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Art Collection Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

Purpose of Policy

(1) The purpose of this policy is to guide the selection and purchase, and where appropriate, the disposal or sale of artworks and other objects of collectable or intrinsic value for the University of Western Sydney (UWS).

(2) To specify establishment of the UWS Art Aquisition Committee.

(3) To specify establishment and maintenance of a gift fund.


(4) To develop a permanent art collection focused on post -1960 original Australian artworks that will:

  1. enhance the educational, cultural and everyday experience of students, staff and visitors to UWS;
  2. be a teaching and learning resource demonstrating contemporary Australian art practices; and
  3. be promoted internationally, nationally and regionally as a significant social and cultural resource within Greater Western Sydney.

Background to the UWS Art Collection

(5) The previous art collections from the former network members, Hawkesbury, Macarthur and Nepean are now called the UWS Art Collection.

(6) The collection consists of a diverse range of artworks in a variety of media, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, photographs and works on paper by 20th century Australian artists, primarily from the 1960s to the present. The collection also consists of works by local artists from the Hawkesbury, Macarthur and Nepean regions, as well as works by former and current staff and students of UWS. There is also a small selection of works by international artists who participated in artist residencies at UWS.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(7) For the purpose of this policy:

  1. Public Offices - are office areas that are frequently visited by varying members of the general public and not just members of the University Community.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(8) UWS will acquire paintings, original prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures and ceramics of the highest professional standard, and of national and regional significance, with a particular focus on collecting the work of artists with a proven record of practice and development of their art form and who are represented in public collections, or who have received recognition through awards or prizes.

(9) UWS will acquire artworks that fill in gaps and build upon the strengths within the existing collection, including development of a well-balanced representation of the work of individual artists, to create a comprehensive group of contemporary Australian artworks, which in general will date from the 1960s to the present.

(10) To retain recognition as a public art gallery the University must ensure that artworks within the UWS Art Collection are available for viewing by the general public as would be the case if they were held in a library or museum collection. They must be displayed in such a way that viewers engage them as part of the collection of the University. In keeping with this requirement artworks will generally be displayed within UWS Art Galleries, Libraries and public offices and within secure publicly accessible spaces.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Membership of the Art Acquisition committee

(11) The Art Aquisition Committee will be directly responsible to the Vice-Chancellor.

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

  1. recommend to the Vice-Chancellor purchases, loans and gifts for the UWS art collection following the guidelines set out in this policy;
  2. recommend to the Vice-Chancellor the deaccession of artworks following the guidelines set out in this policy; and
  3. review the UWS Art Collection Policy as necessary from time to time.

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

  1. the Vice-Chancellor or nominee (Chair); and
  2. four (4) external members with a background in the Visual Arts.

(14) The Committee will meet twice a year face-to-face and will also meet virtually as required.

(15) Members will be appointed for a two-year term and may be re-appointed for a further two-year term.

(16) The UWS Art Curator will act as Executive Officer to the Committee.

Part B - Acquisition Procedures

(17) Artworks will be acquired for the UWS Art Collection that match the criteria set out in clauses (8) - (9), by purchase, commission, donation, cultural gifts program and bequest.

(18) Funds for purchasing artworks may be provided from a central University fund or may be provided by UWS Divisions, Colleges, Centres or Units.

(19) All artworks proposed for acquisition, whether centrally funded or not, must be approved by the Vice-Chancellor who will consider the recommendations of the Art Aquisition Committee in this regard. Full details of the acquisition will be provided to the Finance Office, supported by documentation confirming the source and the value, for inclusion in the Asset Register.

(20) In the event that an artwork is being acquired for the UWS art collection via an acquisitive award or prize, a panel of judges appointed by the Vice-Chancellor will select the artwork for acquisition by the University. The Vice-Chancellor or nominee will represent UWS on such judging panels, which select artwork for the UWS Art Collection.

(21) Artworks offered on loan or as gifts, which do not meet the selection criteria of this policy, should not be recommended for acquisition into the permanent collection of UWS.

(22) Donations can only be accepted as unconditional gifts. A deed of gift or formal acknowledgement of donation will provide proof of ownership and protect UWS and any of its legal predecessors from future claims.

(23) The Art Curator will notify the Development Manager and the Finance Office in writing, when a donated artwork has been formally accepted into the collection, providing the donor’s details and estimated value of the gift.

(24) However, such items may be considered for acquisition where they are deemed to be culturally and/or artistically significant, particularly if they have historical or current links to the University or to Greater Western Sydney.

Part C - Deaccession and Disposal Procedures

(25) The deaccession of artworks from the collection is at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor following recommendation from the Art Aquisition Committee. The Vice-Chancellor will indicate their approval in writing. Deaccession may only occur in the following instances:

  1. lack of relevance to the collection;
  2. no evidence of clear legal title;
  3. theft or loss;
  4. damage or serious deterioration in condition;
  5. inferior workmanship;
  6. erroneous inclusion in the collection;
  7. repatriation of cultural property; or
  8. item which is on loan to University is recalled by its owner.

(26) An artwork which has been formally deaccessioned may be offered as a donation to another collection within UWS or to a relevant deductible gift recipient. If the offer is not accepted then the artwork may be sent to auction. Proceeds from auctioned items will be returned to the University Art Acquisition Gift Fund.

(27) Deaccessioned artworks will be removed from the Assets Register (Finance) and the UWS Art Collection Accession Register. The Art Curator will notify the Finance Office in writing enclosing the documentation, for the removal from the Asset Register. A copy of documentation pertaining to the deaccessioned artworks will be retained in the UWS Art Collection Archives.

Part D - Establishment and Maintenance of a Gift Fund

(28) The University of Western Sydney Art Collection will establish and maintain a gift fund to be used only for the purposes of taking gifts of money or property that will be used only in the furtherance of the objects of the organisation.

(29) If upon the winding up or dissolution or revocation of deductible gift recipient entitlement for the gift fund where remains after satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities any funds whatsoever will be transferred to some other fund approved as a deductible gift recipient under Div 30 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

(30) The assets and income of the organisation shall be applied solely in furtherance of its above-mentioned objects and no portion shall be distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the organisation except as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the organisation.

(31) In the event of the organisation being wound up, any surplus assets remaining after the payment of the organisation's liabilities shall be transferred to another organisation in Australia which is a public benevolent institution for the purposes of any Commonwealth Taxation Act.

(32) The University of Western Sydney will advise the Commissioner of Taxation of any changes to the constitution within 28 days of the event.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(33) Nil.