Call Me Doctor

Al,Gabs, Ben & Danni 01 (Certificate) (640)


Well, it took the best part of ten years, but on Thursday 21 July I finally graduated Doctor of Philosophy!


I WAS DELIGHTED to be able to celebrate the occasion with my daughter Gabrielle, son Ben and his partner Danni at the Monash University ceremony. My wife Kirsty was away on an AusTrade mission to Vietnam, so we cracked open the champagne when she returned.

Culture and the Conversive Community

My thesis, ‘Culture and the Conversive Community: Framing Arts Policy for the Twenty-first Century’, questions how we might develop an egalitarian arts policy. It traces the development of the arts council movement in the twentieth century, identifying patterns that have come to define art as the product of professionals in the service of an elite, rather than an activity in which the majority participate directly. The argument is grounded in evolutionary theory, which suggests that art evolved as a collective behaviour involving shared attention and empathic connection. The thesis concludes by recommending policy changes, set in the current context of rapid social and technological change, to help redress unfairness and waste.

The thesis was passed without emendation. The examiners were asked to rate various aspects of the thesis for which they awarded a mix of ‘excellent’ and ‘outstanding’. ‘Excellent’ indicates the research is strongly competitive at international levels, while ‘Outstanding’ is reserved for theses “of the highest merit, at the forefront of international doctorates in the field. Fewer than 5% of candidates worldwide fall in this band.” The thesis was rated ‘outstanding’ for the quality of the writing and for its “substantial and original contribution to knowledge”.

I am deeply grateful to all those who have supported me during the research and writing of this thesis and particularly to by wonderful family, Kirsty, Gabrielle and Ben, and my stalwart supervisor, Robert Nelson.

Now to the important business of getting it published – the thesis is the basis of two books, the first of which is more or less ready – and taking these ideas into the world where, hopefully, they can be put to good use!

6 Responses to “Call Me Doctor”
  1. Scott Redford says:

    Congrats Alasdair

  2. ronnie says:

    fabulous — the whole reshuffle of monash (the sell off of gipps to FU) meant that I had to ditch plans to complete my doctorate with the mob…. and robert is such a gem! would love to read your thesis sometime (monash are notorious for their lack of access to theses)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Toast in Buenos Aires? Felicitaciones!

  4. Hayley Ward says:

    Congratulations! Sounds like valuable much-needed research.

  5. Gael says:

    Congrats Alasdair no emendation that’s pretty cool. Looking forward to the book/s Gael

  6. Murray McKeich says:

    Well done Dr Foster. It must feel good to have it over and done with.

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  • The majority of the texts on this site are by Alasdair Foster and represent his opinions. However, in order to facilitate a useful diversity of views, some texts have been invited from artists and colleagues around the world, while others appear as independent comments. These opinions and comments are not necessarily those of Alasdair Foster or Cultural Development Consulting (CDC). All data and information on this site is provided on an as-is basis. While every effort is made to be as thorough as possible, neither Alasdair Foster nor CDC make representations as to accuracy, completeness, currency, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.
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