UniSC Art Collection - Operational Policy | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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UniSC Art Collection - Operational Policy

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Approval authority
Vice-Chancellor and President
Responsible Executive member
Vice-Chancellor and President
Designated officer
Manager, Art Gallery
First approved
9 December 2008
Last amended
25 October 2023
Review date
25 October 2028
Related documents
Linked documents
Superseded documents
  • Artworks Acquisition and Deaccessioning - Managerial Policy
Related legislation / standards
  • Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)
  • International Council of Museums (ICOM) Code of Ethics for Museums (2017)
  • Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program

1. Purpose of policy

1.1 This policy provides a framework for the University of the Sunshine Coast to build a significant collection of contemporary Australian art. It articulates key acquisition areas for the UniSC Art Collection and intrinsic management functions.

1.2 This policy document must be read in conjunction with the linked UniSC Art Collection – Procedures.

2. Policy scope and application

2.1 The policy applies to the University of the Sunshine Coast Art Collection.

2.2 The policy applies to all University staff with responsibilities for functions of the UniSC Art Collection.

2.3 Art acquisition includes the collection of works through purchase, commission, gift or donation, and loaned objects.

3. Definitions

Refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for definitions as they specifically relate to policy documents.

Acquisition refers to taking legal possession and ownership of an artwork through purchase, gift, bequest, commission, donation, transfer or exchange.

Art Collection or Collection refers to the recognised holdings of artworks acquired by the University officially known as the UniSC Art Collection.

Artworks refers to all cultural material including but not limited to paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, artists’ books, artefacts, video art and installation art.

Deaccession is the process of de-registering an accessioned object from a collection and amending the documentation relating to that object.

Disposal is the physical removal of an object from an organisation by a process decided upon by the collections or acquisitions committee.

Loan is a temporary physical transfer of an artwork from the Art Collection to a public institution such as an art gallery or museum over a specified period of time and where there is no transfer of ownership.

Provenance is the place or origin; the history of ownership of an object, especially the records and documents authenticating such and object or its history of ownership.

4. UniSC Art Collection aims

4.1 To develop a visual art collection of regional and national significance and repute that celebrates and enriches the teaching, learning, research and engagement priorities and aims of the University.

4.2 To collect artworks that demonstrate excellence and diversity in contemporary Australian art practice with an emphasis on artworks made within the lifetime of the University by significant: Queensland artists; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists; artists from or living in the region; and artists that have a strong connection to UniSC.

5. Criteria for acquisition

5.1 UniSC collects works of art by purchase, commission, gift or donation and development of the Art Collection prioritises the following criteria for acquisition:

(a) Australian art made within the lifetime of UniSC (from 1996 onwards);

(b) artworks by significant artists from Queensland with a focus on works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists;

(c) artworks that are innovative or reflect current social, political, cultural or environmental themes;

(d) artworks by significant artists that have a strong connection to UniSC or its regions;

(e) artworks that strengthen and augment existing Art Collection holdings; or

(f) artworks suitable for the display and storage conditions of sites within the University’s buildings and grounds.

5.2 Donations or gifts

5.2.1 The University encourages donations or gifts to the Art Collection, provided the donations or gifts meet the Collection’s criteria for acquisition.

5.2.2 Donations or gifts to the University will follow the related acquisition procedures.

5.2.3 Donations or gifts will only be accepted where the donor has clear legal title to the work and the gift is made based on a total transfer of legal title from the donor to the University.

5.2.4 The University will observe the regulations and procedures of the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program when considering the acquisition of works through this Program.

5.2.5 Long term loans to the Art Collection will only be accepted on the understanding the artworks will be donated to the University. Parameters of this donation must be outlined before commencement of the loan.

6. Collection management

6.1 Reporting and management

6.1.1 As a significant University asset, the Art Collection must be maintained and displayed in accordance with accepted international museum standards for the conservation, safe storage, exhibition, transport, record-keeping, insurance and handling of a collection, and exercise all efforts to preserve, protect and maintain it.

6.1.2 The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global and Engagement) in consultation with the Manager, Art Gallery is responsible for the overall management of the Art Collection.

6.1.3 Commissioning of artworks for the Art Collection will be undertaken by the Vice-Chancellor's Art Advisory Committee (VCAAC) in accordance with the Art Collection’s criteria for acquisition. A sub-committee reporting to the VCAAC may be established for the purpose of commissioning artworks, including site-specific artworks.

