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Inwards loans for exhibition policy

1. Purpose

The Inward Loans for Exhibition Policy outlines the principles and the management of inward loans for temporary exhibition. It provides a framework for Library staff who are responsible for the selection, approval, and management of inward loans from Australian and international Lenders.    

Inward loans for temporary exhibition provide access to Works not represented in the State Library Victoria collection. Inward loans enrich the stories, academic and educational potential of the Library’s exhibition program, and enhance and develop relationships with other organisations, communities and individuals.  

As part of the assessment and management of inward loans, the Library is committed to strict ethical and legal standards of Due Diligence, risk management, governance and collection management in accordance with Libraries Act 1988 (Vic). 

Inward loans are assessed according to key international and national conventions, best practice guidelines, and state and federal government acts and codes of conduct.

2. Principles 

This policy describes the principles the Library adheres to, and the factors that are considered in assessing, approving, and managing inward loans for exhibition.

This policy applies to all inward loans including those selected and assessed by the Exhibitions, VIRC, and Collection and Curation Engagement teams, and administered by Registration within the Collection Care branch of State Library Victoria.  

When considering inward loans for exhibition, the Library:

  • Commits to be open and transparent in its decision-making processes and procedures.
  • Undertakes inward loans that abide by accepted cultural protocols regarding communities. 
  • Undertakes inward loans only if they are appropriate to the Library’s standing and reputation.
  • Demonstrates best practice in the risk management of inward loans.
  • Affords the same level of care for inward loans as it does for Works in its own collection, in line with established procedures and professional museum standards.
  • Borrows Works for a fixed period only, as agreed with the Lender.
  • The Inward Loan can only be extended by mutual agreement. 
  • Refuses the inward loan of Works that are damaged or pose an unacceptable risk to the Library, its staff, contractors, visitors, collections or property.
  • Avoids any act or omission that may create unreasonable risk, or otherwise compromise the Library’s public administration and reputation. 

The Library will only accept an inward loan when it is satisfied that:

  • The Lender is reputable and owns valid title to the Works or has the legal right to enter into the loan on behalf of the owner.
  • There is no reason to believe that there are outstanding or current third-party claims on the Works.
  • The Library can meet the terms and conditions of the Loan Agreement or Lender’s Outgoing/External Loan Policy. 
  • The Works have not been illegally exported from the country of origin or any intermediary countries.
  • All relevant export licenses or permits have been obtained.
  • Australian import restrictions, or international treaties or conventions to which Australia is a party or signatory, are not contravened.
  • There is acceptable legal and Provenance information.
  • There are no suspicions that the Work was obtained illicitly.
  • Connection of communities to Works is known and cultural protocols relevant to the Works are known and observed.

3. Roles and Responsibilities

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Formally requests international inward loans, and signs international Loan Agreements on behalf of the Library (subject to risk and financial delegation). 
  • Conservator: Confirms display requirements with Registrar, Lender, Exhibition Curator and Exhibition Designer. Completes inward loan condition report and in conjunction with Registrar, oversees display preparation, installation and deinstallation. Monitors and reports on gallery environment and conditions.
  • Director Collections: Formally requests inward loans and approves and signs the Loan Agreement on behalf of the Library (subject to risk and financial delegation).
  • Director Experience: Oversees exhibition development and management. Reviews and gives endorsement of inward loans for inclusion in the exhibition. 
  • Exhibition Curator: Develops exhibition proposal and content. Selects and assesses potential inward loans and makes initial contact with the Lender. Undertakes and documents due diligence and additional Provenance research where necessary. Facilitates community or cultural consultation with Exhibition Manager and Manager of the VIRC. Proposes inward loans for exhibition and drafts the formal loan request, in consultation with Registrar of Exhibitions and Loans. Maintains complete records of Provenance research undertaken as part of the due diligence process. 
  • Exhibition Manager: Oversees exhibition planning and program, budget, inward loans selection and community consultation. Initiates the development of the Exhibitions and Loans Working Group. Reviews and gives endorsement of inward loans for inclusion in the exhibition. Exhibition and Loans Working Group Includes, but not limited to Exhibition Curator, Exhibition Producer, Registrar, Conservator, and Exhibition Designer. Group endorses the exhibition and inward loan proposals.
  • Exhibition Producer: Oversees project management of exhibitions. Facilitates community consultation with the Exhibition Curator and the VIRC. Manages exhibition budget, reviews, and endorses requests for inward loans.  
  • Experience Committee: Reviews, advises and approves the Library’s policy framework in relation to exhibitions, programs, visitor facing services and community engagement. Reviews and recommends the exhibitions road map and approves new exhibition proposals, including loans. Ensures that the Library is complying with PCOL requirements. 
  • Koori Librarian and Manager, VIRC: Coordinates community and cultural consultation, in collaboration with Exhibition Curator, Exhibition Manager and Exhibition Producer, with the advice of the VIRC Cultural Advisory Group. Coordinates cultural permissions process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Works and content. 
  • Registrar Exhibitions and Loans: Manages the inward loans process to ensure the Library meets Australian and international best practice, and ensures loans are administered under the principles and practices of the Inward Loans Policy and conditions of the loan. Reviews and endorses requests for inward loans. Coordinates PCOL publication and feedback. 
  • VIRC Cultural Advisory Group: Provides VIRC staff with advice to ensure cultural authenticity, integrity, and authority of consultative processes.  

