Course Title: The Law and Arts Management

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: The Law and Arts Management

Credit Points: 24.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


340H Art


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2023


City Campus


360H Education


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006

Course Coordinator: Prof. David Forrest

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3578

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 24.2.2

Course Coordinator Availability: Via Appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

The course introduces the way the law regulates, influences and is influenced by a broad range of arts management practices. Topics canvassed within the course structure include: 

• An introduction to the nature of legal systems and the Australian legal tradition
• intellectual property creation and management (particularly copyright and indigenous rights)
• legal structures for arts activities and related governance mechanisms 
• financing and regulation of investment in arts and entertainment 
• artist-gallery agreements, contracts governing commissioning and sale of works of visual art, venue hire agreements, public admission and ticketing
• occupational health and safety obligations (including risk management and insurance)
• protection of cultural heritage; questions of authenticity and legal and illegal trade in art works
• censorship, privacy, defamation and free speech (including the impact on arts marketing) 
• employment (including employer/employee relations and strategies), industrial issues taxation, 
• dispute resolution mechanisms and strategies. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course you will be equipped with knowledge of and the skills to:

• demonstrate an informed understanding of the legal issues applicable to arts administration and management in contemporary Australian art forms, with reference to visual and performing arts, publishing, film, television and the on-line environment;
• show a working knowledge of the framework and relevant provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth), Designs Act 2003 (Cth) and the systems of rights creation and rights management commonly used in relation to art forms in Australia and internationally;
• show an appreciation of legal issues applicable to indigenous peoples’ art forms, folklore and traditional knowledge; 
• demonstrate knowledge of legal structures and the obligations for good governance imposed by Australian law on individuals and organisations involved in the management of arts organisations and projects;
• demonstrate knowledge of the legal regulation of project financing methods for a variety of art forms including public art, theatre, film and digital media; 
• show an awareness of consumer protection regimes with regard to the integrity of the art market, public entertainment and the role of codes of practice and policies; 
• show familiarity with systems regulating employment in the arts; 
• demonstrate an understanding of occupational health and safety obligations as they relate to arts and volunteer organizations and their officers; 
• demonstrate understanding of dispute resolution, including formal legal pathways, customary in relevant art forms. 

As above.

Overview of Learning Activities

Face to face seminars involving lectures, tutorials and peer presentations supported by independent research. 

Reading materials will be available through Canvas. 


Overview of Learning Resources

A comprehensive collection of legal resources and links is made available through Canvas grouped by Seminar topic

PowerPoint lecture summaries will be made available on Canvas before each Seminar

RMIT Library maintains a separate page containing additional resources specific to this course.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. 

Assessment Task 1 (500-word essay) 10%   LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO8.  

Assessment Task 2: (1500-word research essay) 25%   LO2, LO3, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO8  

Assessment Task 3: (4000-word research essay) 50%  LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO8, LO9  

Assessment Task 4: Class paper presentation 15%   LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO8 

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks. 

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more. 

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions.