Read the latest news from the Academy
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Dr Matila House delivers the Welcome to Country for Book Launch: 'Indigenous Self-Determination in Australia: Histories and Historiographies' edited by Laura Rademaker and Tim Rowse, supported by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia on 11 November 2020.

Please note
: Our office will be closed from midday 24 December and will reopen on 4 January 2021.
President's Message
Thank you to all those Fellows who joined our Annual General Meeting on November 25.

Attendance was around 100, probably a record. The virtual meeting did provide much more opportunity to participate than having to attend in person. But I wonder if it inhibited questions and discussion? If you have thoughts on this, and how we should manage next year’s meeting, please let me know.

I thoroughly enjoyed the new Fellows presentations. Congratulations to all those involved, and what an interesting range of areas you cover.  It is great to feel your enthusiasm and readiness to get involved in Academy activities. On that note, a special thank you to Ariadne Vromen who hit the Fellowship running, co-ordinating the production of the RRIF on the impact of COVID-19 on public trust in government use of personal data. These requests, made through the Chief Scientist, require intensive work in a very tight timeframe.

Richard Holden was elected as the next President of the Academy and is now officially President-Elect. Congratulations Richard.

This has been a year like no other. As I extend season’s greetings to you all, I hope that you will enjoy a safe, relaxing and happy holiday season with families and friends. And that the new year will bring peace, prosperity and a vaccine (or three). Do not forget that 2021 is our fiftieth anniversary. I look forward to celebrating the achievements and value of the social sciences with you.

Professor Jane Hall FASSA FAHMS

CEO's Message

Congratulations to Fellows Stewart Clegg and Jude McCulloch.

Stewart was recently awarded the Edith Penrose Award by the European Academy of Management, for his contributions to a critical perspective in the analysis of organisational power.  (Canberra-based Fellows might be interested that the Award’s namesake, economist Edith Penrose,
lived in Canberra for a time in the early days of her career.)

New Fellow Jude McCulloch
, with her coauthors, recently won the American Academy of Criminology, Critical Criminology and Social Justice's Divisions 2020 award for best article.
Four Academies Forum content now online

Those who missed Novembers successful Forum from The Royal Society of NSW and the Four Academies will be pleased to know edited recordings from the day, a brief report and images are now available online.

The topic of the day was After COVID-19: Creating the Best of Times from the Work of Times.

Recordings can be found here on the Royal Society of NSW website, or accessed directly via this playlist on its YouTube channel.
Behind the scenes: How we share stories at Seriously Social
After its recent launch, the Seriously Social platform (run by our Communications team) is finding a rhythm in its quest to turn evidence-based research and insights from the social sciences into engaging stories for a mainstream audience.

This initiative is part of the Academy’s strategy to promote awareness and understanding of the social sciences by engaging with the public through a variety of online and digital channels.

A suite of content recently developed with Fellow David Hensher is a great example of how we aim to engage with Fellows via the Seriously Social platform into 2021 and beyond. Our new Communications Committee will be overseeing this work from 2021.

Step 1: We learned that David had released some new research that examined the significant reductions in commuting times during COVID. (Commutes dropped to school holiday levels almost overnight during lockdowns!)

Step 2: We featured David on an episode of the Seriously Social podcast: How avoiding the commute is making us happier. The revamped podcast format gave us a chance to dig into results from David’s research, using an accessible, narrative-driven format to engage listeners with this complex issue. David worked with us to achieve the high-quality audio mandatory for our podcast episodes, and this has resulted in the highest first week downloads to date.

Step 3: Using the podcast interview as our basis, we pitched a story to The Conversation about David’s research, and worked with him on the piece. The resulting story appears here. The Conversation was also able to embed the podcast into their story and the Facebook engagement on this story was one of the most active for The Conversation the week it appeared with over 608 likes, shared over 800 times and generating over 130 comments.

Step 4: Under creative commons licence we were able to feature the The Conversation story on the Seriously Social website. A quick search shows Smart Company did the same thing, further extending the story’s reach, and we hear ABC Sydney also contacted David for a radio interview the day The Conversation story came out.

Step 5: Knowing that different segments of our audience engage with video rather than podcasts or stories, we used the podcast episode audio to create a short video about the costs of congestion and commuting. This video reached over 6,200 people and resulted in additional podcast downloads.

What made it work?
1.    There was new research findings we were alerted to ahead of time.
2.    Our Communication team found an angle within it that we knew we would interest the public.
3.    David trusted the vision of the Communications team to do his research justice. (He was very accommodating working with us to meet the technical requirements of each medium!)

We look forward to working with more Fellows in 2021 to share their research and knowledge. If you have any research that you would like to share, please email
What? Two newsletters?
We’ll be taking a break over January, but will be back with the Academy’s regular monthly newsletter in February.  But if one newsletter is not enough for you, you’ll be pleased to know we now have an additional newsletter for Seriously Social. If you’d like the best of Seriously Social’s videos, podcast episodes and stories sent to you each month (in addition to the Academy-focused newsletter you’re reading now) you can subscribe here. 

You can also Follow Seriously Social on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

Have you checked out our new initiative Seriously Social?
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