6.1.4 Schools, faculties or divisions of the University are discouraged from purchasing, receiving donations or gifts of, or commissioning artworks. Where a school, faculty or division owns artworks they are assets of the University responsibility and costs associated with the good management of the artworks falls to the school, faculty or division.

6.2 Loans and display

6.2.1 The Art Collection is a significant public collection, regionally and nationally, and as such, the University strives to make it accessible for the teaching, learning, research and engagement priorities of the University.

6.2.2 Artworks from the Art Collection will be made available for temporary loan to public institutions for the purpose of exhibition on approval from the Manager, Art Gallery and subject to the borrower’s agreement to the conditions of loan stipulated in UniSC’s outgoing loan agreement for works of art.

6.2.3 Artworks from the Art Collection will be made available for display in public areas and offices of senior staff of the University across UniSC’s network of campuses.

7. Deaccessioning and disposal

7.1 Periodic review will be made of the Art Collection to determine the condition of works and their relevance to the UniSC Art Collection—Operational Policy.

7.2 UniSC follows international standards for museums with regards to deaccessioning and the disposal of works of art including those outlined in the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums.

7.2 Funds or compensation derived from the disposal of works of art is to be solely used to benefit the Art Collection, such as the acquisition or conservation of art as directed by the Vice-Chancellor and President.

7.3 Deaccessioning and disposal of artworks donated to the Art Collection under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program must adhere to regulations and procedures outlined by the Cultural Gifts Program.

8. Authorities/Responsibilities

8.1 The following authorities/responsibilities are delegated under this policy:


University Officer/Committee

Considerations and recommendations on all art acquisitions including gifts and bequests and deaccessioning and disposal will be made by the Vice-Chancellor’s Art Advisory Committee.

Vice-Chancellor and President

Approve the temporary loan of artworks from the Art Collection to public institutions

Manager, Art Gallery

Notification of the valuation and acknowledgement of donated artworks to the Director, Advancement Office.

Manager, Art Gallery

Processing of acquisitions through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.

Manager, Art Gallery

Planning and acquisition of site-specific artworks to be installed through the University’s capital works program.

Manager, Art Gallery in association with Facilities Management.


Appendix A - Vice-Chancellor’s Art Advisory Committee (VCAAC) – Terms of Reference


The University of the Sunshine Coast Vice-Chancellor’s Art Advisory Committee (Art Advisory Committee, Committee, or VCAAC) is an advisory committee to the Vice-Chancellor and the President. The role of the Art Advisory Committee is to provide expert, balanced and diverse opinions in the implementation of the UniSC Art Collection—Operational Policy, and advice on the incorporation of site-specific art into the University’s public spaces.

Terms of reference
  • To provide strategic advice that enables UniSC to have Australia’s premier regional university Art Collection and Gallery.
  • To make recommendations that assist the University in meeting the objectives of the the UniSC Art Collection—Operational Policy including advice on:
    • The selection, commissioning and purchase of new artworks;
    • Artwork gifts, bequests and donations;
    • Deaccessioning of art works from the Art Collection.
  • To advise on the exhibition and management of artworks within University buildings and grounds.

The Art Advisory Committee is comprised of eight members:

  • Chairperson
  • Manager, Art Gallery (ex officio)
  • Academic representatives (ex officio, 2 positions)
  • Director, Facilities Management (ex officio)
  • Senior Advancement Manager, Advancement Office (ex officio)
  • Community members (2 positions)

The Art Advisory Committee may invite external experts to attend specific meetings, or invite observers as deemed appropriate by the Committee.

The Art Advisory Committee may also co-opt members of the Committee as part of working parties or sub-committees, to assist the Art Advisory Committee in its deliberations or undertake nominated tasks.

Community membership appointments will be based on experience and expertise in visual and/or public art (e.g. professional artists and arts workers, architects) and seek to include diversity in age, gender, cultural background, and/or physical disability.

The Art Advisory Committee will have at least one member who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Where this person is not UniSC staff, an honorarium will be paid.

Membership to the Art Advisory Committee is an honorary appointment, however the University will cover or reimburse the travel costs of members to attend meetings as required.


A member of the University’s Council or a person of great experience and standing in the community.

Term of office

Members of the Art Advisory Committee (other than ex officio members) shall serve for terms of up to three (3) years.


Quorum of the Committee is five.

Frequency of meetings

The Art Advisory Committee will meet up to two times per year.

Declarations of interest

Members must act in the best interests of the University and declare any conflict of interest when a matter is being considered or voted on by the Committee. Conflict of interest may be of a pecuniary or non-pecuniary nature.

END of Appendix A