Celebrating 50 years of the Academy

AAH News Academy

The Academy is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019.

This significant milestone provides a unique opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of the humanities to understanding our past and making sense of the present, and consider the role that the humanities will play in humanising the future.

“In our ever changing and dynamic world, the humanities remain central to our cultures and to our identities. The humanities define who we are and where we are going. In fact, I would say they drive it. They give pause for reflection and offer ways of building new perspectives” said Academy President, Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA. “These ideas have been the driving force behind our anniversary plans. I look forward to welcoming you all to our celebrations.”

We invite you to learn more about the establishment of the Academy on our website. For an account of the debates and efforts that led to the establishment of the Academy, see Graeme Davison’s article in the inaugural edition of Humanities Australia: Phoenix rising: The Academy and the humanities in 1969.

Program of events, open to all

In marking our 50th Anniversary, we will be embarking on a program of events across the country for the Australian community to learn more about the role and impact of the humanities in our national life.

Visit our website for up-and-coming events in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane with announcements soon about events for Armidale, Canberra, Melbourne, Toowoomba, Wollongong and Adelaide.

The landmark event for the year is our 50th Symposium – Humanising the Future – to be held at the State Library of Queensland, 14-15 November 2019 in Brisbane. This Symposium will explore the human dynamics by which the future has been imagined and brought into being; ask whether we can humanise the digital future; build cities’ civic culture into the future; and consider prospects for the human, and the post-human, in our current epoch, the Anthropocene. The program is convened by Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham AM FAcSS FAHA (Queensland University of Technology), Professor Jean Burgess (Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre), Professor Mark Finnane FASSA FAHA (Griffith University) and Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens (University of Queensland).

50 Discoveries

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations, we will be releasing ’50 Discoveries’, a digital publication celebrating the past, present and future of the humanities in Australia.

The publication will showcase 50 significant discoveries and advancements made by Australian humanities researchers and practitioners that have transformed our understanding of humanity. Supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, the discoveries will be presented as a series of short articles and  placed in direct conversation with contemporary challenges and debates facing our future.

In using the term ‘discovery’ we have been guided, in part, by the definition advanced by Foundation Fellow and first Academy President, W.K. Hancock – that it is, ‘not a once-and-for-all achievement, but rather a continuing effort, whose end — if ever there is an end — still lies far beyond sight.’

We consider this particularly apt for our 50th Anniversary celebrations, as we seek not only to recognise past achievements, but to emphasise the role of the humanities into the future.

Register for updates

To keep up-to-date on our anniversary activities, you can subscribe to our regular e-newsletter.

Vote of thanks

We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to the 50th Anniversary Working Committee who have been instrumental in overseeing plans for the anniversary,  Academy President Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA, Honorary Fellow Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich AM FAHA, Professor John Griffiths Oficial Orden Isabel la Católica FAHA, Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley FAHA and Emeritus Professor Graham Tulloch FAHA.