Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Collection Management
Authoring Organisational Unit
UWA Cultural Precinct
Date Approved
Next Review Date
Approving Body

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Art Acquisition for the Cruthers Collection of Women's Art at the University of Western Australia

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

The mission of the Cruthers Collection of Women's Art (CCWA) at The University of Western Australia is to promote selected Australian women's art and women artists by way of exhibition, research, teaching, publication and acquisition, as an alternative reading of Australian art history.

The CCWA's placement within the University is governed by the Deed of Gift dated 28th June 2007, the guidelines attached to the Deed of Gift and the CCWA Advisory Committee Constitution.

The objectives are:

a) to promote Australian women's art and women artists by way of exhibition, research, teaching and publication, within and where appropriate, without the university

b) to make the collection available for students, art historians, curators and artists for the purposes of study, research and publication and as a teaching aid

c) to maintain a substantial part of the CCWA on permanent display at the University

d) while maintaining the selective, idiosyncratic and unique attributes of the CCWA, to develop the themes and subject areas clearly established in the collection

e) to protect and preserve the CCWA as one collection and not sell, assign, dispose or separate the collection otherwise than in strict accordance with stated and agreed conditions

f) to work closely with the CCWA Curatorial Advisor and the Cruthers Art Foundation in order to achieve the above purposes

The Cruthers Collection of Women's Art is a distinct collection of art within the University of Western Australia and includes works that are of significant importance to Australian artistic and cultural heritage. The Acquisition Policy will ensure that this status is maintained. This will be achieved by collecting works of high artistic quality and significance, and by addressing existing gaps in the collection in those areas identified as important (for example, if sculpture, ceramics or photography are identified as being underrepresented.).


In this policy and any associated procedures

Acquisition means purchasing works from, or bequeathed or donated by individuals, or purchased from or donated by corporate institutions, commercial galleries and auction houses, or transferred from and exchanged with government and statutory bodies.

Works of art means paintings, watercolours and drawings, artist's sketchbooks, prints (including posters), photographs, videos, sculpture, ceramics and craft.

Contemporary art means art of the present time and the past twenty years.

Policy statement:

1 Methods of acquisition

Purchases may be made following a recommendation by the CCWA Advisory Committee and upon negotiation of a mutually agreeable price by the University and the vendor.

From time to time the CCWA will also arrange for commissions for exhibition and/or acquisition

Donations are appreciated but the cost of maintaining, preserving and auditing a collection means that in general, only works of art that fall within the parameters of the policy will be accepted. All donations and bequests will be submitted with an acquisition proposal. Where the CCWA accepts a donation it will give credit to the donor in any label or published description of the work.

The transfer or exchange of works is an accepted method of collecting. The transfer of works will involve the transfer of legal title. The exchange of works means that the CCWA will own the exchanged artwork or object, as the case may be. Every effort will be made to exchange for equal value. All exchanges will be processed with appropriate documentation including an acquisition proposal.

2 General principles

The CCWA Advisory Committee will make recommendations on all proposed acquisitions, which will be made in adherence with the following general principles

(a) to collect works of art by Australian women artists from all states and territories, or by artists of other nationalities who lived in Australia for a significant time

(b) While recognising that the CCWA has historically functioned with a strong social history imperative regarding the lives, experiences and achievements of Australian women, works of art will be collected as works of art and not as not as illustrations of history, biography or other fields of human study

(c) To collect works of high artistic quality and/or significance, but which preserve the unique character of the existing CCWA

(d) To collect works that develop the Areas and Themes of collection as outlined in section 3 of this document

(e) To collect works in a good state of preservation (not works that have been largely restored or reworked), unless those works are essential for the collection

(f) to collect works by historically significant women artists - including those who were not acknowledged in their lifetime or whose work has slipped from public view

(g) To collect works of high artistic quality by artists in the early stages of their career

(h) To collect works which are, wherever possible, free from any legal, moral or financial impediment

3 Areas and Themes of Collection

3.1 Areas of Collection

(a) art of the 1890s, Edwardian era, 1920s and post-World War II

(b) Australian Modernism from the 1920s to the 1960s

(c) Feminist art, recognising the emphasis in the collection on Second wave feminism (1970 - 1990)

(d) abstraction

(e) Contemporary art

(f) 'the artist and her work' - for each artist represented by a self portrait or portrait, one or more non-portrait works by that artist will be collected, as established by Lady Sheila Cruthers

3.2 Themes of Collection

In collecting in the various areas, emphasis will be placed on the following themes where relevant:

(a) personal identity as expressed through self portraits and portraiture

(b) still life

(c) the domestic environment

(d) children and family life, including birth and death

(e) the body

(f) gender issues

(g) politics and political action

(h) the environment

4 Guidelines

(a) The CCWA will comply with the terms and principles of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986, the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property

(b) The CCWA will bear in mind the acquisition guidelines and statements on ethics issued by cultural organisations such as the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and Museums Australia

(c) The CCWA will heed the regulations and procedures of the Commonwealth Government's Cultural Gifts Program

(d) Where works are commissioned, these commissions will meet the National Association of Visual Arts (NAVA) guidelines for issuing contracts to artists

(e) The CCWA will keep confidential any acquisition information and records which involve a matter of trust

(f) While maintaining the integrity of the CCWA the CCWA will liaise with the University Art Collection and will consult when a conflict of interest relating to proposed purchases arises

(g) The CCWA will ensure all proposed acquisitions are subject to identification and authentication

5 Responsibility for the implementation of the CCWA Art Acquisition Policy

The responsibility for implementing this policy, in cooperation with other relevant staff of the University, lies with the Curator of the CCWA and the Director of the Cultural Precinct, as advised at all times by the CCWA Advisory Committee and CCWA Curatorial Advisor.

At all times CCWA staff shall ensure that they do not place themselves in a situation of conflict of interest with the University. Written disclosure of any potential conflict of interest is to be made by the staff member concerned.

At all times the University shall ensure that the University and the CCWA Advisory Committee do not act in a manner that is contrary to the terms of the Deed of Gift, including the Guidelines.

Related forms: (Link)

Policy No: UP14/16

Approving body or position:

Date original policy approved:

Date this version of policy approved:

Date policy to be reviewed:

Date this version of procedures approved:

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Director, Cultural Precinct

Related Policies or legislation: