For the first time since 2000, our annual events will be held in Western Australia.

The Academy’s 48th Symposium will commence the afternoon of Wednesday 15 November at the University of Western Australia, with the main program on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 November at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle. Visit the venues, hotels and travel page for further details.

Coinciding with Symposium, is the annual Academy Lecture to be given by novelist, descendant of the Noongar people of Western Australia and Honorary Academy Fellow Professor Kim Scott FAHA.

Our annual Fellows’ events will occur in conjunction with the Symposium program, with Academy meetings and Fellows’ Dinner on Friday 17 November and the Annual General Meeting held Saturday 18 November.

Humanitarianism & Human Rights

This year’s Symposium theme is Humanitarianism and Human Rights. Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of interest in the history of human rights, linked to critique of its current global formations. The long history of human rights has been shaped by the ideas of humanism, conflicts for religious freedoms and political representations, and colonial engagement that provokes debates about universal humanity and inviolable rights.

The Symposium program will explore three related questions:

  • How is contemporary Australia shaped by these long intellectual and emotional histories regarding human rights and humanitarianism?
  • Can we identify a distinctively Australian perspective on these questions?
  • What are the challenges for Australia today in engaging with human rights related to matters as wide-ranging as sexuality, disability activism, Indigenous rights, linguistic imperialism, refugees, and religious freedoms.

Download program overview and maps



The program has been convened by Professor Susan Broomhall FAHA (University of Western Australia), Professor Jane Lydon FAHA (University of Western Australia), Professor Alan Dench FAHA (Curtin University) and Professor Baden Offord (Curtin University).


We gratefully acknowledge the support for this year’s Symposium from the following:

  • Co-principal sponsors: Curtin University and the University of Western Australia
  • Associate sponsors: Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Symposium venue sponsor: Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University
  • Wednesday public event: Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions
  • Destination sponsor: Perth Convention Bureau and Tourism Western Australia

About the image

We are grateful for the permission of award winning photographer Barat Ali Batoor to use his photograph, First Day at Sea, in promoting Symposium. You can learn more about Barat’s story, and the image on our website.

Spread the word

We invite you to spread the word and share details of this year’s Symposium through your networks, on social media and newsletters. You are welcome to provide a link to the Symposium website and download the poster 

Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #AAHSymposium