Melbourne)

Social Media