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CHILDREN IN ART PROTOCOLS RELEASED

The Australia Council for the Arts today made a consultation draft of its protocol for working with children in art available for public comment.

The Australia Council is currently developing a set of protocols to address the depiction of children in artworks, exhibitions and publications that receive government funding.

The draft protocols include an overview of applicable state and territory laws and a set of reasonable minimum standards which artists must follow in order to receive Federal Government funding.

Australia Council chief executive officer Kathy Keele said that the draft protocols underline the organisation’s commitment to helping the arts community understand their legal obligations and propose sensitive and responsible steps for artists dealing with children in their art practice.

“The protocols aim to help artists and organisations who work with children do so with proper care and responsibility,” she said.

“We believe that these draft protocols strike a good balance between upholding the right to freedom of artistic expression and the rights of children to protection from harm,” Ms Keele said.

The Australia Council has consulted with a wide range of stakeholder groups to develop these protocols, and have received input from more than 50 representatives from government, the arts sector, the general community and child protection bodies.

To view the draft protocols and make comments (by Thursday 27 November 2008) visit australiacouncil.gov.au/protocolsconsultation

The draft protocols include a requirement that all applicants for Australia Council funding abide by the relevant state, territory and federal laws. The reasonable minimum standards in the protocols apply in the absence of these laws, and include:

· For artistic creation, the consent of parent or guardian for children under the age of 15 to participate in any arts activity. Where there is nudity involved, the fully informed consent and direct supervision of parents or guardians is required for children under the age of 15.

· For exhibition, performance, publication and distribution of artwork, the draft protocols require confirmation that images involving children under the age of 18 were created in accordance with state or territory law. Images of full or partly nude children could require application to the Classification Board for review before public release.

The final protocols will be published on the Australia Council website by 31 December 2008 and apply to all Australia Council grants from 1 January 2009.

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