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Lígia Oliveira is a designer, artist and researcher, and her work is centred on the emotional relationship between humans and nature. Oliveira’s work is non-linear, as each discipline explores both a particular component and the whole: an interdisciplinary, multiscale approach that extends across the visual arts, essay, poetry, research and design. In a way, she makes no distinction between these practices: Oliveira’s research is sourced in her creative processes, and the opposite is also true. Oliveira’s articles and essays are sometimes first paintings, pictures, videos, sketches, objects, spatial interventions. In this ongoing loop, one becomes another, or different facets of the same idea evolve and relate, making the whole.

Over the years, her work has become a contemplative practice contextualised within our current ecological context. Phenomenology and nature: how we relate to the natural world with our senses and what emotions they provoke. An embodied practice of listening: towards mending bonds through different scales, looking into different perspectives, in and with the diversity of nature. Learning from it, and its patterns, in an approach informed by behavioural sciences. Place, senses, emotions, values and observation are key issues across her work and relationship with nature and more than humans. Oliveira seeks to create with meaning, with a process of relating to nature, humans, other species and elements based on respect, gratitude, admiration and affectionate care. Good relationships are, after all, the core definition of a good life.

Lígia grew up nearby the tranquility of the Ria Formosa wetlands in southern Portugal, which have seeded her relationship with nature, and particularly, with the sea. She studied at ESAD Matosinhos and at the University of Antwerp, and she received her PhD from the University of Barcelona. Since the beginning of her career, Lígia has maintained a balance between multiple practices and scales, thinking and doing, as she sees knowledge processes as embodied practices.


Lígia’s interdisciplinary work has been exhibited and published widely, with collaborations including at the United Nations Ocean Decade, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Academy and the Mind & Life Institute, among others. Lígia was awarded the 3rd prize in Urban Furniture by the Antwerp City Council and Havenhuis (co-author) and the 2nd prize in Illustration by the Matosinhos City Council. She was a researcher at the University of Barcelona, professor at the University of Porto, and has served with her knowledge at the European Commission. Furthermore, Lígia is a member of the Design+Posthumanism Network and of Rise Up for the Ocean. 


Lígia Oliveira’s accolades include those from the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Foundation for Science and Technology, and Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Creativity and research are slow, demanding tasks and these institutions, along with many other professionals and colleagues, have contributed to making Lígia’s efforts possible - something she is profoundly grateful for.

You can learn more about Lígia's commitment to the environment here.

Exhibitions & Projects (Selection)


2023    Air Below Water. Video

2022    1,23 minutes of a 12371 steps walk and uncounted swim in the Atlantic, 1 November 2022. Video

2022    Bodies of Water. Portugal

2021    Between the Sea and the Shore.  Pop Up, Faro

2021    Raw. Portugal

2021    Undeniable. Portugal

2020    Memorial. Un-built monument, several forests, Portugal

2020    Exoskeletons line. Site specific, Santo António beach

2020    Woven into Nature. Solo, Site specific, Vila Real de Santo António

2020    Inhabit the Body, Live the Place. Portugal


2022    Nature Inspired. Through Objects. Copenhagen

2021    Pigments Revealed. USA 

2021   The Mind, the Human-Earth Connection, and the Climate Crisis. Mind and Life Institute, USA

2020   Crafted & Curated. Through Objects. Copenhagen

2013   Nas Margens. Part of CRPolis, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Barcelona

2011   Nas Margens. Part of CRPolis, Almada City Museum

2008   Proxecto Edición, Pontevedra Cultural Centre

2007   A Casa é Sincera, by Isabel Carvalho, Laboratório das Artes de Guimarães

2003   Voyager 03, ExperimentaDesign Biennale (with S’A Architects). Paris

2003   Voyager 03, ExperimentaDesign Biennale (with S’A Architects). Barcelona

2003   Voyager 03, ExperimentaDesign Biennale (with S’A Architects). Madrid

2003   Voyager 03, ExperimentaDesign Biennale (with S’A Architects). Lisbon

2001   XI Illustration and Comics International Exhibition. Porto

2000   Urban design. Gare Marítima de Alcântara, Lisbon

2000   Mail Art. Artes em Partes, Porto

2000   Urban design. Lisbon

2000   Urban design. Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon

2000   Objectos En/Inviáveis. Caldeira 213, Porto

2000   Desafio Político-Sexual. Caldeira 213, Porto

1999   Illustration, Matosinhos City Council, Matosinhos

1999   Illustration, Mekanik Strip, Antwerp

1999   Urban Design (co-author). Havenhuis, Antwerp

1999   Mail Art. Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto


Honours (Selection)

