Annual Symposium, announcements, opportunities and more.
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President's Message
Our Annual Symposium is now only 17 days away. The events of the last six months have meant that we have made this an online event. This gives greater opportunities for participation, as no travel is involved. This year registration is free and registration is not limited to Academy Fellows – so encourage your colleagues to join and learn more about the Academy.

This year is our fiftieth anniversary. And as befits such a milestone, the program is ambitious, addressing what sort of social future we want for our country. The social disruption we have experienced in the last two years have brought many of these questions into stark relief. But the last two years have shown us something else – that big change is possible.

Two years ago, at the end of the 2019 symposium and meetings, the Academy called a meeting of those interested in action on climate change. The room was filled to capacity, and even more joined by Zoom. This was the start of the Climate Change program which has produced a discussion paper, a number of submissions, and a position paper. How attitudes to climate change have matured.

Then, we were careful to reference the science and authoritative statements on the reality and impact of climate change. Now, public and political attitudes have been transformed and the debate has moved to how to get to net-zero emissions, rather than why should we. I want to thank Sue Richardson, on behalf of all the Academy, for her determined leadership on this issue. It remains a priority for the Academy as there is still much to do.

Finally, and in anticipation of the announcement to be made on 9 November, I look forward to welcoming all our new Fellows. Don’t forget to Zoom in to the New Fellows’ presentations on 24 November to be surprised and pleased at the great social sciences contributions being made across our disciplines and across Australia.

Professor Jane Hall FASSA FAHMS, President

  • Academy AGM, Panel Meetings and New Fellows Presentations, Wednesday 24 Nov. Please register here.
  • Nominations for Fellowship close on 30 November. Guidelines and online nomination form here.
  • Anniversary Symposium – 22-23 November. More than 50 speakers and panellists over eight sessions. Register here.
Registrations open: Academy’s 50th Anniversary Symposium
You’re invited to the Academy’s 50th Anniversary Symposium The Social Future of Australia, which will be held online from 22-23 November 2021. (And a big thank you to all the Fellows and supporters who have already been actively sharing the event details on Twitter.)

With over 50 participants, six presentation sessions, and three roundtable sessions, the Symposium will provide contemporary and provocative commentary on issues important to society as well as to each of our disciplines. Questions and comments from the online audience will be worked into the program.

Registration is free via the Symposium webpage. You can register to attend the full two-day program, single days, or for individual sessions.

We need your help in three ways: First, please register. Second, please share information about the Symposium with your friends and colleagues, nationally and internationally. Third, please help us reach a broad audience. In addition to Fellows, we are aiming to reach policymakers (federal and state), academics, media (traditional and social), and the general public.

This is your Symposium, and in this 50th Anniversary year we, are aiming to make it different by reaching a wide audience.

Please participate by registering and actively engaging, and please help by spreading the word (please use the hashtag #socialfuture) and by sharing about The Social Future of Australia.

Seriously Social Podcast breaks the 65,000 mark
The National Office isn’t filled with sports fans (we think it’s a 50/50 split) but we DO like kicking goals. The Seriously Social podcast reached a good one last month – with over 65,000 downloads to date.

Our job-sharing duo, Sue and Bonnie from the Academy’s communications team, are currently planning for Season 5 of Seriously Social, which will hit your favourite podcasting platform in March 2022. If you have an episode idea you’d like us to consider, or a suggestion for who we should interview (maybe it’s you!), have a listen to a few of the most recent episodes to see how the episodes tell stories from the social sciences, and then get in touch at
Healthy Societies Symposium
The pandemic has thrown health into the spotlight like never before. On 16 November, The Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies in partnership with The Australian Sociological Association is hosting the ‘Healthy Societies’ Symposium with speakers including Fellows Professor Emma Kowal and Professor Ian Hickie. The symposium program including addresses from a range of Australian and international experts. More details here.
Congratulations aplenty in November
As many eagerly await the announcement of the name of our new Fellows and our Paul Bourke Award winners for 2021 (stay tuned, not long now in both cases), November will see our Awards team get together to decide where to award grants for our 2022 Workshops Program.

