Strategic Planning

Cultural Development Consulting is a catalyst that helps you achieve the very best realisation of your project. CDC provides government departments and agencies, cities, companies and arts organisations with expert advice and innovative solutions in the field of infrastructural development for the visual arts. That infrastructure might be based at a location or exist within a virtual network.


CDC can show you how to:

  • conceptualise an arts centre or cultural precinct that meets the needs of 21st Century audiences and markets
  • stage a visual arts festival or major event innovatively yet pragmatically
  • establish networks that link projects and energise people locally and globally
  • inspire imaginative use of space and imagery in a museum or gallery environment
  • use non-art spaces creatively for the presentation of visual arts projects

“Alasdair Foster has this unique ability of understanding what is important. He is a visionary who does more than simply engage the audience, he engages the future…”

Beate Cegielska, Director of Galleri Image, Denmark – continental Europe’s longest running photo space (2012)


Proven through experience


Australian Centre for Photography

In 1998 Alasdair Foster moved to Australia to head the Australian Centre for Photography, a public institution that presents exhibitions, delivers educational programs and publishes Australia’s only photo-art magazine. Under his leadership the national centre experienced a period of substantive economic growth and increasing popularity with both audiences and artists. He understood the need to re-adapt Australia’s longest-running contemporary art centre to the contemporary needs of the public it served.

As a result exhibition audiences more than trebled, student enrolments rose six-fold and annual income increased by 160% under his directorship. The centre cleared its debts and purchased the building it had occupied since the mid-eighties, followed by an expansion of the public exhibitions areas. As a result ACP is the only public visual arts institution in Australia to have purchased its own building.

“I consider myself very fortunate to have worked closely with Alasdair Foster between 2000 to 2007 while he was the CEO and I was the Chair of the Australian Centre for Photography. His professionalism, managerial skills, broad vision and ability to create outstanding exhibitions were most impressive. These attributes enabled the ACP to become a nationally and internationally acclaimed organisation while at the same time providing great service to the photo-art community in Australia.”

Joanna Capon OAM* (2011)
* Medal of the Order of Australia

“Alasdair Foster brings a rare commitment, passion and creative energy to projects; it is beyond comparison. One of the greatest accomplishments we have seen is the way he turned a deeply troubled ACP into an internationally respected and financially stable art institution with an exciting cultural development program. This achievement has justly earned him enormous respect from the business and art communities around the world.”

Paul Curtis, Chief Executive Officer, IDEA (Imaging and Digital Entertainment Association) (2012)

“Alasdair Foster re-built the Australian Centre for Photography in the 21st Century, breathing new life into this classic institution.”

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

“Under the vigorous and adroit directorship of Alasdair Foster the Australian Centre for Photography has embraced contemporary photomedia with a passion, mixed local and international talents in a series of provocative, themed exhibitions and, through a revamped Photofile, has furthered the reach of Australian photography around the world.”

Real Time, magazine (2004)


Fotofeis: the international biennale of photo-based art in Scotland

Commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council, Alasdair Foster devised and delivered a ground-breaking new model for a nation-wide festival. At a time when photographic festivals were located in a single metropolitan or urban centre, focused on a specialist audience of aficionados, Fotofeis spanned the whole country engaging urban, sub-urban and rural communities with a diverse mix of international and local exhibitions, events and projects. It did not begin small and grow, but, against the odds, was delivered in its first edition on grand scale. With a single festival attracting more than three-quarters of a million visitors over its four week period, Fotofeis was the largest photographic event presented in Europe in the 1990s.

“Alasdair Foster’s curatorial and management skills are of the highest level, amply demonstrated in his organisation of Fotofeis, which I consider to be one of the best and most successful festivals ever presented in the world. It was unforgettable.”

Rui Prata, Director of Museu da Imagem and Encontros da Imagem Festival, Portugal (2011)

“Fotofeis is a very serious competitor to the major international festivals of photography such as Mois de la Photo in Paris, FotoFest in Houston and Fotokina in Cologne.”

Foto Magazyn, magazine, Poland (1995)

“International and original … One immediately recognises the high quality of these exhibitions”

Nippon Camera, magazine, Japan (1995)

Fotofeis did more than simply present excellent exhibitions and engage existing arts audiences; it played an important strategic role in developing new cultural markets and business opportunities. In 1995 Fotofeis won the Scottish Arts and Tourism Award.