Protocol for artistic creation. Portuguese Ministry of Culture, 2020

Research grant. Foundation of Science and Technology (FCT), 2009-2013 

Publishing grant, for the book “The Economy of the Artist” (with Braço de Ferro). Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2009

Publishing grant, for the book “The Economy of the Artist” (with Braço de Ferro). University of  Porto, 2009

Research grant. MAEC - AECID, Spain, 2000-2003

Post Graduation grant, Portuguese Design Centre, 1999-2000

2nd Prize, National Illustration Award. Matosinhos City Council, 1999

3rd Prize (co-author), Urban Furniture Award. Antwerp Port Entity and Antwerp City Council, 1999


Books and book chapters

Oliveira, L. (2023). “Reconsidering the body and/in the Landscape”. Mitrović, I.; Roth, M.; Čerina, T. (Eds.). Designing in Coexistence – Reflections on Systemic Change. Croatia Pavilion for the Venice Biennale of Architecture. Zagreb: Association of Croatian Architects

Oliveira, L. (2020). Odisea. Vila Real de Santo António: Author’s edition

Oliveira, L. (2019). Sessenta dias de madrugada. Vila Real de Santo António: Author’s edition

Carvalho, I.; Nora, P.; Oliveira, L. (Eds.) (2010). The Economy of the Artist. Porto: Braço de Ferro

Oliveira, L. (2010). “Artist’s Precarity and Local Development Opportunities”. Carvalho, I.; Nora, P.; Oliveira, L. (Eds.). The Economy of the Artist, pp.151-161. Porto: Braço de Ferro

Oliveira, L. (2009). “Functionality and ideology: “Rio clothes washing” as a challenge to authority”. Vaz-Pinheiro, G. (Ed.). Archaeology of the urban, pp.147-158. Porto: Fine Arts Faculty of Porto University)

Oliveira, L. (2008). “A Casa Sincera não é a Casa Portuguesa” and “A minha leitura da Casa Sincera”. Carvalho, I. (Ed.) A Casa é Sincera. Porto: Braço de Ferro 

Oliveira, L. (2007). “Introdução”. Carvalho, I. (Ed.) Wanda. Porto: Braço de Ferro

Oliveira, L. (2000). “Barcelona 12345. Analysis of five Barcelona public spaces”. Brandão, P.; Remesar, A. (Eds.). Public space and Interdisciplinarity, 32-34. Lisbon: Centro Português de Design

Publications, posters

Oliveira, L. (2024). “Mediating Human-Nature Relationships: Culture and Innovation in Urban Policies for Flourishing Oceans and Global Well-Being”. United Nations Ocean Decade Conference, Barcelona: United Nations (Poster - approved) 

Oliveira, L. (2023). “Embracing the Abyss: Kinship with the Unknown”. Consolandi, P.; Dave, M.; Havini, T.; Middleton, F.; Reymann, M.; Stewart, K. (Coord.) Culturing the Deep Sea: Towards a common heritage for allkinds - Ocean Archive Journeys. Venice: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Academy
Oliveira, L. (2018). “Espacio público y buques insignia de la cultura en distritos creativos: El caso de Can Framis” (“Public space and culture in flagship new productive districts: Can Framis case study”). AACA Digital, 43. Zaragoza: Aragon Art Critics Association

Oliveira, L. (2015). “Culture as an engine in Palo Alto’s urban regeneration process”. On the Waterfront, vol. 37, pp.7-45. Barcelona: University of Barcelona 

