14 March
Photo by Aditya Wardhana on Unsplash.

PRIZE REVIEW: Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award

Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award  This month, Arts Law has reviewed the terms and conditions of the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award, a national award run by the Wangaratta Art Gallery.  Read the terms and conditions of this competition here.

The deadline for this competition is 3 March 2023

What is the rating? 

Arts Law has awarded the competition 4 stars out of 5. Read on to find out more detail. 

How did Arts Law help?  

Arts Law reached out to the Wangaratta Art Gallery to make this competition’s terms and conditions even more artist friendly. They weren’t able to take on board our suggestions this year, but will look at the terms in the future and this review provides some guidance for how they may improve in the future 

How artist-friendly is this competition?  

This competition is reasonably artist friendly, but there is some room for improvement. It is great to see that participating artists’ moral rights are protected under the terms. 

The key issues are:    

  • The number of finalists to be selected is not identified and they are all  required to give a copyright licence for use of the image of their work until the next prize in two years’ time.  However the limited purpose of the licence is made clear.   
  • There is no reference to Indigenous Culural & Intellectual Property (ICIP) and provision for ICIP notices. 
  • There is no detail about what the agreement between the gallery and the artist is once the winning artwork has been acquired and the winner has no idea what the terms of their agreement with the gallery are. 

How do the copyright terms stack up?  

What is copyright?  Copyright is a bundle of rights that protect literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works (as well as films and sound recordings). These rights allow the owner of copyright to control the ways that a work is used. If you want to learn more, you can read Arts Law’s Information Sheet on Copyright here 

The terms of the competition regarding the use of the copyright in the work could be improved.  Entries are submitted online and only the finalists’ works are sent to the gallery for exhibition.   

Finalists grant the gallery a non-exclusive, non-commercial licence without fee to use reproductions of their successful entry. Images and the artist’s statement, can be used for marketing and educational purposes and a catalogue and related publications, during the publicity period of the Award, May 2023-July 2025. The artists retain copyright in their original works, but the art gallery will have use of the images, their CV and explanatory material for that two year term under the licence.  This is a lengthy licence period, especially where there is no licence fee paid.  The artists will not be paid a fee for use of their image, which will be included in the Award catalogue (print run of 1000 copies).  It is confusing that while the licence is said to be non-commercial, the organisers have told us that the Award catalogue is  for sale.  On the one hand the artist isn’t paid for use of their image, but on the other, they get their work promoted through the gallery which is attractive. 

The winning prize is exempt from the above copyright conditions, and the terms state that a formal agreement will be made between the artist and the gallery for acquisition of the work. It would be much better if the terms of the agreement between the winner and the gallery could also be included in the terms of the prize, so that the entrants know what they’re getting themselves into in advance. 

Does the competition respect moral rights?  

What are moral rights?  Creators have moral rights when their work is used (i) to attribution, (ii) against false attribution, and (iii) to integrity, which means not having their work treated in a derogatory way. For more information, you can read Arts Law’s Information Sheet on Moral Rights here.    

We are pleased with the competition’s treatment of moral rights as the terms and conditions state that the Gallery will always credit the selected artists when their works are displayed and used under the license.  

Regarding reproductions, the Gallery states they will seek permission from the artist before making any alterations to the image of the artwork. 

What about Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property? 

What is ICIP?   Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property (ICIP) is a broad term that covers all of the rights that Indigenous people have, and want to have, to protect their traditional arts and culture (including writing, music, performances, paintings, languages, sacred sites, stories passed down orally, and other records of heritage). If you want to learn more, you can read Arts Law’s Information Sheet on ICIP here.    

There is no provision for ICIP notices if any works displayed contain ICIP.  This may not be relevant to some or even many of the artworks.  But in case it is, it is important to add a term regarding the gallery’s responsibility to accompany any display of the work itself or images of the work with a notice indicating who owns the ICIP in the work. 

Other issues 

The gallery is responsible for insurance of the works while they are at the gallery which is good. However, the artist is responsible for shipping the artwork to and from the gallery and for any transit insurance.  It is not uncommon for galleries to pay for the return shipment of works.   

There is no statement about what happens to the works if they are not collected by the artist (i.e. are they stored indefinitely or destroyed after a period of time). 

Finalists are selected anonymously which means there is no transparency around the selection process or the selection of the overall winner.  It would be better if the judges were identified. 

What could they have done better?  

We think the terms could be improved by addressing the issues we have identified being: 

  • Copyright licence for finalists for two years could be shortened; or a royalty paid if the image is used more than once or used for a commercial purpose such as inclusion in the catalogue if it is for sale.  The licence is limited to promotion of the exhibition and artwork. 
  • The number of finalists to be selected would improve transparency 
  • Make the judging process more transparent 
  • Address ICIP in the terms  
  • Set out the terms of the agreement with winner of the prize 

Overall, Arts Law thinks the terms and conditions of this competition are reasonable and could be very good if a few amendments were made.  

You can lodge a query with us here if you would like to obtain advice from Arts Law about this competition.  

What is the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award?  

The Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award is a biennial award that has been presented by Wangaratta Art Gallery since 2009.  The award is supported by the Wangaratta based Kyamba Foundation, which is a partner with the gallery for the 2023 and 2025 awards.   

The award’s purpose is to nationally showcase and acclaim Australian textile artists.  Entry is limited to professional Australian artists practising in textile arts.  

Artists are welcome to submit up to two works for entry. Entries must all be works for sale and available for exhibition and must have been executed since July 2021. 

Artists are to submit images of their work, an Artist Statement and CV. Finalists will be selected anonymously. 

What prizes are on offer? 

The prize is a $40,000 acquisitive award. The single winning work will form part of the Wangaratta Art Gallery Collection. 

Works by other finalists are for sale and may also be considered for acquisition.  Artists are to nominate the price for their works and the gallery will take a 20% commission on any sales.  


Arts Law regularly reviews the terms and conditions of competitions and rates them out of five stars. Our review looks broadly at the terms and conditions of a competition. In particular, we look closely at how a competition deals with an entrant’s copyright and moral rights and consider this in light of the prize.  Entrants should always take into account the possible profile-raising which may result from being a finalist or winner.  

By accepting the terms and conditions of a competition, entrants should be aware that they may be entering a legally binding contract.

For more information, see our free information sheet on competition conditions. Artists are welcome to contact Arts Law for legal advice on the terms of a competition. We also invite competition organisers to contact Arts Law for best practice assistance to make their terms and conditions fairer for artists. 

Please note: Prior to February 2018, Arts Law’s rated out of five stars only the terms of a competition which dealt with copyright and moral rights. Arts Law’s competition reviews are now more holistic, such that our rating out of five stars now reflects a broad review of all the terms and conditions of the competition. For more information see our website. 

Further Information 

Please email us at [email protected] to tell us about any competitions or prizes you think we should check.  

See more about Arts Law’s campaign to improve competition terms and conditions in the Prizes and Competitions section.