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PhD History and Theory of Art, The University of Kent (1994)
MA History and Theory of Art, The University of Kent (1990).
Postgraduate Diploma Fine Art Photography, Glasgow School of Art, 1988
Fine Art BA (Hons), Exeter College of Art and Design, 1987.


Mark Durden is a writer and artist. He studied Fine Art at Exeter College of Art and Design and at Glasgow School of Art, going on to study History and Theory of Art at University of Kent at Canterbury— attaining an MA by research for a thesis on Roland Barthes and a PhD on Photography and the Book. He has taught both Art History and Fine Art at Kent Institute of Art and Design, Canterbury and at Staffordshire University. He taught History of Photography at University of Derby where he became Reader in 2002 and Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) in Photography in 2003. He left Derby in 2007 to join Newport as Professor of Photography. He has published extensively on photography and contemporary art and since 1997 has worked as part of the artists’ group Common Culture.



20 doctorates to completion as Director of Studies, including Olivia M. da Silva, In The Net (2000); Jane Fletcher, The Way She Looks: Robert Thompson Crawshay’s Photographs of his Daughter, Rose Harriette(2002); Haris Kakarouhas, Suspended Time, (2003); Peter Day, Invisible Boundaries(2007); Nikos Panayotopoulos, Terra Cognita: The Western Hegemonic Representations of Greece Through the Case of Athens (2008); Yannis Kontos, Beyond Photojournalism, (2011); Geraint Davies, Dimensions, Perceptions: Resonances from Dürer’s MELENCOLIA I (2012); Dragana Jurisic, YU: The Lost Country (2013); Amak Mahmoudian: Double Identity (2015); Daniel Blaufuks: W.G.Sebald and Georges Perec: Photography, Film, Memory and the Holocaust (2017).


Paula Gortazar, University of Westminster, 2017
Noni Stacey, LCC, 2017
Jose Neves, Ulster University, Belfast, 2017.
Elisavet Kalpaxi, Goldsmith’s University, 2012.
Mark Curran, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2011.
David Campany, St Martin’s, London, 2009.
Anthony Haughey, University of Ulster, Belfast, 2009.
Sarah Key, Loughborough University, 2008.
Paul Seawright, Newport, University of Wales, 2007.


Director of European Centre for Documentary Research (eCDR)

Director of Studies for 10 PhD students.

Programme Leader for MA Documentary Photography, 2013-2016)

Director of Post Doctorate Leverhulme Fellow, Jo Longhurst (2008-2012). In November 2012 Jo Longhurst was awarded Canada’s Grange Prize in recognition of the work she produced as part of her fellowship.



2016 Double Act: Art and Comedy, Bluecoat, (with David Campbell).

2015 Photography Today, Phaidon— Translated into French, Spanish, Chinese and Turkish.

2014 Photography Today, Phaidon, 464 pp.

2013 Double Take (with Ken Grant), LJMU archives, 48 pp.

2012 50 Key Writers on Photography (edited) Routledge, London. 296 pp.

2012 Dorothea Lange, 3rd edition of this monograph, reprinted and redesigned, Phaidon, 128 pp.

2007 Variable Capital, (with David Campbell), Liverpool University Press.

2006 Dorothea Lange, Phaidon. This hardback monograph was reprinted in a larger format from the initial paperback publication, which initially formed part of the Phaidon 55 series, first published in 2002. It was also translated into French.

2002 Dorothea Lange, Phaidon.

2001 Face On: Photography as Social Exchange (co-edited with Craig Richardson), London: Black Dog Press

Catalogue essays, articles and book chapters

2017 ‘Crisis Aesthetics: Documenta 14’, review article, Journal of Greek Media and Culture, (with David Campbell).

2016 ‘Glimmers of Perfection’, essay for Peter Fraser’s book, Mathematics.

2013 The Chelsea Girls, co-authored with David Campbell, in Warhol in Ten Takes, ed. by Gary Needham and Glyn Davis.

2013 ‘Photography’s transformation in the digital age: artistic and everyday forms’ in Digital World: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights ed. Gillian Youngs, Routledge.

