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Wednesday 15 November

LAWRENCE WILSON ART GALLERY, The University of Western Australia

5:00pm—Emotions, Human Rights, and Humanitarianism 
This event will showcase what new humanities emotions research can bring to understanding of the long history of human rights and humanitarianism, and opens the 48th Symposium of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. 

This is a free event open to the public, sponsored by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, followed by a reception hosted by The University of Western Australia. 

Key note speakers for this event are:

  • Professor David Konstan FAmerAAS FAHA, New York University
  • Professor Anna Haebich FASSA FAHA, Curtin University

They will join the following speakers in a discussion chaired by Professor Susan Broomhall FAHA:

  • Dr Paul Gibbard, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions
  • Associate Professor Jacqueline Van Gent, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions
  • Professor Andrew Lynch, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions

Hosted by Professor Kent Anderson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Community and Engagement) of The University of Western Australia.

Complimentary return bus transfer for Symposium delegates from the University to Fremantle. Bookings essential via the registration form.

Gallery exhibitions
Delegates to this event will be able to view the four exhibitions on show at the Gallery:

  • Country and Colony—A range of perspectives on the Australian experience from the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art.
  • Milingimbi: A Living Culture—Selection of works from Milingimbi Island in north-east Arnhem Land from the Berndt Museum, Milingimbi Aboriginal Art and Cultural Centre and the Janet Holmes a Court Collection.
  • Batavia: Giving voice to the voiceless—Follows new discoveries by researchers from the University of Western Australia into the 1629 wreck of the Dutch ship Batavia, as reinterpreted by Paul Uhlmann and Robert Cleworth.
  • Being Tiwi—Celebrating the iconography, stories and culture of contemporary art from the Tiwi Islands.

Thursday 16 November


9:00amSymposium opening

  • Elder Marie Taylor—Welcome to Country
  • Professor John Fitzgerald FAHAWelcome from the Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • Professor Susan Broomhall FAHA and Professor Jane Lydon FSA FAHA from The University of Western Australia—Convenors’ welcome

9:30am—Key note address

  • Professor Jennifer Burn, Director of Anti-Slavery Australia and Professor of Law at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

10:00am—Session 1: Displacement and Diaspora
This session focuses on a range of historical and contemporary interventions and representations of refugee, asylum seekers, and others by institutions and community and academic actions. This session will be chaired by Dr Shino Konishi of The University of Western Australia with:

  • Mr Alec Coles OBE, Western Australian Museum—Emotional Ties: Challenges of sharing stories of identity, origins, belonging, diaspora and displacement
  • Professor Suvendrini Perera,  Curtin University—The Deathscapes Project
  • Professor Joseph Pugliese, Macquarie University—Displacement, Diaspora and the Ethical Imperative of the Incomplete Community

11:30am—Session 2: Violence and Persecution
This session explores how discourses of human rights and humanitarianism are implicated in the ways that forms of violence and persecution are constituted, mitigated, ended, or ameliorated. This session will be chaired by Professor Baden Offord of Curtin University with:

  • Professor John Erni FHKAH, Hong Kong Baptist University—Notes on Modern Rights Consciousness in China
  • Professor Amanda Nettelbeck FAHA, University of Adelaide—Humanitarianism, violence and colonial legacies
  • Dr Yirga Woldeyes, Curtin University—Protecting and Negating Lives: The Janus face of human rights and humanitarian discourse on Africans’ sense of belonging

1:30pm—Lunchtime briefing 
During lunch, an informal briefing will be hosted by Professor Joanne Tompkins, the Australian Research Council’s Executive Director, Humanities and Creative Arts, on the Council’s Centres of Excellence program. This briefing is optional and open to all.

2:00pm—Session 3: Freedom, Protection and Safety
How human rights frameworks and discourses seek to protect vulnerable communities and societies. Associate Professor Katie Ellis, of Curtin University will chair this session with:

  • Professor Joseph Lo Bianco AM FAHA, The University of Melbourne 
  • Mr Caine Chennatt, The University of Western Australia—The art museum as mediator, facilitator, and exemplar of inclusion
  • Professor Gerard Goggin, University of Sydney—Reimagining Communication Rights with Disability

Thursday 16 November


4:00pm—Annual Academy Lecture
Every year the Academy 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.

The 48th Annual Academy Lecture will be given by novelist, descendant of the Noongar people of Western Australia and Honorary Academy Fellow Professor Kim Scott FAHA

This is a free event, open to the public, followed by a reception hosted by Curtin University.

Hosted by Professor Deborah Terry AO FASSA Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University.

Museum exhibitions
Symposium and Annual Academy Lecture delegates receive complimentary access to the Museum’s permanent exhibitions on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 November.

Friday 17 November



  • Associate Professor Simon Forrest, Curtin University—Welcome to Country 
  • Professor Alan Dench FAHA and Professor Baden Offord of Curtin University—Convenors’ comments

9:30am—Session 4: The Environment and Human Environment
This session explores the implications of a recent expansion of notions of rights that challenges the boundary between human and non-human, focusing upon issues of disconnection, individualism, and extinction in the age of the Anthropocene. Associate Professor Andrea Gaynor of The University of Western Australia will chair this session with:

  • Professor John Kinsella, Curtin University—Sightings-failure
  • Dr Matthew Chrulew, Curtin University—Captivity Histories 
  • Ms Elise Bohan, Macquarie University—Transhuman Rights: A Defining Issue for 21st Century Humanity
  • Professor Stephen Muecke FAHA, University of Adelaide—Extensions of the Human 

11:30am—Session 5: Belonging and Citizenship
The session speaks to forms of belonging and citizenship and who may be considered a legitimate ‘Australian’, ‘legally’ ‘culturally’ or otherwise. The session will discuss Indigeneity, migration, asylum-seeking and how human rights have been, and are, configured within the Australian story alongside the ongoing effects of colonialism. This session will be chaired by Professor Alan Dench FAHA, Curtin University with:

  • Mr Steve Kinnane, University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Ms Rabia Siddique—Putting the Citizen back into Citizenship: What it means to be an Australian in the modern context – legal, cultural, and political reflections on the ability to belong
  • Professor Diana Eades FAHA, University of New England—Meaning, Context and Equality before the Law

1:00pmSymposium close