Dr Alasdair Foster is a writer, curator and researcher based in Australia while working worldwide.
Alasdair has 20 years' experience heading national arts institutions in Europe and Australia and over 35 years of working in the public cultural sector. He was the founding director of Fotofeis, the award-winning international biennale of photo-based art in Scotland (1991–1997), the largest photo-art event in Europe in the 1990s. More recently, he was director of the Australian Centre for Photography (1998–2011), extending its international profile, increasing six-fold participation in its learning programs and tripling its annual budget, primarily through increased community engagement. He has a BSc in physics and modern theatre, and a PhD in the democratisation of twenty-first-century arts policy. He has worked as an artist, curator, writer, editor, researcher, policy advisor and commercial photographer.
Alasdair has held many previous positions including President of the Contemporary Art Organisations of Australia, editor of Photofile magazine and Chair of the Conference for European Photographers. He has served on the boards of the SALVO (Scottish Arts Lobby to Central Government) and NAVA (the National Association of the Visual Arts, Australia), and on the advisory panels to the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (UK), the National Arts and Tourism Conference (Scotland), NVACN (National Visual Arts and Craft Network, Australia), National Exhibition Touring Service NSW (Australia), Black Flash magazine (Canada), Fotofo (international photography festival in Bratislava) and was the first non-Chinese Academic Consultant to the Pingyao International Photography Festival.
Alasdair has organised several hundred exhibitions including major presentations in The National Gallery of Thailand, Bangkok; Chobi Mela festival (Bangladesh); Brighton Festival (England's largest arts festival); Photographers' Gallery, London (England); FotoBogotá (Colombia); Fotofestival Naarden (Netherlands); Photoquai, Paris (France); Pingyao International Photography Festival (China); 11th Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka (Bangladesh); Krasnodar Institute of Contemporary Art (Russia); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona (Spain); Museum of Photography, Seoul (Republic of Korea); Museo de Santo Domingo del Cerro (Guatemala); Singapore Art Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei (Taiwan). In 2013 he won the inaugural Jin Hou Niao Zun award (China) for curatorial excellence and remains the only non-Chinese winner to date. In 2016 he was the curator of the Australian pavilion at Dubai Photo: Global Perspectives, presented under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Alasdair has written hundreds of articles and essays at many different reader levels (academic, monograph, specialist-photographic and mainstream) for newspapers, magazines and journals around the world. Since 2013, he has written a regular monthly column in PhotoWorld, one of China's most influential and widely read photography magazines. He has written substantial texts for some of the world's top photobook publishers including Phaidon (London), Aperture (New York) and Xinhua (Beijing).
Alasdair has delivered lectures, undertaken teaching, reviewed portfolios and mentored students, artists, curators and academics in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America and Oceania, from Johannesburg to Seoul and Bogotá to Osaka.