Code of Practice Revision: Consultations

A progress update on NAVA's revision of the Code of Practice and opportunities to get involved.

Photo by Sia Duff, taken at NAVA's Best Practice: Commissioning Art in Public Space, ACE Open, Adelaide, June 2019. 

[Image description: Photo of a seven people sitting in a circle. A woman with should length dark hair and a bright patterned top is speaking and the others appear to be listening to her. In the background is another group of people sitting in a circle.]

Progress Update

Throughout March, NAVA will roll-out a series of consultation sessions via Zoom. These sessions will focus on topics within the new Principles, Ethics and Rights chapter, which will serve as an introductory section to bolster the ethical framework of the Code. Consultations in March include: Freedom of Expression, Equal Opportunity and Environmental Sustainability. 

This month NAVA will also focus on facilitating a consultation process assisted by Art Centre artists and staff to gather information and perspectives about the challenges Art Centres face when collaborating with others. The feedback gained through this process will form the basis of a new subsection of the Artist Self Organisation chapter called Working with Art Centres. This section aims to provide relevant and useful recommendations for what individuals and organisations should consider, understand and be sensitive to when proposing and engaging in collaborations, projects and partnerships with Art Centres. Ahead of drafting this new content, NAVA will coordinate a series of consultation sessions with peak bodies, organisations and individuals closely connected to Art Centres. These sessions will be facilitated by Terri Janke

Work is also continuing on updating the Fees & Wages schedule of the Code, drawing on feedback collated from NAVA's 2019 draft payment standards, consultations on all other sections over the last couple of years as well as detailed discussions to unpack some of the big questions which are yet to be resolved.

Finally, over the past month NAVA has commissioned a further seven writers for the Code, with new content currently in the process of being drafted. Editing of completed drafts will begin in mid-March. 

Recent Consultations

February 2022 

The Disability Focus Group met at the end of February. The meeting was again facilitated by Canberra based artist and disability activist Daniel Savage and included six artists and arts workers with disability. 

The group discussed the content of the revised Code of Practice regarding residencies and studio programs. The meeting included discussion on:

  • Accessibility information that host organisations could be providing.
  • The need for more time - to apply, to be able to scout the venue, for planning and for outcomes.
  • The need for artists and host organisations to be able to negotiate access, expectations, outcomes.
  • The need for expectations and requirements that a host organisation might have to be a discussion rather than a rigid requirement.
  • Funding considerations such as who pays for access requirements.
  • The ethical considerations of using a building such as a heritage building that will not be accessible to a wide range of people.

March 2022 

In early March, NAVA facilitated a consultation session with a small group of four independent artists to work through a series of questions in relation to Freedom of Expression vs freedom from ethics. 

While appropriating, remixing, and sampling images and media has been common practice for artists over the last century, there is increasing dialogue about the issues with artists using cultural imagery, motifs or styles that are not their own. 

The meeting included discussion on: 

  • Cultural appropriation in art, its shifting nature and why it is a problem. 
  • The line between freedom to express, and infringing on the rights of others. 
  • The responsibilities of exhibiting or commissioning organisations in addressing cultural appropriation or works that do not take into account the cultural safety of communities. 
  • The responsibilities of exhibiting or commissioning organisations to support artists when their work is being ‘attacked’.  
  • Risk management when presenting potentially controversial work. 
  • Acknowledging power imbalance. 
  • Recommendations and resources for organisations, curators, arts workers and artists. 

Upcoming Consultation

Environmental Sustainability Consultation 

2pm AEDT Wednesday 23 March 2022 via Zoom (online)

NAVA will hold a public consultation for the Environmental Sustainability section of the Principles, Ethics and Rights chapter of the Code. This session will include short presentations from two artists and activists working in this space, and will provide an opportunity for participants to share their perspectives and experiences in smaller breakout groups. The session will be facilitated by NAVA who will pose key questions to consider around the responsibilities of our sector, organisations, workplaces and individual practices to reduce our environmental impact. 

Please register your interest via You will relieve a calendar invite with a Zoom link ahead of the session. 

You can find more information about the Code of Practice revision project and the current Code of Practice on the NAVA website. To access the Code of Practice you will need a free login to the NAVA website using an email address and password.

Australia Council and Create NSW logos

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and the NSW Government through Create NSW.