NAVA in 2023: A Year of Advocacy

NAVA reflects on a year marked by significant milestones.

As 2023 draws to a close, the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) reflects on a year marked by significant milestones. NAVA’s commitment to championing artists has navigated challenges, celebrated triumphs, and advanced the rights and recognition of visual artists and arts workers.

At the heart of these achievements is the invaluable backing of NAVA's dedicated Membership. Thank you for your contributions to these accomplishments and for supporting NAVA’s ongoing mission to improve the fundamental conditions of work and practice. Join NAVA, renew your Membership and or donate to our advocacy for a sector that is vital, sustainable and ethical. 

Federal Recognition of NAVA's Code of Practice

One of the year’s most noteworthy achievements was the Federal Government’s endorsement of NAVA's Code of Practice for Visual Arts, Craft, and Design. Embedded in the new National Cultural Policy: Revive: a place for every story, a story for every place, this recognition marks a pivotal moment, highlighting the significance of ethical and professional standards in the visual arts.

Influencing Policy and Legislation

NAVA made 16 submissions to government inquiries and consultations. These encompassed topics such as workplace relations reforms, the impacts of artificial intelligence (AI), and the collection and analysis of cultural statistics, among others.

NAVA’s Recognise Art as Work campaign to establish an Award for the visual arts, craft and design sector through the Fair Work Commission placed award coverage and minimum standards for the arts on the government’s agenda. In line with its commitment in Revive, the Federal Government has included consideration of the arts sector as part of the Modern Awards Review. NAVA’s advocacy generated 14 visual arts submissions to the review and we are actively engaging in upcoming hearings with the Fair Work Commission in December 2023 and January 2024.

20 Years of Advocacy Culminates in a Win

After two decades of relentless advocacy, NAVA secured a monumental victory when Workforce Australia announced expanded eligible activities for creative and freelance workers to fulfil mutual obligation requirements. 

Safeguarding Members' Rights

NAVA successfully advocated against major changes to NAVA Members' insurance, addressing reduced coverage and products related to practitioners using an open flame and working at heights. The base level premium for the group package increased in October this year. The NAVA Board approved the delay of embedding this increase into the Membership fee until February 2024. More on that in the new year.

Local Engagement with 'Love Your Local' Toolkit

NAVA launched a toolkit to help artists engage with local government, exploring the many different ways artists can build win-win collaborations with local government, from grants and studio space to professional development, marketing and brokering relationships with businesses.

Commitment to Paying Artists

As the peak body setting best practice standards for the sector, NAVA proudly announced its decision to pay honorariums to voluntary board directors who are artists, independent arts workers, and/or First Nations representatives. NAVA also introduced the Artist and Arts Worker Fee Policy to pay superannuation on fees for independent artists and arts workers for their labour – regardless of legislation.

Empowering the Next Generation

NAVA hosted four ‘Art is a Real Job’ online events, led by artists, to promote the recognition of art as a viable and respected career. The program featured workshops, studio tours and panel conversations focusing on NAVA’s Code of Practice for secondary school students, educators and pre-service educators. 

Leading Good Practice by Example

NAVA launched the NAVA Action Plan 2023-25 in March and its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for January 2023 – January 2024, affirming our commitment to listen, learn, and build ongoing reciprocal relationships with First Nations artists, arts workers, and organisations. Simultaneously, in partnership with Ashurst on a pro bono basis, NAVA has drafted a First Nations Policy which sets a strategic framework for the organisation to recruit, sustain, and support an empowered First Nations workforce within NAVA. We also launched 'Safer Spaces at NAVA' to guide responsible participation in NAVA events and drafted NAVA’s first Disability Action Plan which will undergo consultation in the new year.

Substantial Funding for Program Development

NAVA received a commendable boost in funding, including a $100,000 grant from the Create NSW Arts & Cultural Funding Program, (2022/23 Round 2) and $70,000 from the Queensland Arts Showcase Program (Round 2). This funding is supporting a new program aimed at increasing access, awareness, and application of the Code of Practice. 

NAVA Board Welcomes Artists and Curator

NAVA welcomed acclaimed independent artists Abdul Abdullah and Ryan Presley, and curator Sophia Sambono, to its Board, each bringing a courageous approach to their art practices and a wealth of knowledge across the sector.

Team Evolution

NAVA underwent team changes, bidding farewell to Education Coordinators Alise Hardy and Andree Rugerri due to the exhaustion of Creative Australia Project funds. Later in the year, Robyn Fernandez joined as Queensland Professional Development Coordinator with the support of Arts Queensland and Emma Pham and Donnalyn Xu were promoted to New South Wales Professional Development Coordinator with the support of Create NSW. 

Image credit

Image: Behind the scenes Artist File interview with Nicole Foreshew. Video production by Atypical. Photo by Penelope Benton, 2023.

ID: Photo of Nicole Foreshew sitting on a chair in front of a blue background in a studio speaking into a microphone. In front of her are two film crew seated behind cameras, film lights and a video display.