Curating 101

45 – 60 minutes plus questions 
(90 minutes with sequential translation)
the lecture can be broken down for sequential translation

Unlike work presented in the format of an album or book, an exhibition is a journey into space. That space itself becomes a field of interpretation in which affect and meaning resonate. This lecture explores the role of curatorial practice in the effective presentation of objects and images in an environment.

A curator is an intermediary between the artist and the audience. It is not their role to determine the responses of the viewer, but to engage and encourage their attention so that the slower processes of viewing art – exploring, relating and imagining – can take hold. Using an extended analogy of musical composition and orchestration, Alasdair Foster discusses four key stages in the successful presentation of visual art: concept, sequence, rhythm and resources.

Alasdair Foster has 20 years’ experience heading up national visual arts organisations and over 35 years’ experience of the not-for-profit cultural sector. An award-winning curator, he has organised several hundred exhibitions from large-scale surveys in museums and galleries across Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Americas to presentations in a variety of post-industrial buildings in Russia and China and a virtual reality trek installed within a forest in the Scottish Highlands.

“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

“I very much doubt whether I will ever again experience the same bond with anyone in relation to my work. He is a brave curator with sharp insight who trusts his intuition.”

Trent Parke, Magnum photographer

“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

“Alasdair Foster brought to the project intelligence, diligence, insightfulness and flair. His communication and organisational skills are exemplary. I cannot speak highly enough of this man and his abilities.”

Paul Greenaway OAM, Commissioner for ARCO Australia 2002, Spain

Curating 101

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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.