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Our 50th Anniversary


In 2019, the Academy will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

In marking this significant occasion, we have embarked on a program of events taking place across the country.  These events acknowledge the vital role of the humanities in helping us understand our past, make sense of our present, and ensure a humanised future for all people.

We invite you to learn more about the establishment of the Academy. 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 AustraliaPhoenix rising: The Academy and the humanities in 1969.

Up-and-coming events:

Free public event: Intercultural Intersections — 27 August 2019, Adelaide

The Intercultural Intersections event will experience Indigenous, migrant and colonial exchanges through language discovery and revival, song, sound, music and performance. This event will be held at the iconic Elder Hall and we are grateful to the University of Adelaide for their generous support. This is a free public event, open to all. See our website for the program and to register.

Second Eric Richards Symposium in British and Australasian History — 2-4 September 2019, Armidale

The Academy is delighted to support this Symposium, honouring leading migration historian and Academy Fellow, the late Emeritus Professor Eric Richards FASSA FRHS FAHA.

Free public event: Workforce Futures — 18 September 2019, Sydney

A resilient Australian future workforce will need a mix of skills, knowledge and attributes to effectively deliver the nation’s innovation agenda and to be globally competitive in an age of rapid technological change and geo-political disruption. The Workforce Futures event will have leaders from the humanities, industry, education and government discuss ethical, creative and environmental impacts on shaping a diverse, adaptable and creative future workforce. We are grateful to the State Library of New South Wales for their generous support. This is a free public event, open to all. See our website for the program and to register.

Free public event: Gender-based Violence — 24 September 2019, Sydney

The Gender-based Violence roundtable discussion at the UNSW Sydney will draw on Australian and Asia-Pacific research to examine how gender-based violence is represented across a wide range of media and texts; how it has evolved; and how cultural and workplace contexts contribute to perpetuating these harms. This is a free public event, open to all. See our website for the program and to register.

Knowledge Frontiers Forum — 11-12 November 2019, Brisbane 

The British Academy and the Australian Academy of the Humanities are jointly hosting the Knowledge Frontiers Forum on the ‘The Future’. This special event will bring together up to forty humanities, arts and social science Early Career Researchers  from the UK, Australia and the Pacific region to discuss key questions around the futures theme.

Digital Media, Digital Methods and the Humanities Workshop — 13 November 2019, Brisbane 

The Academy is delighted to partner with QUT Digital Media Research Centre to host the The Digital Media, Digital Methods and the Humanities Workshop. This interactive full day workshop will bring together humanities Higher Degree Research students and Early Career Researchers to develop new skills and critical methods of studying for our rapidly changing digital media environments and increasingly datafied societies.

Free public event: The 9th Hancock Lecture — 13 November 2019, Brisbane 

Maaya Waabiny: Mobilising song archives to nourish an endangered language

The Australian Academy of the Humanities’ Hancock Lecture series invites young Australian scholars of excellence to talk about their work with a broader audience. The lecture series is made possible through a bequest from the estate of Sir (William) Keith Hancock KBE FAHA and is usually delivered every three to four years. This is a free event, open to the public.

The 9th Hancock Lecture will be given by Wirlomin Noongar researcher Associate Professor Clint Bracknell from the Kurongkurl Katitjin Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research and WAAPA, Edith Cowan University on his interdisciplinary approach to enhance the revitalisation of endangered Noongar language and song in the south coast region of Western Australia.  

Free public event: The 50th Academy Lecture — 14 November 2019 Brisbane 

Every year the Australian Academy of the Humanities invites a Fellow to deliver the annual Academy Lecture. Since 1970, this tradition has demonstrated the extraordinary breadth and depth of our Fellows’ contribution to the Australian and international humanities community, and to enriching the cultural life of the nation.  This is a free event, open to the public.

The 50th Academy Lecture will be presented by Academy President Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA.

Humanising the Future: The 50th Academy Symposium — 14-15 November 2019, Brisbane

Registrations are now open for the 50th Symposium.

Powerful versions of millennial futures have excited, reassured and terrified populations for centuries. Today’s grand narrative of the age of robots, artificial intelligence and the fourth industrial revolution is framed both in terms of existential threat and revolutionary transformation. The Academy’s 50th annual Symposium – Humanising the Future – 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 50th Symposium is being 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).

Annual Fellows’ events 15-16 November 2019, Brisbane

The annual events of the Academy’s Fellowship — the Fellows’ Dinner, Section Meetings and the Annual General Meeting — will occur in Brisbane Friday 15 to Saturday 16 November. See our website for details.

Further information

For further information please contact us. You can keep up to date with Academy news by subscribing to our e-newsletter.