Look ahead to 2024, celebrate achievements, and bookmark our top reads, listens and more to carry you through the summer.
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Making news
this month:

We’re covering the Academy’s 2023 Annual Symposium and New Fellows dinner and looking ahead to 2024. This month we celebrate honours and achievements by Fellows, new social science developments in Asia and the Pacific and—with holidays soon upon us—our top reads, listens and more to carry you over the summer.

President's Message

We welcomed 21 New Fellows to the Academy just a few weeks ago. And we heard from them in our annual New Fellows presentation with a ‘3-minute summary of my entire career’ event. I always say that it’s my favourite academic event of the year and 2023 was no exception. 

The Academy’s Annual Dinner at The Marion was also fantastic including hearing the remarkable accomplishments at such an early stage in the careers of our 2023 Paul Bourke Award winners. These were so impressive that Australia’s Chief Scientist Cathy Foley remarked to me ‘I want to be a social scientist’.

I would also like to welcome President-Elect Kate Darian-Smith who has served on the Academy’s Executive Committee for several years. Kate will spend a year as President-Elect and then take over the Presidency in 2025.

This also means that immediate-past-President Jane Hall will end her term on the Executive Committee. Jane has made exceptional contributions during her six years as President-Elect, President, and Past President. She has been a constant source of wisdom.

This has been a big year for policy reports with numerous government inquiries including the Australian Universities Accord process and a review of the Australian Research Council among many others. The Academy also produced a report in November with ACOLA on Modernising Research Assessment, which was widely covered, including opinion pieces from Chief Scientist Cathy Foley and our Expert Working Group and Policy Committee Chair Kevin McConkey.

Academic freedom continues to be a pressing issue—one on which we are considering a roundtable or other general discussion in 2024. Next year also marks the 40th anniversary of Medicare, and we are in the early stages of planning for a workshop on the past, present, and future of healthcare in Australia.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a safe, happy, and restorative holiday season and look forward to seeing you in 2024.

Richard Holden


CEO's Message

Looking ahead to the first half of 2024, the Academy will be launching its Decadal Plan for Social Science Research Infrastructure, the second call for Rechnitz Fund awards, and our second Reconciliation Action Plan; this one at the Innovate stage. Our new education program will begin rolling out to schools, and Academy staff and Fellows will be supporting the Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils (AASSREC) to deliver the Boosting Social Sciences and their Contribution to Better Lives across the Indo-Pacific, generously funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre.

I invite all Fellows to get involved in these and other Academy activities in the new year, from nominating for committees, contributing to policy roundtables, participating in or organising events during Social Sciences Week, and letting us know the news of your awards, grants or achievements. And if your contact details have changed, please do remember to send us an email or log into your profile on the Fellows’ portal to ensure we have your current information.

Finally, as 2023 draws to a close I’d like to thank all the Academy’s Fellows and friends for your tremendous support over the year. On behalf of my colleagues in the national office, we wish you a safe and enjoyable festive season.

Chris Hatherly


AGM round-up: What’s ahead in 2024

A few key changes emerged from the Academy’s Annual General Meeting on 15 November. Those attending endorsed nominations of three new officers of the Executive Committee: Kate Darian-Smith as President-Elect, Stephen Taylor as incoming Treasurer and Nick Brown as new Chair of Panel C: History, Philosophy and Law and also acknowledged the 21 newly elected Fellows and four Paul Bourke recipients. The other major item on the agenda was the adoption of a new Constitution and a change in structure from an ACT-registered association to a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. While this change will be largely invisible to most it’s an important move that better suits the Academy’s national scope of operations and staffing. Importantly, the Academy’s tax-deductible charity status will remain unchanged.

Tis the season to be New Fellows

November saw 18 of the 21 newly elected Academy Fellows gather in Canberra at the Hyatt Hotel for the New Fellows presentation, with passionate and intriguing speeches given on a variety of social science subjects including constitutional law, mental health policy, urban mobility and feminist history. Afterwards, the Cunningham Lecture, delivered annually by an eminent social scientist, was presented by Fellow Susan Danby on Risks and opportunities: building social contexts for young children’s digital interactions.

New and existing Fellows, invited guests, the 2023 Paul Bourke Award winners—Drs Denise Angelo, Arjuna Dibley, Lise Lafferty and Ruben Loaiza-Maya—and Academy staff celebrated afterward with an elegant dinner at The Marion where New Fellows had a chance to meet new and longstanding colleagues and participate in the sharing and network that is a mark of Academy Fellowship.

Guests at the Academy's 2023 Annual Dinner.

Academy President Richard Holden, centre, with 2023 Paul Bourke Award Winners: (from left)- Drs Denise Angelo, Arjuna Dibley, Ruben Loaiza-Maya and Lise Lafferty.

Academy President Richard Holden, centre, celebrating with some of the 2023 New Fellows in Canberra.

