Principles, Ethics and Rights

First Nations

Summary of Good Practice Recommendations

Summary of Good Practice Recommendations
© Desirai Saunders and Saltwater People 2024
ID: Cartoon of four artists painting, weaving and making pottery. Colours are pink, blue, orange and green.

Organisations and individuals, including non-First Nations artists, have a responsibility to:

  • understand that First Nations communities have the right to self-determination. This means they have the right to enforce their own engagement and cultural protocols. This also means First Nations artists and communities have a right to agree, request changes or say ‘no’ to a proposal to engage, provide support or work together

  • understand the general principles of this Code are always subject to the specific cultural protocols of the relevant First Nations community

  • understand that power imbalances can exist in commercial arrangements involving First Nations communities 

  • acknowledge that power imbalances are underpinned by the colonial framework in Australia 

  • recognise that artists across the country have different ways of doing business and different decision-making processes that adhere to the cultural protocols of their own families and communities

  • observe the True Tracks® principles when dealing with Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)

  • follow the Australia Council for the Arts' Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts

  • ensure that First Nations people have the choice to be involved in all levels of a project or program

  • invest time and effort to build genuine working relationships, good channels of communication and realistic time expectations 

  • ensure there is sufficient lead-in time for artists to consider a request to work together and obtain free prior and informed consent from artists 

  • ensure there is a flexible and well-thought-out budget, including fees to cover the artist’s time that also considers the artist’s ICIP, and time for the artist to attend meetings 

  • be open to negotiating artist fees and answering questions on payment type and structure

Summary of Good Practice Recommendations
© Desirai Saunders and Saltwater People 2024
ID: Cartoon of three people sitting have a discussion, thought bubbles above their heads show ICIP, an agreement with a cross and tick, and an artwork with a padlock. Colours are blue, pink, and green.

First Nations artists have responsibility to:

  • meet their own business and economic obligations 

  • meet obligations owed to their families and communities 

  • make informed choices and have the ability to participate in all matters relating to their artistic and cultural practice 

  • protect and maintain the cultural and artistic practice which extends to assessing, agreeing, requesting changes or declining any engagements or work with third parties 

Agreements with artists should outline: 

  • all terms and conditions, according to a standard, transparent and accessible (preferably digital) template

  • expectations and responsibilities of each party

  • translation arrangements if required 

  • fees payable to the artist and method of payment

  • timelines 

  • ICIP arrangements, including consent, integrity, attribution, benefit-sharing and protection

Summary of Good Practice Recommendations
© Desirai Saunders and Saltwater People 2024
ID: Cartoon of an artist to a person at an artist market. A market stall is in the background. Colours are blue, orange and green.
Auslan Translation - First Nations Summary of Good Practice Recommendations