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Art Collection Policy

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Section 1 -  Purpose and Scope


(1) The Policy provides a framework for the acquisition, care and management of the University’s Art Collection.


(2) The Policy applies to:

  1. all staff and contractors involved in the management and care of the Art Collection; and
  2. works of art acquired or proposed for acquisition.
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Section 2 - Policy Statement

(3) The Southern Cross University Art Collection enhances the campus experience of students, staff, and visitors to the University.  Public art aligns with teaching and research disciplines and provides opportunities for community engagement with our campuses.

(4) Art Collection management activities are conducted in accordance with the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries and the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Protocols

Collection themes and scope

(5) The University acquires, commissions, and retains outstanding works of art by contemporary Australian artists, with a focus on works by:

  1. artists with strong ties to the University’s campus regions, the University or its predecessor institutions;
  2. students acquired through acquisitive prizes;
  3. current or past staff, and alumni with a significant existing artistic practice;
  4. contemporary, living Australian artists, including works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

(6) The University acquires, commissions, and retains traditional visual artistic media, such as painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and works on paper. Sculptural and ceramic works will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

(7) The Art Collection includes portraits of people of specific significance to the University and a collection of Artists’ books.

(8) Artworks proposed for the Collection will also be assessed according to:

  1. Significance: Items that are significant for their historic, aesthetic, or social/spiritual value
  2. Condition: Items in good condition, suitable for research or display and not requiring extensive conservation work or unreasonable storage requirements
  3. Relevance: Items that enhance the collection themes or align with the University’s teaching and learning objectives and research strengths
  4. Rarity and representativeness: Rare examples or excellent representations of a particular kind of item
  5. Uniqueness: Items that do not duplicate works already in the collection
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Section 3 - Procedures


(9) The Collection Advisory Committee advises the Vice President (Future Students and Outreach) and is responsible for making recommendations relating to:

  1. the acquisition and commission of new works;
  2. the acceptance of donations of art works;
  3. proposals for public art installations; and
  4. the deaccessioning and disposal of works.

(10) The Collection Advisory Committee is comprised of:

  1. Vice President (Future Students and Outreach); (Chair)
  2. Director, Library Services;
  3. Discipline Chair, Creative Arts, or nominee; and
  4. Other members co-opted as required.

(11) The Vice President (Future Students and Outreach) is responsible for ensuring the acquisition and acceptance of donations of art works in managed in accordance with Schedule A, Delegation Rule, and the Procurement Policy.

(12) Library staff are responsible for:

  1. Managing the Art Collection, including accessioning, storing, and lending works;
  2. Liaising with other University work units for the purposes of valuation, significance assessment and insurance; and 
  3. Liaising with the Events Team to display the University's digital artwork via digital technologies on campus. 

(13) Property Services are responsible for safely transporting and installing works in and between campus locations.


(14) The University collects works of art by purchase, commission, gift, donation, or exchange with other collecting institutions.

(15) Clear legal title is required for all art works acquired. Title will be passed to the University and not to any individual or organisation unit. If clear title cannot be provided, the proposed acquisition should not proceed.

(16) The history of the artwork must be known, and associated documentation and supporting material provided to confirm provenance.

(17) Copyright in each of the art works will remain the property of the artist.

(18) The University recognizes and is committed to protecting the Indigenous Cultural and Property rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples. The University will only accept items by or about Aboriginal people in consultation with the Aboriginal community. The University will ensure that appropriate cultural and legal permissions are given for acquisition, commission, preservation, display and access to artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

(19) Gifts to the University Art Collection will be encouraged, where they meet the University’s assessment criteria. The gift of an artwork can be made:

  1. as a direct (or unencumbered) donation;
  2. as a bequest; 
  3. as a donation through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. 

(20) To qualify as a charitable donation, a gift of art work must be made to the University Art Collection in accordance with this Policy and the Gift Acceptance Policy, and comply with the Tax Office valuation regulations.

(21) All art works approved for acquisition or commission will be formally accessioned into the University Art Collection.

Collection care

(22) The Art Collection will normally be displayed in the University’s buildings in secure, publicly accessible spaces. Significant works of art will generally be displayed in areas that meet suitable artistic, safety and environmental standards. Site-specific works of art or works may be installed or displayed within the University's buildings and grounds.

(23) Library staff will facilitate the loan of works. Loans may be made to University staff for display on campus. Loans may be made to external stakeholders for display in exhibitions.

(24) Works will be inspected annually. Valuation and significance assessment will be undertaken every three years.

(25) The management and display of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection items will comply with the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Protocols. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities may exercise a Right to Reply to enhance, correct, update, critique or withdraw cultural items in collections.

Deaccessioning and disposal

(26) Deaccessioning and disposal of items from the Art Collection may be carried out in the interests of collection maintenance and development.

(27) The Collection Advisory Committee will review and recommend the deaccession and disposal of art works from the Art Collection.

(28) Works may be deaccessioned based on one or more of the following criteria:

  1. No or low relevance to the Collection’s themes and scope;
  2. low artistic merit;
  3. duplication;
  4. theft or loss;
  5. damage or serious deterioration in condition;
  6. repatriation of cultural material or in response to a withdrawal request;
  7. unreasonable or unsustainable long-term conservation costs which outweigh the value of the work;
  8. absence of clear legal title, provenance or Indigenous Cultural and Property rights;
  9. a request to return the work to the Aboriginal, Torres Strait or other community group from which it came.

(29) The University will dispose of items in a manner appropriate to the collection and the cultural value of those items. Approved methods of disposal include:

  1. return to original donor (unless the item was acquired under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program).
  2. transfer to another public collecting institution.
  3. sale by public auction (unless the item was acquired under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program).
  4. destruction if the item is unsafe, has deteriorated beyond repair or is unwanted by the original donor and unable to be sold or transferred.

(30) Works identified for disposal other than destruction will be assessed by a recognized valuer and supported by a conservation report.

(31) Records and photographs will be retained of deaccessioned works.

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(32) This Policy should be implemented in accordance with:

  1. Procurement Policy
  2. Gift Acceptance Policy
  3. Delegations Rule
  4. National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries
  5. Aboriginal Arts and Culture Protocols