The Academy’s one-day Annual Symposium followed on 24 November, Digital society: Social science perspectives for a better future at the National Library of Australia, with a program of absorbing presentations and vibrant discussions curated by Academy Fellows. You can find details of the program here.  We thank everyone who attended and participated in the Symposium.

Congratulations to all. You can find more information on the 2023 New Fellows at our website.

Social Sciences Week keeps giving 

With summer sport looming the Academy’s inaugural Great Debate—Does sport unite us or divide us?—held as part of Social Sciences Week (SSW) 2023 is now available for listening on ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas. And it’s a reminder that every year SSW creates fascinating events and experiences in one-jammed packed week of celebrating the value of the social sciences. Start now to make sure you’re part of SSW2024. Put the dates in your diary—
9-15 September and check our SSW site for inspiration and begin planning to participate, attend or sponsor SSW2024.

New Report: How Australia assesses research 

Australia deserves modern outward facing research assessment practices according to a new report from ACOLA and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Research assessment in Australia: Evidence for modernisation. The report, commissioned by Australia’s Chief Scientist, calls for a system that recognises diverse forms of research excellence and impact and takes account that not all research achieves impact, commercialisation or policy change in the short- or medium-term.

National conversation on youth policy 

The Academy was proud to co-convene a ground-breaking policy roundtable in Canberra last month on issues facing young Australians, together with the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition and Monash Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice. The event was opened by 

Hon Dr Anne Aly MP and Kiara Petterson from the Australian Government’s Youth Steering Committee and chaired by Academy Fellow Ariadne Vromen. The roundtable drew together key stakeholders, youth researchers and policy makers to start a nationally significant conversation about shaping the future with young people and exploring new approaches to policy addressing three key themes: belonging, wellbeing and security. 

Attendees at Shaping the future: a new approach to policy that works for young people.


Cobble Cobble and South Sea Islander woman and Fellow Megan Davis has won the Powerhouse category in the Marie Claire 2023 Women of the Year Awards. Congratulations Megan! 

ICYMI: Congratulations to the 14 Academy Fellows who were successful recipients of Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects in the latest funding round. More details here.

Australia's Social Future

In 2021 the Academy celebrated its 50th anniversary, marking the occasion with a special symposium on Australia’s social future. The event was held online over two days with more than 700 people attending. The social future of Australia: the 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia is a free to download collection that brings together most of the presentations from more than 50 speakers and provides a snapshot of the major challenges and opportunities facing Australia in 2021.

Boosting social sciences in the Indo-Pacific 

A new program for the Indo-Pacific aims to revolutionise social science research capacity, networks, and influence across the region. Launched in November 2023, Boosting Social Sciences and their Contribution to Better Lives is a collaborative partnership between the Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils (AASSREC) and the Global Development Network (GDN), with generous funding from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

This program will be coordinated by the Academy in its capacity as AASSREC secretariat.

The future of science publishing: Have your say

Two discussion papers released by the International Science Council (ISC) and produced by the ISC’s The Future of Scientific Publishing project invite your feedback. Paper One: The Key Principles to Scientific Publishing and Paper Two: The Case for Reform of Scientific Publishing, are available along with a related blog that argues for essential reforms to scientific publishing to create a new era of open knowledge. The ISC invites your feedback and provides a short survey at the end of the webpage for each publication. The survey closes on 1 March 2024.

Opportunities in 2024

Be ready for February 2024 when details of the next round of the Rechnitz Fund grants for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early- and mid-career researchers become available.

Farewell to the Seriously Social podcast

That's it for the Seriously Social podcast. After 60 episodes, we want to say a special farewell and thanks from the Academy podcast team, executive producers Bonnie Johnson, Clare McHugh and producer Chez Robinson and from host Ginger Gorman, producer Kim Lester and sound engineer Mark Gageldonk (aka Baldey). To all our guests and listeners over the years—thank you, we couldn’t have done it without you! More than 120,000 listens later we’ve explored our world together through the social sciences and covered some amazing ideas, research and insights. Seriously Social will remain available to download for a long time to come. We hope you continue to visit, listen to your favourites and find new favourites to share. 

Farewell to Academy team member and hello to a new address

Farewell to Clare McHugh, our exceptional Communications Manager. Clare has been an invaluable part of our team, instrumental in shaping our Academy’s voice, playing a pivotal role in spearheading our education initiative and fostering stakeholder engagement. We wish Clare all the best!

We’re moving! As this newsletter reaches you the Academy move to new premises is underway. You can find the national office team at Level 3/95 Northbourne Avenue Turner ACT 2612. For now our postal address remains the same—it’s located at the bottom of this newsletter.

Summer Read, Watch, Listen, Attend

What a huge year for great reads, listening and viewing. With our Seriously Social podcast releasing its final episode and summer ahead we’ve got you covered for what to read, watch, listen and attend over the holidays and beyond.