2012 ‘From the Gutter to the Net: Joachim Schmid’s Rogue Aesthetics’, translated and published in Italian only, Joachim Schmid e le fotografie degli altri, ed. Roberta Valtorta

2012 ‘Documentary Pictorial’ in Picturing Atrocity eds. Mick Gidley, Jay Proseer, Geoffrey Batchen and Nancy Miller, Reaktion Press, pp. 241-248.

2012 3 essays on 3 key texts for 50 Key Art History Texts (John Szarkowski’s The Photographer’s Eye, Brian O’Doherty’s Inside The White Cube, and Victor Burgin’s essay ‘The End of Art Theory).

2012 ‘Memory Work’, essay on Daniel Blaufuks for Works on Memory, Cardiff: Ffotogallery.

2011 ‘From Life’ essay on Tom Wood for catalogue F/M, Contact Editions, French/English.

2010 ‘Lost for Words’ essay for Peter Fraser’s Lost for Words, Cardiff: Ffotogallery.

2006 Essays on Michael Schmidt and Chris Killip for In The Face of History, London: Black Dog Press.

2002 Commissioned lead essay for Paul Seawright’s monograph Hidden, London: Imperial War Museum.

2000 Commissioned essay for Peter Finnemore’s monograph Gwendraeth House, Cardiff: Ffotogallery.

Reviews and interviews (since 2006)

2018 Tom Wood ‘Interconnections and Correspondences’ in TILT magazine, Open Eye, Liverpool.

2014 Gemma Marmalade, Summer, Source.

2012 On-line review of Daniel Blaufuks’ exhibition Works on Memory,

2011 On-line review of Thomas Struth at Whitechapel,

2011 Book Review, James Elkins’ What Photography Is, Source, Summer.

2011 Review of Format Festival, Derby, for Frieze website:

2011 Review, Paul Graham, Source, Spring.

2011 Book Review, Fazal Shiekh, Source, Winter.

2010 Interview with Sarah Dobai, Source, Autumn.

2010 Review of Artes Mundi 4, Cardiff, for Frieze website:

2009 Interview with Geert Van Kesteren for Foto8.

2009 Anna Fox for Foto8.

2009 Andy Warhol, Source Winter.

2009 Brighton Photo Biennale, Extra.

2009 Sherrie Levine, Frieze.

2009 Up Against the Wall, Michael Fried, Photoworks.

2008 Max Kozloff’s Theatre of the Face, book review, Source, Summer.

2008 Armchair Romanticism: Richard Prince, Photoworks, (With David Campbell).

2007 Craigie Horsfield, Source, Issue 53, Winter 2007.

2007 KayLynn Deveney, The Light Work Annual, 2007.

2007 Border Country, Melanie Friend, Belfast Exposed.

2007 The Stuff of Extraterrestrials: Henri Van Lier, Source, Issue 52, Autumn.

2007 Poetics and Politics: Alfredo Jaar, Source, Issue 51, Summer.

2006 Unfreezing Photography: Idris Khan, Next level, September.

2006 Interview with John Szarkowski, Art in America, May.

Curated Exhibitions

2017/18 The Laughable Enigma of Ordinary Life, Arquipélago Contemporary Arts Centre, São Miguel, Azores.

2016 Double Act: Art and Comedy Bluecoat, Liverpool and the MAC, Belfast (With David Campbell).

2015/2016 Tom Wood, Paysages Intime, Centre Culturel Irelandais, Paris.

2013/14 Tom Wood: Landscapes, Mostyn, Llandudno, Ffotogallery, Cardiff and Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth University.

2013 Double Take: Portraits from the Keith Medley Archive, The Walker, Liverpool. (Co-curated with Ken Grant).

2008 Variable Capital, the Bluecoat, Liverpool. Co-Curated with David Campbell, this exhibition brought together the work of 13 international artists, including Santiago Sierra, Larry Sultan, Andy Warhol, Hans Op de Beeck, Louise Lawler and Wang Qingsong.

