You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Nicola Foster

Dr Nicola Foster

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined the OU as an Associate Lecturer on the MA in Art History in 2004 with an academic background in art history, art practice and philosophy from the Open University, Goldsmiths College London and the University of Essex. I was Course Leader for art history and Gallery Studies at the University of Suffolk and later also Course Leader of Photography. I have been actively involved in the debate that led to the establishment of 'practice-based' research which led me to supervise PhD research students at the University of the Arts, London and later also at other institutions and as External Examiner of PhD students. I was a founding member of the Editorial Board of Women's Philosophy Review and the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Artistic Research (JAR). I served on the AHRC Peer Review College and was a Panel B member from 2007-2016. From 2011 to 2017 I served on the Executive of the Association for Art History.

My research interests focus on gender and ethnicity in art history, mostly in the modern and contemporary period. I am currently working on contemporary art in East and South East Asia in the context of debates on the temporality of the contemporary, history, identity, cultural difference, cultural exchanges and issues of globalisation. I take the above to be part of a wider set of issues which are social and political hence my research area includes art institutions, exhibitions, exhibitions' history and curatorial practices as well as the art market and the role of collectors.


Recent publications


Books and chapters

'Re-Enacting The Rent Collection Courtyard in Venice and beyond', in Re-Enactment, Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, (eds) Cristina Baladacci and Susanne Franco, University of Turin Press (forthcoming)

'Globalisation, Human Labour and the Poetics of the Sea: Alan Sekula and Ai Weiwei' in Hybrid Marines, (eds) Bryan Biggs and Gabriel Gee, (forthcoming)

'Contemporaneity as Curatorial Practice: Three Exhibitions of "Black Models"; as Modernity', in eds. Handberg, K. Hansen, M. Madsen, B. Routledge (forthcoming)

Foster, N. 2018 (forthcoming). Chapter 'Drawing/writing: Constructing an Artistic Female Genealogy Through Commemoration of Nushu' in Christophe Comentale et Marie Laureillard (eds), Passages entre écritures et images dans le monde chinois moderne.

Foster, N. 2018 (forthcoming). Chapter 'The Gift: Uli Sigg and the Emerging Chinese Contemporary Art Canon' in Orient Extrême: regards croisés sur les collections modernes et contemporaines, (Far East: Crossed Views on Modern and Contemporary Collections) eds. Marie Laureillard & Cléa Patin. France,’Harmattan L’Univers esthétique” (The Aesthetic Universe) directed by Véronique Alexandre Journeau.

Foster, N. 2011. Chapter ‘Anthropology, Mythology and Art: Reading Beuys Through Heidegger’ in Beuysian Legacies in Ireland and Beyond: Art, Culture and Politics, ed. Lerm-Hayes LIT Verlag as part of the European Studies in Culture and Policy series, 2011

Foster, N. 2010. Chapter ‘Aesthetic Hybridity and the Dominance of the Visual’  in P. di Bello and G. Koureas (eds.) 2010, Art, History and the Senses, Ashgate

Florence, P. and Foster, N. 2000. Differential Aesthetics: Art Practices, Philosophy and Feminist Understandings, Ashgate.

Florence, P. and Foster, N. 2000. Special Issue on Aesthetics for Women’s Philosophy Review, No.25 Autumn.


Refereed Articles and Reviews

'Nushu in Translation: Visual Art and Dance',' Journal of Art in Translation, (Taylor & Francis), Volume 11, issue 4, (393-416), February 2020

'Re-Staging Difference: Re-staging Origin' Journal for Curatorial Studies, Intellect, Volume 8 issue 2, (232-258), Nov 2019

'The Art Market and Politics: The Case of the Sigg Collection';, Journal for Art Market Studies, May 2019

Foster, N. 2016. ‘Chineseness’: The work of Lo Yuenyi in Memory of the Women of Nushu, Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, vol. 3 issue 1&2, 131-152.

Foster, N. 2013. 'Fem Phil' review of Sandford's Plato and Sex for Radical Philosophy, November issue.

Foster, N. 2008. ‘The Eurydice Complex’ review of Matrixial Borderspace for Radical Philosophy January issue.

Foster, N. 2008. 'Photography and the Gaze: The Ethics of Vision Inverted', Parallax Vol 47, 78-92.

Foster, N. 2006. Photography as social Archaeology: Riga’ article and photographs Street Signs Autumn 2006, published by the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths College

Foster, N. 2005. Book Review of Gender and Aesthetics, by Carolyn Korsmeyer British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 45, no 3, 312-314.

Foster, N. 2004. Book Review of The Continental Aesthetic Reader (ed. Clive Cazeaux), Women's Philosophy Review.

