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Art Collection Policy

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Section 1 - Policy Statement

Part A - Policy Declaration

(1) This Policy sets out the principles, controls and processes for managing the University Art Collection.

(2) The University Art Collection enhances the cultural and everyday experience of students, staff and visitors to the University.

(3) Public Art supports both teaching and research, but also provides connections with our local communities and opportunities for community engagement with our campuses.

Part B - Policy Description


(4) The Policy aims to:

  1. assist in developing the Art Collection into a serious collection of works of art of the highest artistic standards;
  2. support the capacity for research in the creative arts by developing a reference collection of high artistic and cultural value;
  3. detail clear and transparent processes and procedures for the acquisition, commission, storage, maintenance, loan, display and de-accession of items in the Art Collection.
  4. provide guidelines for proposals for permanent or temporary installations of public art on campus.


(5) This Policy applies across the University.

(6) This Policy applies to all artworks acquired, commissioned or lent to the University including, but not limited to drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, multimedia, murals, sound art and printmaking, both of a permanent or temporary nature.

Part C - Content and Implementation

(7) The Art Collection will generally be displayed within the libraries, offices, and within secure, publicly accessible spaces. Significant works of art will generally be displayed in areas with high visibility and high security, such as the libraries. Display areas will be publicly accessible (at times), and meet suitable artistic, safety and environmental standards.

(8) All artworks in the collection belong to the University and not to individual staff members or work units.

(9) The University will respect the religious, cultural and spiritual sanctions and conditions attached to artworks of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island origin.

(10) All artworks acquired or commissioned for the University Art Collection must be within the terms of this Policy.

(11) Two groups will oversee the management of the University Art Collection.

  1. The Collection Advisory Committee ("the Committee") manages decisions around acquisition and commission of new works, donations of works; proposals for public art installations, and deselection of works.
  2. The University Library manages the collection, including the management of the acquisitions and commissions budget, cataloguing and lending of suitable works via the Library Management System.

(12) The University will comply with all relevant State and Commonwealth legislative requirements.

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Section 2 -  Procedures

Collection Advisory Committee

(13) The Committee will be directly responsible to the Vice Chancellor.

(14) The purpose of the Committee will be to:

  1. consider and provide feedback on proposals for public art projects from within the University and externally;
  2. recommend to the Vice Chancellor acquisitions, commissions, loans and gifts for the University Art Collection;
  3. recommend to the Vice Chancellor the de-accession of artworks or the removal of public art projects;
  4. review the criteria for acquisition and recommend changes to the Vice Chancellor as necessary from time to time;
  5. recommend to the Vice Chancellor an annual budget for the acquisition and commission of works, maintenance and repair of the collection, and for valuation fees as necessary;
  6. recommend long term policy and strategic development for the University Art Collection and public artworks on campus.

(15) Members of the Committee will be appointed by the Vice Chancellor and will include:

  1. Vice President (Engagement), (Chair);
  2. Director, Library Services;
  3. Discipline Chair, Creative Arts or nominee;
  4. Two members with a background in the creative arts appointed for a two-year term which may be renewed for a further two-year term. At least one member will be appointed from the University's creative arts academic staff. Members may be external to the University.

(16) Other members may be co-opted as required from time to time.

(17) The Committee will meet at least once a year, or when required.

(18) The University Library will maintain the administrative records of the Committee.

(19) Members of the Committee will declare any conflict of interest or involvement they may have with any proposal for the purchase or donation of a work for the Collection.

The University Library

(20) The University Library will:

  1. manage the University Art Collection, including the storage of works, management of loans of works to University libraries, offices and public spaces on campus via the Library Management System;
  2. manage the budget for the acquisition, commission  and maintenance of the collection;
  3. liaise with other University work units for the purposes of valuation and insurance;
  4. manage the University's digital artwork via the Discovery Walls at the Lismore and Gold Coast campuses;
  5. manage the loan of works and exhibitions in the gallery spaces within the University libraries; and
  6. manage the loan of University works to galleries on request.

Part D - Acquisitions/Commission

(21) The University collects works of art by purchase, commission, gift, donation or exchange with other public collections.

Criteria for Acquisition/Commission

(22) Works of demonstrable excellence by artists of significance, including regional or artists who have an important connection to the University or its antecedents.

(23) Site-specific works of art or works suitable for the display conditions of sites within the University's buildings and grounds.

