Catherine Fieschi is Counterpoint’s Executive Director. In 2011, when she founded the company, her first objective was to draw attention to the social and cultural dynamics that underpin political risk but seldom receive the attention they deserve. A political scientist Catherine believes that rigorous social and cultural analysis can help leaders make better decisions, in both the public and private sectors.
Prior to founding Counterpoint, Catherine was Director of Research at The British Council, the UK’s international cultural relations organisation. She led the organisation’s work on the uses of ‘soft power’ in international relations, developed its work on digital culture as an instrument of social and political change, and set up their programme on Islam and Europe.
Between 2005 and 2008 Catherine was the Director of Demos, the leading London-based think tank. At Demos, she oversaw the development of the organisation’s programme of work on radicalisation and the emergence of its work on European populisms. She also coordinated its work across the world on public service reform.
Catherine advises business and political leaders around the world. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London, a Senior Fellow of the Civil Service College in Singapore; and a Senior Fellow of the London School of Economics. She is also involved in the strategic evaluation of UK universities’ social science research output in her role as assessor and advisor to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) of the Higher Education Funding Council.
Catherine is the author of numerous journal articles, as well as essays on extremism, mobilisation and identity politics. In 2008 she published In the Shadow of Democracy, an in-depth analysis of contemporary populism and its impact on institutions. She is currently writing two monographs–one on 21st century populism, and one on the trials and delights of being a European.
She frequently provides expert analysis for both the national and international media including BBC television and radio, Sky News, and Reuters, as well as other European and American outlets. A former contributing editor for Prospect Magazine, Catherine has a regular column in the Chatham House magazine, The World Today. She is also a trustee of European Alternatives, a transnational civil society organisation that promotes alternative means of citizen engagement and participation.
Catherine holds a PhD in Comparative Political Science from McGill University. She has lived in Italy, Senegal, France, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.