4. Application    

A. Provenance and Due Diligence

The Exhibition Curator is responsible for Provenance research as part of the inward loan assessment process. The Library requires the Lender to provide proof of Provenance and ownership. The Library will not accept a Work for inward loan without evidence of valid legal title. 

If the Library is unconvinced about Provenance information supplied by the Lender it will undertake due diligence, in accordance with the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Regulation 2014. Due diligence research may include, but is not limited to:

  • consideration of documentary evidence of a Work’s history of ownership
  • consideration of information about the Lender or previous owners
  • consultation with cultural authorities, land councils and knowledge holders
  • checking the Art Loss Register or similar registers or databases
  • examination of exhibition history and publication history of the Work
  • consultation with experts in relation to the above. 

The Library can refuse the inward loan of any Work(s) for reasons it considers appropriate including, but not limited to:  

  • concerns about Provenance of a Work 
  • Works are damaged or pose an unacceptable risk to the Library, its staff, contractors, visitors, collections or property
  • concerns about there being a risk to the Library’s public standing, integrity, or the public interest.

B. Consultation

State Library Victoria, working with the advice of the VIRC, will assess whether community and cultural consultation is necessary when considering an inward loan, in accordance with Appendix 3 of the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme guidelines.  

Consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will take place under the guidance and recommendations of the VIRC and in accordance with its Cultural Permissions Program in order to establish consultation processes appropriate to the custodian groups and individuals associated with the Works.  In addition to the Provenance of the material, consultation will also provide context for presentation and usage of the Works.  The VIRC Cultural Advisory Group will provide staff with advice to ensure cultural authenticity, integrity, and authority of consultative processes.  Depending on the complexity of the project and advice from its Cultural Advisory Group, the VIRC may also establish specific reference/working groups to support these processes. 

If a Work relates to other communities, consultation will be considered and undertaken if deemed necessary.

Consultation with individuals and communities other than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will be conducted by the Exhibition Curator(s). This may involve working with local and international bodies, organisations, communities and individuals, and the development of a community engagement plan, to ascertain who carries the authority to provide guidance and approval. 

C. Inward Loan Agreement

Inward loans are subject to the terms and conditions of the Loan Agreement supplied by the Lender (including any necessary and appropriate changes negotiated by the Library). If the Lender does not supply the inward Loan Agreement, the Library will use its own inward Loan Agreement and terms and conditions.

The Library will not lend an inward loan to another institution or individual without written permission from the Lender. 

Where inward loans support a travelling exhibition, the onward loan will be specified in the Loan Agreement, and the Library must ensure that exhibition venues meet the Lender’s requirements, as outlined in the Loan Agreement between the Lender and the Library.  

D. Period of Notice 

Formal requests for inward loans will be issued to the Lender within a reasonable period of notice. 

Requests for institutional and international loans require a minimum of 12 months.

E. Loan Fees

The Library will pay the Lender any applicable agreed fees according to industry standard for the inward loans.

