Education & The Arts

Foster Dickson is a writer, editor, and teacher who lives in Montgomery, Alabama. Foster’s work has centered mainly on subjects related to the American South, multiculturalism, education, and social justice. His teaching experiences have included working with high school students, middle-grade youth in a summer camp, incarcerated men, and college freshmen.

Foster has taught creative writing at an arts magnet high school since 2003, and regularly engages his students in experiential learning projects involving community partnerships or events. Subjects for those projects have included Civil Rights history, genealogical research, tolerance and equality issues, food equality, the state constitution, and restaurant reviewing. Foster has received two Teaching Tolerance grants from the Southern Poverty Law Center, two Gannett Foundation grants, an Artist Teacher Fellowship from the Surdna Foundation (now called the National Artist Teacher Fellowship), a Writer-in-Service Residency from the Lillian E. Smith Center, and a Community Legacy Project grant from the Center for Arts Education at Boston Arts Academy.

Foster was named Secondary Teacher of the Year by both the Montgomery County Board of Education and the Montgomery County Council of PTAs in 2006 – 2007, and he was the Alabama PTA’s Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2009 – 2010. Also in 2009 – 2010, his Artist Teacher Fellowship focused on a year-long research project to explore his home state of Alabama; the resulting blog and podcast series can be found online. In 2012, he was named Distinguished Alumnus by the Liberal Arts department at Auburn University at Montgomery.

From 2009 through 2015, Foster also coordinated education/outreach efforts, including the Student Readers Group program, on the planning committee for the Alabama Book Festival. Most recently, he handled nonfiction book selection for the festivals in 2014 and 2015.

Foster is a member of the Alabama Education Association and attended its Emerging Leaders training in 2013.

Foster’s participation in the arts is not limited to literary work. In high school and college in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Foster did backstage work and some acting at theaters around Montgomery: the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the now-defunct Montgomery Little Theater, Faulkner University’s Dinner Theater, Theatre AUM, Huntingdon College’s now-gone Dungeon Theater, and the historic Davis Theatre. He also had a bit part in the 1988 film Long Walk Home, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek.

Foster has played guitar for about twenty-five years. He can be heard playing lead guitar on the song “500 Miles” on Sarah Elizabeth Whitehead’s CD When the Redbuds Bloom. He also played the introduction music for his “Patchwork” podcasts and on the YouTube videos for that project.

Foster has also done design and layout work for independent book projects, such as school and college literary magazines and works by self-publishing authors.

His YouTube channel (which hasn’t been updated in a long time) contains video montages from his 2009 – 2010 “Patchwork: A Chronicle of Alabama in the New South” project.

Read Foster’s essay, “Writing is Activism,” included in NPR’s This I Believe project in 2007.

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