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Arts Law Centre of Australia

Artists in the Black

Artists in the Black

The current legal system is insufficient to protect the rights and interests of First Nations peoples....

australia > ALL > regional
01/02/2022 > 31/12/2022

FIELD OF INTEREST

  • Indigenous communities
  • Arts & culture

TARGET POPULATION

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • People experiencing socio-economic disadvantage or vulnerability

PROJECT SUMMARY

The current legal system is insufficient to protect the rights and interests of First Nations peoples.

Artists in the Black enables individuals to determine legal, economic, and social autonomy in their creative and cultural lives. First Nations art is the expression of the oldest living culture on the planet. It holds a unique place in education and the transfer of knowledge between generations. Approximately 59% of Australians have a will, in contrast to 2-6% of First Nations people. Many artists do not see their copyright as an asset.

Many First Nation’s artists are vulnerable in respect of their legal rights, unable to afford appropriate legal assistance and often at risk of exploitation. Artists in the Black program engages with First Nation’s artists and arts centres to advise and educate them on their legal rights. Arts Law provides legal services including free will drafting to support artists to preserve their legacy and ensure that they are in control of where their art, copyright, money, and other assets go when they die.

Artists in the Black wills drafting service is provided through outreach trips. These trips not only assist the artists but also help Indigenous art centres deal with a range of legal and business issues affecting the art centre such as employment, governance, licensing, consignments and debt recovery.

Through this program, we will assist First Nation’s artists by providing free legal advice and outreach, education, resource, advocacy and other targeted services to ensure they are fairly rewarded for their work.

PROJECT OUTCOMES

Supporting First Nation’s artists to have a will is important for their self-determination and autonomy. First Nations families encapsulate a much broader concept of family and connection which is not comparable to the western and legal concepts of family and inheritance. AITB understands how to support communities manage complicated distribution of assets, whilst recognising cultural value, importance of the artist and their artworks.

This project will enable Arts Law to undertake 5 additional visits to 10 communities, drafting wills for at least 50 Indigenous artists.

Many First Nations artists do not necessarily have financial assets, but often have artwork, licensing income, and moral rights which last for 70 years after their death. Many artists die without a will which can cause problems to arise within families and disruption to communities. Benefits include artists making decisions such as where they want to be buried which holds incredible cultural significance. The whole community benefits from less distress and friction when an artist dies.

Our outreach work prevent many of these issues from arising and also introduce the community to resources available to support families when an artist dies without a will. These trips not only assist the artists but also help Indigenous art centres deal with a range of legal and business issues affecting the art centre such as employment, governance, licensing, consignments and debt recovery. There will also be greater recognition of and respect for First Nations artists, arts and culture and greater protection of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property.

Profile of Arts Law Centre of Australia

Arts Law Centre of Australia

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) is Australia’s only national community legal centre for the arts. We provide free or low cost specialised legal advice, education and resources to Australian artists and arts organisations across all art forms, on a wide range of arts-related legal and business matters. Our Artists in the Black (AITB) program delivers targeted services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, their communities, and organisations nationally.

Our mission is to empower artists and creative communities through the law. Our vision is to be widely recognised as the trusted source of advice for artists and creative communities and as the preeminent authority on artist’s rights and arts law in Australia.

Arts Law exists to strengthen value and respect for arts and culture to make a better world. We aim to empower artists and arts organisations through the law by supporting them and the creative contribution they make to Australia’s cultural landscape.

The work of Arts Law continues to be made possible with significant assistance from 302 pro bono legal practitioners located in all states and territories, and a group of daytime volunteers, including law students, law graduates and qualified lawyers.

The range of our services cannot be accessed from any other single organisation in Australia. These include:
• National Legal Advice Service
• Document Review Service (DRS)
• Artists in the Black
• Outreach programs
• Best Practice advice
• Legal Referral Service (including pro bono referrals
• Information and other referrals
• Publications Programs
• Education/Professional Development Programs
• National Advocacy Programs

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

TOTAL BUDGET: $235,000
FUNDING
Funding sourceAmount
Art Law (in-kind) $50,000
Pro bono support (in kind) from law firms  $50,000
Perpetual $85,000
Thyne Reid$25,000
Funding gap (unconfirmed)$25,000
EXPENSES
Expense itemAmount
Senior lawyers (0.6 FTE)  $80,000
Artists in the Black Coordinator (0.6 FTE)  $45,000
Artists in the Black Paralegal (0.3 FTE) $20,000
Pro Bono Legal Work  $50,000
Travel and accommodation and per diems (5k per trip)  $35,000
Administration and Overheads  $5,000

Support Artists in the Black

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact our Philanthropy & Impact Team.

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