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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: http://designco.org.nz/value-of-design/the-value-of-design-to-new-zealand/).
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.
Nation branding (in particular drawing on cultural manifestations of nation-states)
Design and innovation
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