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The Australia Council for the Arts has released its protocols for artists working with children.

The protocols address the depiction and employment of children in artworks, exhibitions and publications that receive Australia Council funding.

The protocols include an overview of applicable state and territory laws which form the basis for a set of reasonable minimum standards that will apply to all Australia Council grants from 1 January 2009.

Australia Council chief executive officer Kathy Keele said the protocols will help artists and organisations who work with children do so with proper care and responsibility.

“The Australia Council has addressed many of the issues raised during an extensive consultation process. We received 42 written submissions on the draft protocols that were released in November, and made several changes as a result. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time make comments and contribute to the protocols,” she said.

“We want to help the creative community take appropriate steps when depicting children in artworks, and we believe these protocols strike a good balance between upholding the right to freedom of artistic expression and the rights of children to protection from exploitation.

“The protocols will have no impact on our assessment of artistic excellence through the peer review process. Applicants will tick a box on the application form to indicate whether they plan to work with children. If successful, their contract will confirm the applicants are to comply with the protocols,” Ms Keele said.

The main changes from the draft to the final protocols include:

  • clarifying that images of children in public situations do not require parental consent
  • clarifying the obligations for artists of getting parental consent
  • limiting the paperwork required for documentation
  • limiting the need for Classification Board review of images of naked children only to those created with the involvement of a real child in the last 18 years, not cartoons or drawings or digital creations made entirely from imagination
  • allowing service organisations funded to host websites where artists upload their own images, providing they have a web policy incorporating the key obligations of the protocols.

Read the legal information sheets (from Arts Law Centre of Australia)
National  ACT  NSW  NT  Qld  SA  Tas  Vic  WA

Read background on the consultations



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030

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