The Max Crawford Medal is Australia’s most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities. It is presented to an early career scholar for outstanding achievement in the humanities, whose research and publications make an exceptional contribution to the understanding of their discipline by the general public.

The Medal has been awarded since 1992 and recipients have gone on to forge strong careers in the Australian humanities community.

Emeritus Professor R. M. (Max) Crawford

The Medal celebrates the outstanding career of Emeritus Professor R. M. (Max) Crawford OBE FAHA (1906–91). He was an eminent historian who greatly influenced the teaching of history in Australian universities and schools, as well being one of the founders of Historical Studies (the first academic journal dedicated to Australian history), the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies and the Australian Humanities Research Centre. Professor Crawford played a critical role in creating the Australian Academy of the Humanities and is recognised as a Foundation Fellow.

This award has been made possible by a generous bequest to the Academy by Professor Crawford.

The 2020 Max Crawford Medal recipient

Award winning Australian writer and historian, Dr Billy Griffiths – whose latest book Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia (2018) has been described as ‘the freshest, most important book about our past in years’ – is the recipient of the Academy’s 2020 Max Crawford Medal.

Dr Griffiths is a lecturer in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Melbourne’s Deakin University. His research focuses on cultural heritage, Indigenous history, political history, archaeology and seascapes.

The award of the Crawford Medal recognises his outstanding ability to bridge the disciplines of history, literature and archaeology, and the imaginative considerations he gives to the intersections of the sciences and the humanities through his work.

Photo credit: Mette Kortelainen

It is a great honour receive the 2020 Max Crawford Medal. My research explores the work of the past three generations of humanities scholars and the immense contributions they have made to understanding and imagining Australian society, culture and history. This award takes on a particular significance at such a challenging time for the humanities. Arts, culture and scholarship have never been more vital to our society.Billy Griffiths, 2020 recipient

Learn more about Dr Griffiths’ work via this video from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage:


The next round of the Crawford Medal will open in early February 2021.

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