Brandão, A.L.; Castillo, M.; Esparza, D.; Oliveira, L.; Padilla, S.; Pinto, A.J.; Ríos, M.; Salas, X.; Sasa, Z. (2014). “Interdisciplinarity: teaching/learning in urban design projects”. On the Waterfront, Interdisciplinarity in Urban Design and Public Art: Theoretical Progress, nº29, pp.23-40. Barcelona: University of Barcelona 

Oliveira, L. (2011). “Public space in culture-led historic centre transformation projects: Porto case study”. On the Waterfront. Urban Planning in Portugal, nº18, pp.47-65. Barcelona: University of Barcelona

Oliveira, L. (2011). “Património, turismo e cultura no consumo do espaço urbano” (“Heritage, tourism and culture in urban space consumption”). A Rua de Todos, pp.1-14. Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon (International Conference Proceedings)

Oliveira, L. (2011). “The role of design in city competition: industrial production and urban space in the 22@Barcelona district”. VI CIPED, International Congress in Design Research, pp.1-6. Architecture Faculty, University of Lisbon (International Conference Proceedings)

Oliveira, L. (2009). “Reseña de Tesis: “El Espacio Público en el Centro Histórico de Puebla (México)”, de Adriana Hernández Sánchez” (“Ph.D. thesis review: Public space in Puebla’s historical centre”). On the Waterfront. Arte pública nas dictaduras. Porto Alegre (Brasil), 1970-1979, nº13, pp. 20 - 39. Barcelona: University of Barcelona 

Other publications and media

Oliveira, L. (2022). Bodies of Water. Three Knots Mag. Valencia: Three Knots Mag

Oliveira, L. (2022). Invited to manage the LAND ART Collective social media, week 4-10.07.2022. London: Land Art Agency

Oliveira, L. (2021). Posidonia Oceanica. Oceanica. Lisbon: UNESCO Chair Ocean’s Cultural Heritage, NOVA University (cover feature)

Oliveira, L. (2020). Persimmon tree. Artists & Climate Change. New York: The Artic Circle

Oliveira, L. (2009). How to work as an artist (a short essay following the Switching Metaphors Meeting held in Porto on June 28, 2008). Hoechtl, N.; Rossenberg, S. (coord.). Rotterdam: Trans/gender Platform (online)

Oliveira, L. (2009). Resquícios de Décadas Infernais; Genealogia Ideológica, Corrosão do Carácter. Qu’Inferno. Porto: A Mula

Oliveira, L. (2009). A Política: a grande porca, Jornal de Notícias

Oliveira, L. (2008). “Mercado do Bolhão: Ideias a considerar para o futuro da cidade” (“Bolhão market: suggestions to the city’s future”). Jornal de Notícias, 20/05/2008. Porto: Global Media Group (Article in national newspaper)

Oliveira, L. (2005). “Planeamento Urbano em Lisboa: que futuro?” (“Urban planning in Lisbon: what future?”). Arq./a, Revista de arquitetura e arte, nº31, pp.5-31. Lisbon: Futurmagazine (article in architecture magazine)

Oliveira, L. (2002). El planeamiento urbano contemporáneo dentro del contexto de la Unión Europea: planeamiento estratégico y diseño urbano (DEA) (unpublished)

Oliveira, L. (2001). Untitled. Chili com Carne (coord.). Mutate&Survive. Cascais: Chili com Carne

PhD thesis

Oliveira, L. (2014). “Creative Cities": o papel da cultura nos processos de transformação urbana (“Creative Cities”: the role of culture in urban transformation processes). Barcelona: University of Barcelona


Ph.D. in Public Space and Urban Regeneration: Art, Theory and Heritage Conservation, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Barcelona, 2009-2014

Research Proficiency Diploma, Ph.D. in Public Space and Urban Regeneration, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Barcelona, 2000-2002

Post Graduation in Urban Design, Portuguese Design Centre, 1999-2000

Erasmus at the Product Development Department (with one project at the Interior Architecture Department), University of Antwerp, 1998-1999

Product Design degree, ESAD – Matosinhos, 1995-1999

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