2004-5. This is America: Documentary Photographs from the 1930s and 1940s (Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke-White, Russell Lee, Gordon Parks, Arthur Rothstein, Marion Post Wolcott), The Lowry, Salford.

2000-1 Face On (Co-curated with Craig Richardson) including Alfredo Jaar, Roderick Buchanan, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jennifer Bornstein and Adam Chodzko—
Site Gallery, Sheffield, Milton Keynes Gallery, Open Eye, Liverpool, Stills Gallery, Edinburgh.

Exhibitions as Common Culture:

Current members:
Mark Durden, 1997 – present.
David Campbell, 1996 – present.
Ian Brown, 2006 – present.

  • Solo Exhibitions

2016 Common Culture Cabaret– Common Culture, Midland Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham 16/07/2016 – 07/11/2016.

2013/14 Not Necessarily in the Right Order, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, 26/09/2013 – 12/01/2014
2013 Tips for Artists by Common Culture, Goat Major Projects, Cardiff, Wales. Solo exhibition, 27/04 to 26/05/2013.
2010 Black& Common Culture, Verge Art Fair, Miami, USA. 2-5 December 2010
2010 Bad Faith – Common Culture, The Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, March 20 – May 9 2010.

2009 Tales From The Trophy Room, Common Culture. Solar Galeria de Arte Cinemática Um espaço em Vila do Conde. Rua do Lidador, 4480-715 Vila do Conde, Porto, Portugal. Oct 19 – 22 Nov 2009.

2007 Pop Trauma, Common Culture. Book Launch and Screening of Local Comics and Book Launch. The Photographers’ Gallery, 5 Great Newport Street, London, April 26th 2007.

2006/07 Common Culture, The Third Space, Belfast, 7 Dec. – 11 Jan.

2006 Pop Trauma, The Void, Derry, 28 November – 22nd December.

2005 Tribute Singer and Bouncers Common Culture, Focal Point Gallery, Southend on Sea. 8 October – 19 November 2005.

2005 Spectacular Vernacular- Mobile Disco & Bouncers. Art Gallery &
Museum, The Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa. 21-30 January.

2004/05 English Homes Peloura Da Cultura, Camara Municipal de Anadia, Portugal. Dec – Jan.

2004 Spectacular Vernacular, Common Culture.
Q Gallery, Derby, 22 – 29 May.
Derby Museum and Art Gallery 15 May – 27 June.

2003 –04 English Homes Imago Lucis, Fotogaleria, Porto, Portugal.

2002 Common Culture – Mobile Disco, VRC Centrespace, Dundee
Contemporary Arts..

2001 This is Common Culture! Pleiades Gallery, Athens.

2001 Kiosk, Proposition Gallery, Belfast.

2001 Common Culture: New Order. FLAT, New York.

2000 Common Culture, Gasworks, London.

1999 Common Culture: Counter Culture, Cornerhouse Gallery,

1997 New Menus The Real Gallery, New York.

  • Group Exhibitions

2017/18 The Laughable Enigma of Ordinary Life, Arquipélago Contemporary Arts Centre, São Miguel, Azores.

2017 Public View, Bluecoat, Liverpool.

2016 Double Act: Art and Comedy, Bluecoat, Liverpool and the MAC, Belfast.

2016 Nothing Happens, Twice: Artists Explore the Absurdity of Life. Harris Museum & Gallery, Market Square, Preston.

2012 Common Culture’s Tips for Artists, publication, included in ‘Now I Gotta Reason’, Jerwood, London.

2011/12 Counter Culture II, National Museum, Cardiff.

2011 The New El Dorado, Leipzig, D21 Kunstraum.

2011 Manifesta 8 Flashback, Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Alexandria, Egypt. 21 January – 3 February 2011.

2010 In View, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. 10.12.2010 – 29.01.2011

2010 Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain. Common Culture The New Eldorado, HD Video Projection.

2009 Covet, Plan 9, Bristol, 23 October-8 November.

2009 The Bienal Cerveira, Portugal. 17 July- 26 September 2009.

2009 Grin & Bear It – Cruel humour in art and life, The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork. 20 March – 5 July 2009.