“Fotofeis is one of Europe’s premier cultural attractions. This owes as much to the professionalism and creativity of the Fotofeis organisers as to the excellence of the artists who contribute to the program.”

John Munro, Director, Arts and Tourism Scotland (1995)

“One of the key strengths of the festival is its ability to continually attract first-time visitors and … a significant proportion of respondents (86%) said that they would visit the venue where they were interviewed again.”

Independent survey and report by Scotinform – market research specialists (1995)

“Fotofeis has established itself as a major international event … a truly excellent platform for the promotion of international art. We got fantastic media coverage for the Quebecois artists in their program. Alasdair Foster is very thorough, energetic and professional and really knows how to exploit the long-term opportunities which the festival presents.”

Colin Hicks, Attaché Cultural, Délégation Général du Québec, London (1995)

“Without doubt, it has been the most useful event I have attended.”

Greg Hobson, Head of Exhibitions, National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, UK (1995)


Behold the Man

Presented in 1987, following five years’ of international research, the historical survey exhibition Behold the Man: the male nude in photography broke new ground in a number of ways:

  • It addressed a sensitive subject in a serious and non-partisan way
  • It drew on a theoretical paradigms of the time but did not hide behind the defences of minority (or majority) politics
  • It took a radical approach to mixing fine art works with imagery from popular culture, science and current affairs
  • It was designed to speak intelligently and accessibly to a wide audience

The exhibition drew record attendances in many of the venues in which it was shown and attracted 50,000 people when presented at the Photographers’ Gallery, London. The accompanying catalogue sold out within a few weeks and was immediately reprinted in a longer run. The exhibition and catalogue have been cited extensively in subsequent research on the subject worldwide.

“An exceptionally interesting exhibition … a focus for essential cultural criticism”

The Scotsman, newspaper (1988)

“This proved to be a more varied and wide-ranging subject than you would ever imagine … It is open of those shows which … offer endless food for thought on the medium”

The Times, newspaper (1988)

“A warm welcome to ‘Behold the Man’… a show that provides some answers to the question of why the male nude remains discreet, concealed beneath city suits, uniforms and even leopard skin.”

Herald Tribune, newspaper (1988)


Globally Connected

Alasdair Foster is a founding member of the International Network of Photography Centres; co-founder the Association of International Photo-festival Directors (now the Festival of Light) and associate of the Asia-Pacific Foto-Forum. He is a member of Oracle (the international photo curators’ group) and a former member of IKT (the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art). He was an international advisor to Fotofo (the photography festival in Bratislava) and, in 2011, he was Academic Consultant to the Pingyao International Photography Festival (the first non-Chinese advisor to China’s largest and longest running photo event).

“During my time on the ACP board it was apparent that Alasdair Foster has his eye on the ‘big picture’ at all times, with the ultimate goal of networking that organisation into the global thought pool.   His ongoing involvement with like-minded organisations, across numerous geographic and cultural boundaries, is testament to his almost uncanny ability to identify and nurture relationships on both a practical and philosophical basis.”

Grant Jackson, General Manager Treasury, Gulf Bank, Kuwait (2012)

“Mr Zhang Guotian, the Chief Artistic Director of the festival, was very grateful to Alasdair Foster for his advice as Academic Consultant during the planning and designing of the great hall for the 2011 Academic Exhibition. We had a very positive response to this section of the 2011 event, and a number of people were of the opinion that this was the best exhibition in the eleven-year history of the festival.”

Liu Xiaoxia, Director of the International Program, Pingyao International Photography Festival, China (2011)

“Alasdair Foster has brought the world of contemporary international photography to Australia.”

Professor Peter Fitzpatrick, Chair of Photography, Columbia College, Chicago – formerly of Australian National University (2012) 



Australian Centre for Photography: photo © Mark Stanley
Fotofeis (left to right): © estate of Nat Finkelstein, © Satish Sharma, news clippings, 1995 catalogue, © Lennart Nilsson
Behold the Man (from left to right):
Hippolyte Bayard Self-portrait as a Drowned Man 1840
Eadweard Muybridge detail from Plate 62 of Animal Locomotion 1887
Fred Holland Day Crucifixion 1898
Angus McBean Self-portrait as Neptune (Christmas Card) 1939 © Estate of the photographer
© George Dureau Wilbert Hines 1977
Ian Bradshaw Streaker at Twickenham 1974 © The photographer and The Sunday Mirror

  • 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.