(24) Works of significance for the purpose of developing identified research and reference collections and which reflect the cultural aspirations of the University.

(25) Works of art which contribute to the general congruence of the collection.

(26) Lifespan of works will be considered, as will ongoing maintenance.

Acquisitions Procedures and Agreements

(27) All works of art proposed for acquisition or commission must be approved by the Vice Chancellor on a recommendation by the Committee, prior to acquisition or commission.

(28) The Committee, when recommending art works to be acquired, will bear in mind the management and resource implications of accepting loans, gifts or purchases and the financial and legal implications of accepting improperly valued loans or gifts or improperly priced purchases.

(29) Legal advice must be obtained from the University Legal Office for art work acquisitions. Clear legal title is required for all art works permanently acquired. If clear title cannot be provided, a proposed acquisition should not proceed. Title will pass to the University and not to any individual or organisation unit.

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

(31) At the time of purchase or commission, the University will request permission to create and publish images of the artwork.

(32) All art works approved for acquisition/commission by the Vice Chancellor will be formally accessioned into the University Art Collection.


(33) Gifts to the University Art Collection will be encouraged.

(34) 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.

(35) The Committee will have the right to accept or refuse such offers of gifts as they occur.

(36) The Committee reserves the right to deal with or dispose of donated works as appropriate should circumstances change.

Collection Management

(37) The University Library is responsible for preserving and documenting the collection. All collection items will be regularly inspected. All items are assigned a unique accession number.

(38) The University Art Collection will be maintained and displayed in accordance with the standards and conventions of art conservation, handling, storage and recordkeeping.

(39) Works of art from the University Art Collection are available for temporary loan on approval, subject to the borrower's agreement to the conditions specified in the University Collection Loan Agreement Forms via the Library Management System.

(40) Collection loan requests will be made through the Director, Library Services who will endeavour to accommodate requests.  However, the Director, Library Services reserves the right to locate works in the University where deemed appropriate and as approved or recommended by the Committee.

(41) Works of art on display must not be moved without prior approval from the Director, Library Services.  Works will be moved by Property Services.

(42) The display of privately owned works of art are not recognised as being a part of the University Art Collection and are the responsibility of the individual owner.

De-accessioning Art Works

(43) De-accessioning and disposal of items from the University Art Collection will be carried out in the interests of collection maintenance and development.

(44) The University Art Collection will be subject to periodic review in order to assess its relevance to this Policy. Works will be considered on a case-by-case basis for de-accessioning based on the following criteria:

  1. irrelevance to the University Collection;
  2. low artistic merit;
  3. duplication;
  4. theft or loss, damage or serious deterioration in condition;
  5. the possibility of upgrading by exchange;
  6. repatriation of cultural material;
  7. conservation and maintenance of a work causes an unreasonable strain on the assets of the collection, the cost of long-term care for a work outweighs its value, and a work endangers other works in the collection;
  8. absence of clear legal title; 
  9. unsuitability for either the identified research collections or exhibition/display purposes; and
  10. likelihood to cause serious offence or bring the University into disrepute.

(45) The Committee is responsible for recommending the disposal of art works from the University Art Collection, as and when appropriate, for approval by the Vice Chancellor.

(46) The University will observe all legal, cultural or related issues in relation to disposal. Consideration will be given to any special conditions attached to works acquired through bequest, donation or as a part of a larger collection.

(47) The University will dispose of items in a manner beneficial to the collection and the cultural value of those items. Disposal may include sale, exchange, gift or destruction. Only non-profit and other public institutions may receive the gift of a de-accessioned work. Destruction of an item will be considered only if the item is dangerous or has deteriorated beyond repair.

(48) Monies received from de-accessioning and disposal of works will be used to purchase other works for the collection.

(49) De-accessioning and disposal will be initiated and undertaken by Property Services, following endorsement from the Committee and approval from the Vice Chancellor.

(50) Recommendations for de-accessioning must be made to the Committee, in writing and include recommended method of disposal. Works identified for disposal other than destruction will be valued by a recognised valuer and supported by a conservation report.

(51) Records and photographs will be retained of the de-accessioned work. The University Library will be responsible for maintaining records and documentation of the de-accessioned work to the University Asset Register and University Art Collection records.

(52) De-accessioning and disposal of items from the University Art Collection may only occur with the written approval of the Vice Chancellor.