Sunday, December 21, 2008

Children in Artworks Protocols - effective January 1st. 2009

Art's Council releases children in Art protocols (Art Council Press Release)
16 December 2008

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.


Critique by David Marr Sydney Morning Herald December 19th. 2008

"With a scrubbing brush in one hand and a packet of Ajax in the other, the Australia Council is scouring the internet of art. It's not the arts bureaucrats' fault, poor wretches. Being the cleaning ladies of the cyber age is not what they signed up for. They had dreams of "cultivating the nation's creativity" until the Rudd Government put them to work to scrub pictures of children from the net.

Not pornographic pictures. Not obscene pictures. Not just pictures of naked kids. We're talking any pictures of children at all. Once the council's new "Protocols for Working with Children" come into effect on January 1, arts funding will be ripped from anyone posting pictures of children on the internet unless onerous conditions are met.

The nation is moving deep into wacky territory. Trials of compulsory internet filtering are about to start.

A poor bloke in Queensland is in court for forwarding from one internet site to another a weird but happy sequence of an adult swinging a kid around. And now the Australia Council is getting into the business of busting art online.

Even the glimpse of a child will be enough to attract the council's scrubbing brush. A hand or a foot will do."

posted by Bob Bain

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