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Public Art Policy

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) The University has purchased and will from time to time, purchase, commission or accept donations of public art for display on its campuses and centres around the Northern Territory and elsewhere in order to:

  1. create built and natural environments on University campuses and centres that are infused with qualities of diversity, vibrancy, creativity and imagination and contribute to the wellbeing of people using those campuses;
  2. enhance student, staff and community enjoyment, engagement and understanding of the University’s place and role in the Northern Territory, through the integration of public art on its campuses and centres; and
  3. create a supportive environment that contributes to art and cultural understanding and development by fostering creativity, knowledge and innovation.
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Section 2 - Statement of Authority

(2) The authority behind this policy is the Charles Darwin University Act 2003 part 3, section 15.

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Section 3 - Compliance

(3) This is a compliance requirement under the Charles Darwin University Act 2003 part 3, section 15.

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Section 4 - Intent

(4) The intent of this policy is to provide a framework for the acquisition, management, use and enjoyment of public art on the University’s campuses and centres.

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Section 5 - Relevant Definitions

(5) In the context of this document:

  1. Public Art means any artistic work created for and located in publically accessible areas of the University’s campuses and centres other than designated galleries, and may include permanent or temporary art, such as; installations, sculptures, paintings, ceramics/murals, site specific artworks including those integrated into buildings and public spaces, digital media works or ephemeral artworks.
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Section 6 - Policy


(6) The objective of this policy is to ensure that public art at the University is managed and acquired under a strategic framework so that it positively enhances the University’s overall campus environments and the on campus experiences of staff, students and the community.

Acquisition or Commission

(7) Acquisition or commission of public art at the University will adhere to the following guiding principles:

  1. Any new public art proposed to be commissioned or acquired by or for the University will first be referred to the CDU Art Gallery Advisory Committee for consideration;
  2. no public art will be commissioned, acquired or accepted without the prior approval of the CDU Art Gallery Advisory Committee;
  3. the artwork should be appropriate to and enhance the public dimension of the University environment in which it is to be located;
  4. campus master planning including development of new campus infrastructure will consider and incorporate public art as part of the design phase and allocate funding for public art works within the overall budget for new infrastructure projects as appropriate;
  5. permanent public art intended for external location must be engineered to withstand monsoonal and cyclonic weather conditions at the University’s northern campuses in Darwin, Palmerston and Katherine, and on all campuses must be constructed of materials that will not readily deteriorate with local weather conditions or require significant ongoing maintenance;
  6. permanent public art must be designed and constructed such that it does not present an Work Health and Safety hazard to any campus user; and
  7. all acquisitions or commissions of public art will first give consideration to the probable costs associated with appropriate installation, maintenance and potential decommission of the art work prior to any purchase or approval.

(8) In addition, the commission of public art will adhere to the following guiding principles:

  1. Where possible, artists are to be included in the early stages of the campus planning process to ensure the art work has a direct relationship to the proposed location and environment at the University;
  2. commissioned artists should be encouraged to understand the cultural, historical and environmental context of the University in developing their concepts and producing their artwork; and
  3. commissioned artists must be assessed to be appropriately qualified, experienced and reputable to be able to deliver work to a high standard and quality, on time and on budget.


(9) The University may, from time to time be offered donations of public artworks, either existing or commissioned through sponsorship. Donations of public art will be dealt with as follows:

  1. All donations or proposals for sponsorship of public art will first be referred to the CDU Art Gallery Advisory Committee for consideration;
  2. acceptance of donated public art will fall within the guidelines specified for acquisition or commission of public artworks at the University; and
  3. the University reserves the right to decline the donation of any artwork that does not meet the acquisition guidelines or is not approved by the CDU Art Gallery Advisory Committee.


(10) Public artwork located outdoors may have a finite lifespan due to the deterioration of materials and structures from weathering.

(11) The University reserves the right to de-commission public artwork on any of its campuses or centres when such artwork is no longer relevant to its site or purpose, poses a risk to public safety or the environment, or is damaged or deteriorated beyond reasonable repair.

(12) Public artworks proposed to be de-commissioned will first be referred to the CDU Art Gallery Advisory Committee for consideration.


(13) The University will establish and maintain a register of public artwork on its campuses.


(14) All public artworks on University campuses will have a maintenance plan prepared, which is approved by the CDU Curator. Maintenance may include cleaning and minor repairs, which will, under normal circumstances, be undertaken by Property and Facilities Management, in consultation with the CDU Curator, annually or as required.

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Section 7 - Non-Compliance

(15) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct – Staff or the Code of Conduct – Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(16) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Code of Conduct – Staff and Code of Conduct - Students.

(17) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.