Foster, N. 1999. ‘Boundaries of Sight and Touch: Memoirs of the Blind and the Caressed’ (Re-Reading Drawing(s): Derrida, Irigaray and Nancy Spero), Conference paper given at Loughborough University, September 1999. Published in (CD format) Drawing Across Boundaries, ed. Judith Mottram, LUSAD, 2000. Now also published on-line in Tracey

Florence, P. and Foster, N. 2016. Review Article on Feminism and Tradition in Aesthetics, eds. P.Z. Brand and C. Korsmeyer Women’s Philosophy Review no. 19.

Foster, N. 1998. Review of Body-and Image-Space: Re-Reading Walter Benjamin by S. Weigel. Women’s Philosophy Review, No. 18.

Foster, N. 1997. ‘On Husserl’, Women’s Philosophy Review, no. 17.


Selected Conference Papers

‘Towards an Aesthetics of Difference’ Writing Aesthetics, International Association of Philosophy and Literature, May 2003, University of Leeds

‘Art, Truth and Gender in Heidegger’s Late works’, Aesthetics and Politics, University of Essex, September 2003, Society for European Philosophy

‘Philosophy and the Work of Art: Aesthetics, History and Gender’,  Discovering Aesthetics, July 2004, University College Cork, Ireland

‘Emotions and the Visual: Conception and Reception of Visual Art’, Annual Conference of the Association of Art Historians, University of Bristol 2005

‘Rethinking Aesthetics: performance and the Object’ Relics of Performance, University of Ulster, Belfast, April 2005

‘The Ethics of Performance: Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic’ in East 05: Ethics into Aesthetics, August/October 2005, Norwich School of Art and Design

‘The Ethics of Aesthetic Terror: Levinas and Heidegger on Art’, Annual Conference of the Society for European Philosophy, University of Reading, Sep 2005

‘The Use of Philosophy in Art and the use of art in philosophy’ in Uncertainty in Philosophy: The Learning Experience and Research, Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford, 29th October 2005

‘Aesthetic Hybridity and the Dominance of the Visual’, Annual Conference of the Association of Art Historians, University of Leeds, 5-7 April 2005

Respondent and Chair of the Round Table at the Photography Postgraduate Research Conference, University of Wales, Newport July 2006

Conference co-organiser and Chair of Round Table: Goldsmiths College, London and the Society for Women in Philosophy: Philosophy, Feminism, Art and Society, Nov 2006

‘Photography in the process of globalisation: a new form of (post-) colonialisation or the practice through which difference can emerge?' Dublin School of Art and Design 27th June – 29th June 2007

'Photography: the Materiality of the Event of Art?' the Association of Art Historians University of Glasgow, April 2010

'Transnational Flows in European Fine Art Education 1900-2000' Association of Art Historians University of Reading April 2013

'The Rhythm of East West Dialogues in the work of three Thai Contemporary Artists' – Annual Conference AAH Reading 2013

'Conceptual Writing: A Word and Image Continuum' to be presented at the CAA annual conference Chicago 2014

'Towards The Construction of an Alternative 'Chineseness' in the work of Yueni Lo' – Indirect Speech, 'Chineseness' in Contemporary Art Discourse and Practice, Art Market, Curatorial Practices and Creative Process, Lisbon 16-19th of March 2015

'Thailand and China at the Venice Biennale'. London, Senate House, The Venice Biennale and the Art Market 3-5 February 2016

'Thailand and China at the Venice Biennale'. London, Senate House, The Venice Biennale and the Art Market 3-5 February 2016

'Contemporary art Collectors and Emerging art Canon: the Case of Uli Sigg'. Lyon, ESN & Muse des Confluences. The Far East: Collectors and Collections today, 23-24 March 2016

'Two Exhibitions: The Shanghai Biennial and Guangzhou Triennial. University of Edinburgh' (AAH annual conference). Co-Convenor of the AAH Session: The City in the Biennial. 7-9 April 2016

'The case of Uli Sigg: Collector, Agent, Advisor and Promoter of Contemporary Chinese Art'. Warburg Institute, University of London, Collecting and Display: The Art market, Collectors and Agents: Then and Now 13 July 2016

'China Dream meeting another Dream: the case of Uli Sigg'. University of Stockholm, Exploring the China Dream.15-16 August 2016

'The Promise of Art for an Urban Future'. Imagining the Future: Community Innovation and Social Resilience in Asia. The Chinese University of Hong Kong. 20-23 February 2017

'Gender and Patronage: 3 Women Collectors of Contemporary Chinese Art'. With Sylvia Schlegel. University of Loughborough, 6th April 2017

'The “Opacity” of Contemporary Chinese Art Histories' (AAH Annual Conference) University of Loughborough, 8th April 2017

'The Contemporaneity of Nushu in the work of three artists: Tan Dun, Helen Lai and Yuenyi Lo', The Contemporary Contemporary, Aarhus Denmark, 16th-18th June 2017

Re-Staging the Rent Collection at the 48th Venice Biennale: Re-thinking Temporality, CAA Los Angeles (USA) 2018