In a world of flux, read Fellow Fleur Johns’ fascinating analysis of the centrality of ‘diplomatic households’ to the work of strategic and state relations or find the latest research and most promising solutions to Violence against women: What everyone needs to know by Fellow Jacqui True. 

On a similar theme, new Fellow Kate McGregor’s Systemic Silencing: Activism, memory and sexual violence in Indonesia explores the overlooked experience of Indonesia’s euphemistically named World War II ‘comfort women’. Fellow Andrew Jakubowicz’s Making multicultural Australia: past, present and future, a community information brief, marks the 42nd anniversary of the Botany Migrant Resource Centre, Sydney Multicultural Community Services and 50th anniversary of the first vision for a multi-cultural Australia (by Immigration Minister of the day Al Grassby). Available as an A5 Brief online and full-colour hard copy through Sydney Multicultural Community Services. Find details here.


  • Fellow Michelle Grattan on government legislation on preventative detention of former immigration detainees deemed high risk for serious violent or sexual crimes.

  • New Fellow Michelle Arrow on why pop culture does no favours to understanding mental health

  • Fellow John Quiggan on how Australia and the world expect to fail on ‘net-zero by 2050’.

Thinking about the social sciences and change—read this case study (paywall) on how research, advocacy and the right campaign persuaded the Australian government to face and change poor policy. This thoughtful New York Times article (paywall) asks who is ‘fracking’ our attention and whether the humanities and social sciences have a special role in ensuring we ‘attend to attention’. And as a year of difficult discourse ends, recommit to the value of face-to-face discussion in this insightful ‘Friday essay: Rai Gaita and the moral power of conversation’. Find more thought-provoking online essays and short films at Aeon magazine.


Watch the recording of our final Seriously Social podcast interview in full length with Fellow Professor Tom Calma AO in conversation with journalist and podcast host Ginger Gorman.

We were proud to be part of the Royal Society of New South Wales (RNSW) and Learned Academies Forum on 2 November. A lot of brain power—including several Fellows of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia—considered ‘Our 21st Century Brain’. Watch the recordings here.

Hanging out with Gen Z (or any gen other than your own) these holidays? Catch up on a few terms that might have passed you by when Fellow Kate Burridge looks at 2023’s newest words here.


New Fellow Kate McGregor’s podcast Talking Indonesia: Activism, memory and sexual violence accompanies her recent book and explores the hidden history of Indonesia’s World War II experience of enforced prostitution. 


Top 5 (or 6) listens in 2023

Over summer catch up on this year’s most downloaded Seriously Social episodes:

  1. The politics of a lower voting age with Fellow Lisa Hill

  2. No one plans to be poor with Fellow Roger Wilkins

  3. What’s the point of a protest? with Aidan Ricketts

  4. The weird and wonderful world of micronations with Dr Harry Hobbs

  5. Unleashing truth and change with Fellow Barry Jones

Close behind at number 6 one of our most popular episodes ever (almost 5,000 downloads!) is from 2022: I’m not racist, but… featuring Fellow Fethi Mansouri. And if you’re entertaining vegans or vegetarians over summer before you reach for the meat substitute learn more about those fancy alternative foods with Fellow Christine Parker’s Health halo: Is fake meat for real?

Seriously Social Podcast: final episode

Our final Seriously Social podcast episode brings you a special interview with 2023 Senior Australian of the Year, Fellow Tom Calma AO. Professor Calma reflects on what drives him and the hopes he has for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and all Australians, in the wake of the Voice Referendum.

Academy Communication Director Bonnie Johnson with Fellow Tom Calma AO and journalist Ginger Gorman.


Fellow Carla Treloar and colleagues present new findings in Community attitudes towards poverty and inequality in Australia, online 14 December 2023. Find details and register.

Thinking further afield? Attend the ninth International Conference onSocial Sciences, Humanities and Education (ICSHE) from 1-3 March in Vienna, Austria.

Share this newsletter with a colleague or student or sign up to receive it regularly to stay in touch with the Academy and social science developments in 2024. This monthly newsletter will resume in February. Our office is closed from 24 December until Wednesday 3 January  with most of the team available again by mid-January.

In the meantime, best wishes from the whole team at the Academy to all of you, for a happy, relaxing, celebratory time over summer enjoyed with the people, places and rituals precious to you.

Events schedule
View and register for upcoming events.

Policy and publications
Read recent submissions and other publications.

Listen to the latest Seriously Social episodes.

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia.

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional owners of the land on which our national office is located, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, and

to their elders past, present and future.

Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
ABN: 59 957 839 703
26 Balmain Crescent, Acton, ACT 2601
Postal: GPO Box 1956, Canberra, ACT 2601
Tel: (02) 6249 1788

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