Menu

Codes of Practice

The Code of Practice

The Code of Practice for the Professional Australian Visual Arts, Craft and Design Sector is the national best practice standards for the sector. The Code provides a set of practical and ethical guidelines for the conduct of business between art/craft/design practitioners and galleries, agents, dealers, retailers, buyers, sponsors and partners, commissioners, employers and the managers of residencies, workshops, competitions, prizes and awards.

The Code is an essential professional tools for the negotiation of contracts, agreements and entry conditions, and for the explanation of the business protocols and procedures of the visual arts, craft and design sector.

This fifth edition of the Code builds upon the first, second and third editions and includes a number of updates and revisions. NAVA continues to update the Code of Practice as an online tool for the visual arts sector.

Using the Code

CoP

Code of Practice

The information in this Code is not intended as legal advice. Users are advised to seek independent legal advice in relation to their specific circumstances.

For issues not covered by law, the Code of Practice for the Professional Australian Visual Arts, Craft and Design Sector present a set of best practice standards for the industry which can be used as the basis for negotiation between practitioners and those with whom they deal professionally.

Chapter 1: Commercial Galleries and Retail Outlets

This chapter takes you through the best practice guidelines for full commercial gallery representation, singular or one-off exhibition opportunities, selling your work through retail outlets or the internet , working with agents, private collectors and the roles and responsibilities that practitioners and the industry should adhere to.

Chapter 2: Public Institutions and Events

These guidelines have been drawn from research undertaken for the project Best Practice for Artists and Publicly Funded Galleries. The research focused on three specific areas: best practice for non-selling curated exhibitions; best practice where work is sold either from an exhibition or through a museum or gallery shop; and best practice in the form of a code of ethics for gallery staff.

Chapter 3: Commissioning Art in the Public Space

Practitioners often are contracted to undertake complex public art commissions where the commissioner contracts directly with the practitioner to conceive, develop and make an original work or works for an agreed fee. This chapter sets out the best practice standards for public art commissioning for both the artist and the commissioner.

Chapter 4: Special Purpose Commissioning

Practitioners fulfil commissions in increasingly diverse ways. Commissions range from large, complex commissions to small, personal commissions where the commissioner contracts directly with the practitioner to conceive, develop and make an original work or works for an agreed fee. This chapter sets out the best practice standards for special purpose commissioning for both the artist and the commissioner.

Chapter 5: Residencies and Workshops

Residencies and workshops represent a significant means of employment and professional development for many practitioners, arts managers, academics and scholars. Residencies provide practitioners with access to space within an area of some kind of artistic production, such as an art school, studio complex, or artist's retreat. This chapter outlines the relationships between residencies and host institutions and will assist artists in organising and maximising their residency experience.

Chapter 6: Competitions, Awards, Prizes and Fundraising Exhibitions

These guidelines, for Australian competitions, awards, prizes and fundraising exhibitions, explore in detail the conditions that professional practitioners should be mindful of before entering. These guidelines can also act as a checklist for ethical practice by organisers and sponsors.

Chapter 7: Fees and Wages

This section outlines a schedule of pay rates for five broad categories of work in the arts sector - studio practitioners, public artists, media artists, practitioners in complementary roles and arts administrators. Also included are casual lecturing and tutorial rates for universities, and fee scales and guidelines for loan fees. It also highlights copyright fees as suggested by Viscopy/Copyright Agency, and fees for reproductions of illustrators, freelance and prose anthology rates published by the Australian Society of Authors and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

Chapter 8: Intellectual Property and Other Practitioner Rights

The purpose of this part of the Code is to provide basic information to all users of the Code on copyright, moral rights, resale royalty, equal opportunity and freedom of expression, and to point to further sources of information and assistance.

