NAVA receives funding from the Australia Council and Create NSW for a major revision of its Code of Practice

Media Release

Image: Georgia Mokak, NAVA's First Nations Research and Engagement Coordinator facilitates a NAVA roundtable on fair pay, Firstdraft Sydney 2019. Photo by Document Photography.

Image description: Eleven people are seated in a circle in a white room. A speaker box is on a stand in the background. Most of the people have brown hair and they are wearing a mix of tones and colours including black, white, cream, yellow and blue. Three of them are wearing glasses. Some of the participants are looking at Georgia who is seated third from the right. She is smiling.

The National Association for the Visual Arts is pleased to announce $60,000 from the Australia Council and $40,000 from Create NSW will support NAVA’s major project Ambitious & Fair: a new, national Code of Practice for the visual arts, craft and design sectors

“Stakeholder engagement is essential to designing a new Code that is practical and useful for the sector,” said Penelope Benton, Acting CEO.

“This funding will assist NAVA to develop this comprehensive and accessible resource by employing a ‘payment-for-consultation’ model that centres the diversity of our arts communities and pays them directly as advisers, designers and co-authors.”

“NAVA respects the deep knowledges held by the sector. It's important that we financially acknowledge the time and labour required from a range of specific, lived experiences of people to contribute to this work.”

“With funding secured from the Australia Council for national consultation, the support from Create NSW means we can properly engage the NSW arts sector to contribute to this comprehensive revision of the Code.”

“We are hoping to secure similar arrangements in the other states and territories to support the direct payment of independent practitioners to participate actively in discussions and revisions to their own work standards and national working conditions.” 

The NAVA Code of Practice was originally published in 2001 following a four year research project. It sets national best practice standards for the sector, providing a set of practical and ethical guidelines for the conduct of business between art, craft and design practitioners and galleries, agents, dealers, retailers, buyers, sponsors and partners, commissioners, employers and the managers of residencies, workshops, competitions, prizes and awards, and more. 

“To date, NAVA has been working incrementally towards some key revisions, but progress is slow without discrete resourcing for paid consultation, co-authoring of key texts and implementation strategies to help people understand and use the new Code.”

“The dramatic effects of the COVID pandemic on the arts sector have only made these revisions to the NAVA Code of Practice more urgent.”

“Once implemented, this important resource will more accurately reflect the contemporary practices and needs of Australian artists and arts workers, and further promote the development of a robust arts ecology that can sustain and support artists’ careers while preparing organisations, institutions and policymakers for working with, and for, artists in financially transparent, culturally competent and ethical ways.”

“The new Code will be launched in 2022, supported by implementation strategies to ensure these new standards are pro-actively adopted by artists, organisations, institutions and policymakers.”

Last month, NAVA’s academic partners at RMIT School of Art received an ARC Linkage Project grant of $328,000 over three years to undertake Ambitious and Fair: Strategies for a sustainable visual arts sector. This is a supplementary project to the Code revision which recognises the industry’s increasingly precarious work conditions. 

“In a context where artists’ incomes are low and falling, public galleries and universities face funding challenges, and commercial galleries are financially vulnerable, our research project will address barriers to the sector’s economic health and the challenge of improving artists’ incomes,” said Dr Marnie Badham, Acting Research Group Leader, CAST Contemporary Art and Social Transformation, RMIT University. 

“This collaborative work with NAVA, AMaGA and the University of Melbourne will propose interventions for the arts industry and government policy to improve and develop the arts ecosystem.”

NAVA congratulates all funding recipients announced this week.

For more information about the Code of Practice revision visit Revising the Code of Practice: A Collaborative Plan.