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Contracts

A contract is like a promise between people. It is an understanding, a deal between two or more people or organisations to do certain things. Each person or organisation who agrees to do something in a contract is called a party.

An agreement, or a contract, says what you and the other person or organisation have agreed to do. It is a written list of the promises you have made. The best form of contract is written on paper and signed by each party.

On this page:

Types of contracts

Some examples of contracts include:

  • Entry forms: when you enter your work into an exhibition, festival or competition
  • Consent / Release forms: when someone wants your permission to show images of you or your work in public
  • Gallery agreements and publishing licences: when showing work in a gallery, or if your work is published
  • Funding agreements: when you receive funding
  • Studio agreements: when working in a supported studio or a program run by an organisation

Why is a contract used?

A contract is used when people or organisations have agreed to do something together. A contract is often used to:

  • say what is expected of you;
  • say what you expect of the other person or organisation;
  • protect each other’s needs and rights;
  • make each party more responsible for what that party promises to do; and
  • say what happens if a party does not keep its promise.

 What should you do before making a contract?

  • Make sure you understand what is promised to you and what you are promising. You have the right to ask that a contract is explained to you with simple words before signing it. You could also ask someone you trust to read it and explain it to you.
  • Make sure that the contract really protects your interests.
  • Only make promises which you can keep.
  • Write your contract down and make sure that everyone involved has signed it.
  • Get legal advice, to make sure that the contract is a good one for you.
  • The contract and any explanation of its meaning should meet your communication needs.
  • You have the right to ask that a contract is provided in alternative formats, such as:
    • Braille
    • Large print
    • Auslan interpretation

What happens if you or the other person, organisation or party does not follow the contract?

If a person, organisation or party does not keep its promise they are in breach of your contract.

Learn how to protect yourself if an agreement has been breached in Taking action: what are the legal steps?

Important things to remember

  • Make sure you understand what is promised to you and what you are asked to promise before agreeing to anything.
  • Ask questions and get legal advice so that you completely understand your contract
  • A good contract should say:
    • what you and the other party needs;
    • what you and the other party promise to do;
    • what responsibilities you and the other party have;
    • when each party will do the things it has promised to do; and
    • what will happen if a party does not keep its promise. 
  • You have rights if the other party to the contract does not keep its promise.

 Contract tips

  • Never sign anything that you don’t understand.
  • Never sign anything that you don’t agree with.
  • Do not promise something that you cannot provide.
  • Put your contract in writing.
  • Always keep a copy of all documents that you sign