Chapter 9: Issues and Protocols Specific to Indigenous Practitioners

While the Code of Practice is intended for the use of all Australian visual and media arts, craft and design professionals, and all those with whom they deal, special matters of cultural protocols and cross-cultural exchange are involved when dealing with Indigenous organisations and practitioners. This is particularly so given the diversity of the sector, which encompasses urban-based Indigenous practitioners through to those living in remote communities. A similar spectrum exists in the organisations dealing with Indigenous art, craft and design, from metropolitan commercial galleries to remote community-based Indigenous art and craft centres.

Chapter 10: Tax

This section of the Code provides an overview of the taxation regimes affecting practitioners and arts professionals. It has been prepared as an introductory guide only. For more information on these detailed requirements, contact the relevant government authorities or an accountant.

Chapter 11: Insurance

This section of the Code provides an overview of insurance options and obligations affecting practitioners and arts professionals. It has been prepared as an introductory guide only. For more information on these detailed requirements, contact the relevant government authorities or an insurance broker.

Chapter 12: Workplace Health and Safety

This section of the Code provides an overview of Work Health and Safety (WHS) obligations affecting practitioners and arts professionals. It has been prepared as an introductory guide only. For more information on these detailed requirements, contact the relevant state authorities.

Research Methodology

The original research for this Code was done through the Visual Arts Industry Guidelines Research Project* with funding from the Australian Research Council and an additional contribution by the Australia Council. This section provides you with the updated research methodology for developing the Code and also acknowledges the contributions of previous editors, project managers, funders and contributors.

The Code of Practice is:

A national standard and since the Code was first published in 2001, it has set national standards of best practice for professional engagement that have been formally endorsed by over 20 peak organisations across the Australian visual arts and craft sector and applied by many other organisations and individuals. The Code has redressed the previous lack of regulation, legislation and agreed best practice standards operating in many parts of the sector. It aims to form the basis for the development of policy and legislation, to operate as a practical users' guide, to define the underlying ethical principles for the conduct of art/craft business and to be broadly representative of all professional stakeholders in the visual arts and craft sector excluding designers, auction houses and art educators.

The Code cannot possibly cover every permutation of the artist/craft practitioner's work relationships. The guidelines may fall short of being fully comprehensive but are flexible enough to be useful and adaptable to different circumstances.

The Code is a dynamic rather than a static document and NAVA will continue to make changes as appropriateto reflect the needs and changes occurring within the sector.

Other Codes

Indigenous Protocols - Valuing Art, Respecting Culture

Valuing Art, Respecting Culture: Protocols for Working with the Australian Indigenous Visual Arts and Craft Sector was written by Doreen Mellor and Terri Janke, commissioned by NAVA, and funded by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC); the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board; and the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Arts and Museums.

Appropriate ways of working within the Indigenous sector are indicated in the protocol and legal sections of this document. Other sections of the document provide background information and an historical and cultural context for contemporary Indigenous visual arts practice in Australia.

Indigenous Codes of Ethics List

NAVA has compiled a list of relevant ethical code and protocol resources for the Australian Indigenous visual arts. This also includes links to relevant Australian legislation as well as international conventions.


1. Australian Indigenous Visual Arts Codes and Protocols

2. Australian Indigenous Legislation

3. Australian Government Publication

4. International Diversity Conventions, Declarations & Act

5. Articles

Code of Practice for Inter-Cultural Partnerships in Craft & Design

The Code of Practice for Inter-Cultural Partnerships in Craft & Design is a Sangam Project, via the RMIT School of Art, as part of the Art Cities and Transformation group.

These standards of best practice apply to the production of handmade craft that involves a foreign designer. Their aim is to promote practical, equitable, and continuing partnerships involving producers (artisans, suppliers, and workshop managers), developers (designers, retailers) and users (consumers, collectors).

Codes of Ethics List

NAVA has compiled a list of links to relevant codes of ethics and policies adopted by arts organisations both in Australia and overseas. Also included are articles and reports with regards to best practice standards for codes of ethics' policies and practices.


1. Codes Australia

2. Codes International

3. Articles & Reports