Thinking for Tomorrow

Cultural Development Consulting is well placed to advise Government Departments, Local Authorities and Arts Agencies on the development of policy and funding models that encourage wide active participation in our visual culture.


Policy and Professional Leadership

In addition to running national arts companies in Europe and Australia, Alasdair Foster has provided leadership and vision in a range of public and professional roles including President of the Contemporary Art Organisations of Australia, 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) and the National Exhibition Touring Service NSW (Australia). He served as the contemporary visual art representative on NVACN (National Visual Arts and Craft Network, Australia) which successfully lobbied for a significant increase in funding for the visual arts in Australia.

“Alasdair Foster is a highly original thinker with a big-picture perspective. His approach to strategic planning is always thoroughly researched and clearly articulated; his solutions are highly original yet pragmatic, with a consistent focus on extending the popular reach of the visual arts. In his roles serving on government committees and public panels his breadth of experience and clarity of thinking have assured him respect at home and abroad. Alasdair Foster’s work is informed by a rigorous intellectual framework and a global perspective which keeps him at the forefront of international developments.”

Mathew Alderson*, Partner – Asia Pacific, Harris Moure pllc (attorneys), Beijing; Co-Chair of the Media and Entertainment Forum of the American Chamber of Commerce in China (2012)
*Mathew Alderson served on the Board of the Australian Centre for Photography for nine years; as a Director, Vice-Chair and, ultimately, Chair.

“Alasdair Foster is a philosopher of practice; a philosopher of action. He is always looking for ways to connect the ivory tower of the arts with wider society. His approach combines logic and emotional intelligence. He is a rational idealist with a very beautiful vision for the future and the practical knowledge to realise it in real life.” 

Dr. Irina Tchmyreva, Russian Academy of Fine Arts, Moscow (2012)

As author of the photography section of A Charter for the Arts, a policy paper commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council, he helped shape visual arts policy for Scotland in the 1990s. Later he managed the Scottish bid for Arts 2000, UK Year of Photography and the Electronic Image. Throughout he maintains a pragmatic understanding of the relation between the arts, economic stability and individual wellbeing.


Ground-breaking Research

Alasdair Foster is a doctoral researcher in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning and Teaching, Monash University, Melbourne and an associate member of the Centre for Visual Anthropology in the Australian National University, Canberra. Through his research he is postulating a new paradigm for the formation of public policy for the arts. This draws on his original training as a scientist and subsequent four-decades of experience working in the arts. The research focuses on a synthesis of ideas drawn from recent advances in the fields of evolutionary theory and neurophysiology with a review of the economic and political genesis of the arts council movement in the English-speaking West. The results point to a more inclusive and egalitarian approach to art, one that actively engages the wider community and is not limited to the sphere of the rich, the highly educated and the connoisseur.

This open and participatory approach to art informs both the consideration of CDC’s infrastructural and network-based consultancy work and the form and content of its curatorial projects.

“Alasdair Foster is one of our most outstanding researchers in the doctoral program at Monash University”

Associate Professor Robert Nelson, Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning and Teaching, Monash University (2012)

“In an art-world that is hidebound by cloying institutional and critical hegemony, Alasdair Foster has maintained a rare independence and a healthy disdain for the status quo. I believe he will have a significant impact on Australian arts policy in the future.”

Dr Murray McKeich, School of Creative Media, RMIT (2011)


  • 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.