Victoria Business School PhD candidate presents at prestigious international conference

The way the New Zealand Government uses art and design to pursue specific public policy objectives was the topic of discussion when Nicola Ngawati, a PhD candidate in the School of Government, presented at the recent Innovation in Public Services and Public Policy (PUBSIC) conference in Milan, Italy.

Nicola Ngawati
Nicola Ngawati

Nicola's presentation explored how New Zealand’s network of embassies, high commissions and consulates use art and architectural design to promote aspects of New Zealand’s identity.

“The topic evolved from my work towards my Master of Public Policy degree where I looked at how Māori were portrayed in the public sector as an equal employment opportunity group and how that didn’t really sit well in a bicultural public sector,” says Nicola.

“I have had quite a long-held interest in how New Zealand is presented offshore. Particularly around how the relationship between Māori and the Crown has played out in the diplomatic space.”

Nicola was the only presenter from the Southern Hemisphere at the conference, which sees speakers from around the world share their insights on innovation in the public service.

“I was intrigued by the level of overseas interest I received in my presentation,” says Nicola. “Attendees at the conference really wanted to know how decisions were made by New Zealand on how we are represented.”

Attendees included academics, PhD students, and academic publishers—with one publisher expressing interest in publishing Nicola’s work.

“Being amongst some of the leading experts in the field of innovation in the public sector was a real privilege,” says Nicola. “The connections you make at conferences like PUBSIC are invaluable.”