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Dr Simon Mark staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (04) 801 5799  ext. 63137

Dr Simon Mark PGDipFA, Ph.D

Senior Advisor - Strategy and Policy

CoCA - Partnerships and Projects

Mark’s doctorate in cultural diplomacy through the University of Auckland was completed in 2008. It examined comparatively the cultural diplomacy of New Zealand, India, Canada and its province Quebec, drawing on his experience working on cultural diplomacy programmes at the New Zealand High Commission in London; at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (2004-2007) on the newly established Cultural Diplomacy International Programme; and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as Public Diplomacy Adviser (2009-2011). His art practice focuses on non-figurative photographic artworks. He has had solo and group exhibitions in New Zealand, India, Nepal and China. Mark curated, with Ralph Regenvanu, the seminal exhibition New Traditions: Contemporary Art of Vanuatu, which toured public art galleries and museums in New Zealand and Australia over the period 1999-2001.

In 2013, he was project manager of a bid to the New Zealand government for the establishment of a Centre of Research Excellence in Design. In 2014, the focus of this initiative moved towards developing a national design collaboration - DesignCo - aimed at supporting design-driven innovation. In 2016 and 2017, Mark project-managed the production of the first ever assessment of the value of design to the New Zealand economy (available on the DesignCo website:

Simon Mark's research in the field of international relations concerns the nation-state practice of cultural diplomacy. His art practice comprises non-figurative photographic artworks that explore the intersection between the real and the abstract, drawing on overlooked sites in the urban environment. His research in design focuses on the New Zealand design ecosystem and design's relationship to innovation. His research has been disseminated through international peer reviewed journal articles, international conferences, and national and international exhibitions.

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Contact details

  • Ph: 021 022 48610
    Location: Ground floor, Block 1
    Campus: Wellington


  • Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts - Massey University (2012)
  • Doctor of Philosophy - University of Auckland (2008)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Cultural diplomacy

Nation branding (in particular drawing on cultural manifestations of nation-states)

Public diplomacy

Non-figurative photography

Design and innovation

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Comparative Government and Politics (160603): International Relations (160607):
Lens-based Practice (190503):
Political Science (160600):
Studies In Creative Arts And Writing (190000):
Studies In Human Society (160000):
Visual Arts and Crafts (190500)


Cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy, international cultural relations, nation branding, photography

Research Outputs


Mark, S., & Brown, A. (2020). Assessing the economic value of New Zealand design. Journal of Design, Business & Society. 6(1), 7-20 Retrieved from http://anna/
[Journal article]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL. (2010). Rethinking cultural diplomacy: The cultural diplomacy of New Zealand, the Canadian Federation and Quebec. Political Science. 62(1), 62-83
[Journal article]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL. (2009). A Greater Role for Cultural Diplomacy. Discussion Papers in Diplomacy. 2009(April) Retrieved from
[Journal article]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL., Devere, H., & Verbitsky, J. (2011). A history of the language of friendship in international treaties. International Politics. 48(1), 46-70 Retrieved from
[Journal article]Authored by: Mark, S.


Mark, S., & Brown, A.(2019). Submission to the Government's new research, science and innovation strategy by Massey University's College of Creative Arts.
[Discussion Paper]Authored by: Brown, A., Mark, S.
Robinson, CE., & Mark, S.(2013). Moving up the Value Curve Maximising the Contribution of Design to the Government’s Growth Agenda An INTERIM report for the Minister of Business, Innovation and Employment, Hon Steven Joyce.
[Discussion Paper]Authored by: Mark, S., Robinson, C.

Creative Work

Mark, S. (2018, August 1). Fresh astonishments. (No. of Pieces: 22) [Photography]. Paterson Potocki Art Gallery.
[Exhibition]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL. (2017, September). Exhibition of photographs by Dr Simon Mark. [19 laminated digital prints, 17 previously unpublished, each print 900mm x600mm] Academy of Military Culture, National Defence University, Beijing, China.
[Exhibition]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL. (2015, February 26). Chance Encounters: recent photographs by Simon Mark. (No. of Pieces: 24 in total, 18 previously unpublished) [Photography]. [Lambda prints, dimensions variable], Pataka Art + Museum, Porirua, New Zealand.
[Exhibition]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL. (2014, April 29). Twelve years later: photographs by Simon Mark. (No. of Pieces: 16 prints in total, 11 previously unpublished) [lambda prints, dimensions variable]. Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi, India.
[Exhibition]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL., Kennedy, A., McCaughley, R., & van der Voorn, N. (2012, August 21). Four takes: Four photographers. (No. of Pieces: 3) Bartley + Company Art, Wellington, New Zealand, 21 August - 15 September.
[Exhibition]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL. (2010, June 24). Marvellous Blind Spots. [Paper]. Expressions Whirinaki.
[Exhibition]Authored by: Mark, S.


Mark, SL. (2008). A comparative study of the cultural diplomacy of Canada, New Zealand and India. (Doctoral Thesis)
[Doctoral Thesis]Authored by: Mark, S.


Brown, A., Mark, S., Millers, J., Parkin, T., Reade, A., & Tobin, A. (2019). Better later life: a pilot study of life experiences of New Zealand people aged 65+.
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: Brown, A., Mark, S., Parkin, T.Contributed to by: Parkin, T.
Mark, S., & Brown, A.(2019). Design's role in the New Zealand of the Future.
[Technical Report]Authored by: Brown, A., Mark, S.
Robinson, C., Mark, S., & Brown, A. (2017). The value of design to New Zealand summary report.
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: Brown, A., Mark, S., Robinson, C.Contributed to by: Robinson, C.
Mark, S., Robinson, C., & Brown, A. (2017). The value of design to New Zealand. PwC.
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: Brown, A., Mark, S., Robinson, C.Contributed to by: Robinson, C.Edited by: Robinson, C.
Robinson, C., Mark, S., & Bennewith, C. (2013). New Zealand Centre for Design Research [Bid for a Centre of Research Excellence submitted to the Royal Society NZ].
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: Mark, S., Robinson, C.Contributed to by: Robinson, C.


Mark, S.New Zealand’s public diplomacy in the Pacific: a reset, or more of the same?. . Gold Coast, Australia
[Conference Paper]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL.International Exhibitions and Cultural Diplomacy. . Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
[Conference Other]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL.Books and cultural diplomacy: New Zealand's involvement in the Frankfurt Book Fair. . Otago Polytechnic School of Art, Dunedin, New Zealand, 17 - 18 October
[Conference Other]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL.New Zealand's Nation Branding.
[Conference Other]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL.Cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy: two distinctive strands in China’s soft power enhancement. . University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 27 -29 April
[Conference Other]Authored by: Mark, S.


Mark, S. (2018). New Zealand's Pacific reset: the case for cultural diplomacy. Stuff
[Other]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL. (2017). Forget about the talk...let's do something. (pp. 88 - 90). Matrix Publishing Limited
[Other]Authored by: Mark, S.
Mark, SL. (2014, April). Photography in New Zealand. In Gallery audience. Presented at Art Heritage Gallery.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: Mark, S.

Consultancy and Languages


  • Bislama (Melanesian pidgin)
    Last used: 1999
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Average

Media and Links

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