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Consultation open for the Future Humanities Workforce Project

AAH News Opportunities, Policy & Research

The Australian Academy of the Humanities invites you to share your view on the challenges and opportunities facing Australia’s humanities-trained workforce and its contribution to a range of industry sectors.

Funded by the Australian Research Council, our Future Humanities Workforce project aims to understand the capacity and demographics of Australia’s university-based and broader humanities research workforce, to identify the contemporary challenges that it faces, and to devise strategies for securing its ongoing resilience and vitality. These aims are the basis of three inter-related lines of enquiry, pertaining to:

  • support systems for early career humanities researchers;
  • the skills and knowledge that will be needed by the future humanities research workforce both for teaching and research, including digital and data literacy; and
  • workforce diversity and gender equity.

Research and teaching in the humanities provide the historical, ethical, creative and cultural expertise that informs our understanding of the world, as well as our ability to respond to global challenges and opportunities. Furthermore, as a predominantly services-based economy, Australia depends on humanities training to prepare graduates who staff our largest and most productive sectors – from education and law, to health and finance.

Our focus in the first phase of the project is on the university-based workforce, and the wider postgraduate-trained workforce. This cohort plays a key role in preserving and advancing disciplinary knowledge in the humanities; in creating opportunities for knowledge exchange between academia, government and industry; and in training future generations of humanities graduates.

The second phase of our project will consult broadly and engage a range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive understanding of the humanities-trained workforce.

Surveying the landscape

Preliminary work on the project has identified a series of challenges and opportunities relating to these areas. We have completed a comprehensive literature review, which is now publicly available.

Key topics arising from the literature review include:

  • best practice models for supporting viable career paths for researchers in and beyond academia;
  • strategies for positioning humanistic training at the heart of debates about the future of work; and
  • ways to redress mechanisms that continue to reproduce inequities in the academic workforce.

Download the Literature Review.

Call for consultation

We warmly invite the higher education sector, humanities researchers, teachers and graduates, humanities disciplinary associations, government policymakers, industry, and not-for-profit organisations to share their view on these matters.

This consultation process will explore a range of key questions, such as:

  • How are we providing viable pathways for future humanities academics?
  • How are programs equipping the next generation of researchers with the skills and knowledge required to work within and beyond academia, and to train future generations?
  • Is the humanities research workforce diverse enough to cater for the future needs of our political, legal, economic, cultural and educational sectors?

Submissions to the consultation close on Friday 31 May 2019.

About the project

This project is funded by the Australian Research Council, through the Learned Academies Special Projects scheme. The scheme invests in the future of Australian research by providing vital funds to the Learned Academies to support strategic disciplinary initiatives.

The project team is headed by the President of the Academy and ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA, the project team includes Professor Jane Lydon FSA FAHA and Professor Graham Oppy FAHA,  the Academy’s Director, Policy & Research, Dr Kylie Brass, and Research Officer Dr Iva Glisic.

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Media enquires

Please contact Julia Evans, Director, Communications and Engagement.