2008 Variable Capital, Bluecoat, Liverpool. 16 May 2008 – 29 June 2008.

2008 OPEN / INVITED e v+ a 2008 – Too Early for Vacation. 7 March – 25 May.


Panel member for Jerwood Photography Award 2016.
UK and European Review Editor for Photography and Culture: Berg, 2007-2017.
Nominator for Knokke-Heist International Photography Award, Belgium, 2012-13.
Board of Directors for Open Eye, Liverpool, 2004-2007.


Recent External Examiner Appointments

Edinburgh College of Art, Photography BA (Hons), 2016-
London College of Communication, Fashion Photography BA (Hons), Fashion and Styling Photography BA (Hons), 2012-2015.
Sotheby’s, Photography MA, 2008-2012.
University of Westminster BA (Hons) Photography, 2008-2013.
Dublin Institute of Technology, Photography, BA (Hons), 2007-2011.
University of Kent, Fine Art BA (Hons) and MA, 2007-2012.

Royal College of Art, Photography MA, 2009.

Recent Conferences/Guest Lectures

2018 ‘The Contemporary Documentary Photobook’, Maison Française, Oxford University.

2016 ‘Brevity, Wit and Disruption: Art and Comedy’, Keynote, Hochschule, Luzern.

2016 ‘Slapstick, Deadpan, Wit and Irony— The Double Act of Art and Comedy’ Keynote, Anglia Ruskin University.

2015 ‘Blaufuks/Perec/Sebald’, Musea Nacional de Arte Contemporânea- Musea do Chiado Impressa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, Lisboa, Portugal.

2015 ‘On the Use of Comedy in Art as Social Critique’ (with David Campbell) for the symposium— Politics and Humour: Theory and Practice, University of Kent.

2014 Laughing my Art Off, LCC MA Photography Symposium.

2014 ‘The Idea of John Szarkowski’, International Congress On the Surface: Photography and Architecture, School of Architecture, Porto, Portugal.

2014 Photography Today, book launch event with David Campany and Sarah Jones, National Portrait Gallery, London.

2012 ‘John Szarkowski: Writing Photography’, Postgraduate lecture, Birbeck, University of London.

2012 ‘Gravity: Atmosphere— Substance and Shadow’, Sheffield Hallam University.

2012 ‘A Crisis in Photography: Joachim Schmid’s Rogue Aesthetics’, Ciclo de Fotografia e Cinema Documental, Porto, Portugal.

2012 ‘Memory Works’ for How History Enters Photography symposium, Goethe Universitat, Frankfurt am Main.

2012 ‘Defining the Moment’, Perfection Conference, Whitechapel, London.

2012 ‘On Trying Not to Read Photographs’ for Symposium Developing Photographs, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College, Cork.

2012 ‘Szarkowski’s Modernism’, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Goldsmith’s College, University of London.

2011 ‘From Life: Tom Wood and Olga Chernysheva’, Ciclo de Fotografia e Cinema Documental, Porto, Portugal.

2011 ‘On Common Culture’, lecture, National Museum, Cardiff.

2011 ‘The Authority of Authenticity: Tracey Emin’, Hayward Gallery, London.

2011 ‘Szarkowski’s Modernism’, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London.

2011 ‘Every Real Moment: Time in the Art of Andy Warhol’, symposium, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.

2010 ‘Artes Mundi 4’, guest lecture, National Museum, Cardiff.

Areas of Expertise

Durden has an established reputation as a writer on photography and has published extensively on the subject. He has written for many journals, including Creative Camera, Photoworks, Portfolio, Next Level, Foto8, Parachute, Art Monthly, Source and Frieze. Durden is also an artist. Since 1997, as part of the artists’ group Common Culture he has exhibited regularly both nationally and internationally. Common Culture’s art work involves sculpture, performance, photography and video.

If you are a journalist on deadline and you need to speak with a member of university staff with particular expertise, please contact the Press Office.