With 32 applications from 18 universities and one independent organisation, it won’t be an easy task: this is the largest number of applications we’ve had for our Workshop Program since 2015-16.

While publication of journal articles or special issues was still a common output of the workshop proposals, it was excellent to see that applicants are increasingly creative about and committed to achieving impacts on policy and the broader community. This was reflected in innovative proposed workshop outputs such as policy road-mapping, development of research networks or infrastructure or communicating outputs through video.

Congratulations to Fellow Professor Felicity Meakins who has been awarded the prestigious Kenneth L. Hale Award by the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) for outstanding work on the documentation of endangered languages.

Under the direction of First Nations communities, Felicity has worked for 20 years in northern Australia, leading teams of community members, students, postdocs, artists, musicologists and biologists to document Ngumpin-Yapa languages. Her projects have dedicated over $4.4M to the documentation of First Nation languages in Australia, with the aim of honouring these languages, recognising new ways of speaking by younger generations and providing First Nations communities with guiding principles for language revitalisation.

Congratulations to Fellow Professor Kaarin Anstey being elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in recognition of her outstanding research contributions in Australia.

Congratulations to Fellow Professor Jacqui True on being selected as a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairsfor her excellence in scholarship on international relations and gender, peace and security.

Well done Felicity, Kaarin and Jacqui!
Awards: do you have a PhD student working on PNG?
The Hank Nelson Prize is open to international PhD students submitting a thesis on Papua New Guinea– the annual Hank Nelson Prize.

This award was established and supported by family and friends of historian Hank Nelson to honour his commitment to PNG and his four decades of service in teaching, mentoring and scholarly research on PNG.

The Hank Nelson Prize offers a prize of $1,000 for the best PhD thesis submitted by any student, internationally, on any aspect of PNG’s history or society.

Submissions close in April 2022, and more information is available here.

Read, Watch, Listen
As AI moves forward, there’s a lot to unpack. Who better to explain it than Fellow Anthony Elliott? In Anthony’s new book, Making Sense of AI: Our Algorithmic World, he gives a comprehensive account of AI, perfect for general readers and students in the social sciences and humanities. Congratulations Anthony.  
Keep your eyes peeled for videos on each of our 2021 Paul Bourke award winners this month. In the meantime, as we slowly start to turn our attention back to global news beyond COVID, here’s one of our favourites from earlier in the year:

Featuring Fellow Professor Roland Bleiker, this 3-minute video (which received over 23,000 views on Facebook alone), is a great reminder about just how intertwined images are with our perception of politics.
Season 4 of the Academy’s Seriously Social podcast continues at full steam with three new episodes out since our last newsletter.

First, in early October a topic which all our readers should be sharing on the value of experts. Trust me, I’m an expert, features Fellow Dr Ken Henry and Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley – please get this one out to your networks.

Next, in mid-October we released an excellent episode on whether incentives work. Given we’re all at the end of a tough year, yet still needing to harness motivation to get to the finish line, this one is worth a listen. Thank you to Fellow Professor Neal Askhanasy whose expertise features in the episode.

Finally, and timely given many people are already starting to plan holidays or Christmas spending, we looked at the issue of debt: Are Buy Now Pay Later schemes changing our attitudes to debt? The answer? Well, we’ll let you listen to what young people participating in an academic study in the Hunter region said on this one. This episode was inspired by an event from Social Sciences Week and looks at our changing perspectives of debt – particularly for young Australians. The podcast episode was also embedded into an article in The Conversation.

From Our Socials
The Academy is increasingly active on social media, and you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn. (You can also follow our Seriously Social stories, videos and podcast episodes on social media – find all those links here.)
Wish more people understood the social sciences? Introduce them to Seriously Social.
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