This includes the shipping of the inward loans including crating, packing, transportation, security, couriers, independent insurance valuations, customs agents and quarantine fees where necessary.

F. Transport

The Library will organise and pay for transport of the inward loans from the Lender (or the Lender’s nominated premises) to and from the Library based on industry standards.

If the Lender seeks to alter the return address for the inward loans at the conclusion of the loan, the Lender may be responsible for additional transportation charges.

G. Couriers

Terms and conditions relating to couriers will be set out in the Loan Agreement.

H. Insurance and Valuations

The Library will insure the inward loans on a door-to-door policy, in accordance with industry standards.

The inward loans will be insured for the values specified in the Loan Agreement, which will be supplied by the Lender and should reflect fair market value.  In the case of damage or loss, the values may need to be substantiated by the Lender for the insurer. If the Lender does not provide a fair market value, the Library should nominate an insurance value for the Period of Loan.

Where the Period of Loan exceeds 12 months, the Library may request a re-assessment of the value of the inward loans from the Lender and insure the Works for the reassessed value.

I. Display and care 

Display methods and exhibition preparation of inward loans will be agreed with the Lender.

The Library will borrow Works only where the Library can meet the agreed display conditions. 

J. Conflicts of Interest

The Library will manage all conflicts of interest in accordance with its Conflicts of Interest Policy.

K. Record keeping and documentation

Records of decisions relating to inward loans, including those that do not proceed, will be kept in accordance with the Standards established under the Public Records Act 1973 (Vic). The Registrar will maintain full and complete records for each inward loan, including loan logistics and administration, communications with the Lender and internal and external stakeholders. Records will also be kept on PCOL compliancy undertaken and loan information published on the Library’s PCOL webpage.

The Exhibition Curator will maintain full and complete records of provenance research undertaken as part of the due diligence process.

L. Criteria for International Loans 

When the Library is considering the loan of Works from an overseas Lender as per part 2 of the Protection of Cultural Object on Loan Act 2013 (Cth), the Chief Executive Officer, the Director Collections, the Director Experience and the Exhibitions Manager must be satisfied that:

  • the loan complies with the requirements of this policy 
  • The consultation, publication and disputes and claims handling requirements of the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Regulation 2014 will be met
  • The Work(s) can be borrowed without contravening national or international conventions, treaties and laws which control the movement of cultural items and natural heritage.

While adherence with the PCOL Act and PCOL regulations is preferred for international inward loans, Lenders may opt-out of PCOL protection by way of written notice to the Library. The Library will then provide timely notification to the relevant authority as set out in the PCOL Act prior to importation of Works into Australia.

Appendix 1. Key Terms

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Works: Works by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist or community and/or containing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander themes or content. 
  • Due Diligence: The thorough assessment of a Work to evaluate its authenticity, ownership and Provenance, and to identify and assess any gaps in the Provenance.
  • Library: State Library Victoria.
  • Inward loan: The bailment of Work(s) from an external organisation or individual to the Library for the purpose of exhibition or display, where no transfer of ownership is involved.
  • International loan: An inward loan where the Lender of the item is not ordinarily a resident in Australia, or is a corporation incorporated under the law of a foreign country, or a government of a foreign country.
  • Lender: The party or parties with legal right to lend an item. 
  • Loan Agreement: The formal legally binding written contract between the Lender and the Library as borrower, and which specifies the terms and conditions of the loan including the respective responsibilities of each party.
  • PCOL: Refers to the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan as described in the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 (Cth), the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Regulations 2014 (Cth) and the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme.
  • Period of Loan: The length of time that the Work(s) will be exhibited, plus an agreed period either side of the nominated exhibition dates to allow for delivery, installation, demount of the Works and return to the Lender.
  • Provenance: The history of ownership of an item from the time of its discovery or creation to the present day.
  • VIRC: The Victorian Indigenous Research Centre at the Library.  
  • Work(s): Collection material including (but not limited to) books, manuscripts, paintings, photographs, Works on paper, textiles, ephemera, objects, and realia.  

Appendix 2. Related Documents  

1 State Library Victoria documents 

2 Key Legislation and Policy

3 Other Resources