Elena Ochoa, Lady Foster

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Elena Ochoa, Baroness Foster of Thames Bank (born Elena Fernández-Ferreiro López de Ochoa; 1958) is a Spanish publisher and art curator, and formerly a professor of psychopathology. She is the founder and chief executive officer of Ivorypress.

Ochoa Foster at Ivorypress


Elena Ochoa Foster was a Tenure Professor in Psychopathology at the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) for almost two decades. She was Honorary Professor at King's College London (UK) until 2001. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to undertake postdoctoral studies at the University of Illinois Chicago (USA) and the University of California, Los Angeles (USA). Other scholarships took her to the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and the University of Cambridge (UK), among others. During her academic career she has been a Visiting Professor and Researcher in Psychopathology at several universities, both in Europe and the United States. She also worked at RNE and Televisión Española, and was a regular contributor to several national newspapers (El Mundo, El País and El Independiente, among others).

In 1996, in London, Ochoa Foster founded Ivorypress, a private organisation that undertakes publishing and curatorial activities. Their premises include an art gallery, a publishing house and a bookshop focusing on photography, architecture and contemporary art. She remains its Chief Executive Officer.

Ochoa Foster has curated international exhibitions in close collaboration with the Ivorypress team, including C on Cities (10th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, 2006), Blood on Paper (Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2008), Real Venice (54th Venice Art Biennale, Venice, 2011), Real Venice (Somerset House, London, 2012) and ToledoContemporánea (Fundación El Greco, Toledo, 2014), among others.

Elena Ochoa Foster is a member of MoMA's Library Council and serves on the advisory board of the Prix Pictet photography award. She has been the President of the jury at the Swiss photography award, Alt+1000. She is part of the board of the Mutual Art Trust. She was the President of the Tate International Council for five years and a member of the Tate Foundation's Board of Trustees, as well as Trustee at the Isamu Noguchi Foundation. Elena Ochoa served on the jury of the Princess of Asturias Awards for its Communication and Humanities category from 2008 to 2010, and served on its Arts category jury from 2013 to 2017. As a patron, she supports a variety of museums and foundations including the Museo del Prado, alongside several international schools of contemporary art and photography, such as Spain's Academy of the Arts and the Cinematographic Sciences.

Ochoa Foster has collaborated on publishing, educational and artistic projects with artists such as Ai Weiwei, Claes Oldenburg, William Kentridge, Maya Lin, Thomas Struth, Cristina Iglesias, Jenny Holzer, Richard Long, Anselm Kiefer, Olafur Elliason, among others. She was executive producer for several documentaries, including How much does your building weigh, Mr. Foster? (2010), Bucky Fuller & Spaceship Earth (2010) and Shooting the Mafia (2019).

From 2021 to 2022, to mark the occasion of Ivorypress’ twenty-fifth anniversary, Elena Ochoa Foster has curated a multi-institutional exhibitions programme involving museums and libraries across Europe and the United States. Participating institutions include the Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid, Spain), the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford (UK), the British Library (London, UK), the Centro de Iniciativas Culturales at the Universidad (Sevilla, Spain), Kettle’s Yard at the University of Cambridge (UK), Museo de Bellas Artes (Bilbao, Spain) Museo Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain) Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain), the Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), the Neues Museum (Berlin Germany), Stanford University Libraries (California, USA), The Warburg Institute (London, UK) and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven (USA).

She serves as part of the Board of Trustees of the Serpentine Gallery (London, UK) as well as being the Chair of its International Council since 2017. Since 2016, she has served as a Correspondent Academician in Switzerland for the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Madrid, Spain). She has also been a Member of the Organising Committee of the Golden Trezzini Awards for Architecture and Design (St. Petersburg, Russia) since 2021. Elena Ochoa Foster is VicePresident and Trustee of the Norman Foster Foundation in London and Madrid. She is as well part of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Norman Foster Foundation.


Elena Ochoa, Lady Foster is on the list of Forbes Magazine as one of the most influential women in Spain.

She has received several awards throughout her academic and media career, as well as professional accolades for her work as a publisher, film producer and curator.

Academic and Media Career

  • National Award for Scientific Research. Entidad Abelló, Spain, 1984
  • Joint Spanish-American Committee, Fulbright Scholarship, Spain, 1985.
  • Research Grant, Veterans Administration and the National Institute of Mental Health, USA, 1986.
  • Research Grant, National Fund for the Development of Scientific and Technological Research, Spain 1988.
  • European Award for Mass Media and Television, Premio Ondas, Spain, 1990.
  • National Prize of the Royal College of Psychology for the Best Communication in Mass Media. 1991, 1993 and 1995.

Film Producer Career

How much does your building weigh, Mr. Foster?:

  • TCM Audience Award for Best Documentary at the European Film Festival in San Sebastian, Spain, 2010
  • First Prize of the Jury of Docville International Documentary Festival, Leuven, Belgium, 2010
  • Best Cinematography Award at the International Documentary section of the Sichuan TV Festival Chinese festival (SCTVF), 2011
  • Nominated for the Goya Awards in the category of Best Documentary, Madrid, Spain, 2011

Shooting the Mafia:

  • Audience Award Brussels International Film Festival, Brussels, Belgium, 2019.
  • Best Documentary Award Batumi International ArtHouse Film Festival, Batumi, Georgia, 2019
  • Guerrilla Staff Award Biografilm Festival, Bologna, Italy, 2019

Publisher and Curator Career

  • Gold Medal Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, USA, 2012
  • Real Fundación de Toledo Award in the 'Curator' category for the exhibition 'ToledoContemporánea', Spain, 2015
  • Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award, Spain, 2016
  • Ibero-American Patronage Award, Spain, 2016

Personal lifeEdit

She is married to the English architect, Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank.[1][2]

She lives and works between Switzerland, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Carpenter, Louise (1 October 2011). "Why Elena Ochoa won't let marriage to Norman Foster slow her down". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Elena Ochoa Foster — 'I am an agitator, to push the artist to go to their limit'". ft.com. 12 April 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.

General referencesEdit

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