Opening and Welcome

Please join us for the opening session of the 53rd Australian Academy of the Humanities Symposium – Citizenship, Diaspora & Belonging. This session will include a Welcome to Country and opening addresses from Convenor, Academy President and two distinguished speakers about past, current and future trajectories for citizenship, participation and belonging in a reimagined Australian polity. What transformed meaning will the Voice to Parliament and the Uluru Statement from the Heart bring to the Australian experience of citizenship? What are the struggles in the past and immediate future that loom before us and what role do humanities scholars and humanities disciplines contribute to constructing a more inclusive and representative notion of belonging to Australia?

Event details

When: 9.30-11.30am AEDT, Thursday 17th November
Where: Ballarat Goods Shed


Professor Megan Davis

Video presentation, further details to come

Professor Megan Davis is the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous. As PVCI, Prof Davis leads UNSW’s Indigenous Strategy and is the Director of Nura Gili: Centre for Indigenous Programs.

Prof Davis is a Professor of Law and the Balnaves Chair of Constitutional Law. She is a Cobble Cobble woman and a renowned constitutional lawyer and public law expert, focusing on advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Her work extends internationally, through roles at the United Nations, focusing on global Indigenous rights. In this capacity, she was elected by the UN Human Rights Council to the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples based in Geneva in 2017 and again in 2019 (2019-2022). She is currently the Chair of the Expert Mechanism. 

Prof Davis is an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. She is also a member of the NSW Sentencing Council and an Australian Rugby League Commissioner. Prof Davis was Director of the UNSW Indigenous Law Centre (2007-2017) and Director of the Bill of Rights project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law (2002-2004).

Professor Michelle Foster

Michelle Foster is a Professor and Director of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at Melbourne Law School.   Michelle has published widely in the field of international refugee law, human rights and statelessness including International Refugee Law and Socio-Economic Rights: Refuge from Deprivation (CUP, 2007), with James C. Hathaway, The Law of Refugee Status, Second Edition, (CUP, 2014), with Hélène Lambert, International Refugee Law and the Protection of Stateless Persons (OUP, 2019) and with Cathryn Costello and Jane McAdam, The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law (OUP 2021).  Michelle teaches Refugee Law and International Refugee Law at Melbourne Law School, and directs the annual Statelessness Intensive Course at Melbourne Law School.

Michelle has undertaken consultancy work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and training of refugee tribunal members in New Zealand and Australia.  She is Editor in Chief (with Laura van Waas) of the Statelessness and Citizenship Review. Michelle is also an Advisory Board Member of the Melbourne Journal of International Law and an Associate Member of the International Association of Refugee and Migration Law Judges She is also a Board member and Deputy Chair of AMES Australia

Professor Joseph Lo Bianco

2022 Symposium Convenor

Joseph Lo Bianco AM FAHA is Professor Emeritus at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) at the University of Melbourne and International Secretary & Vice-President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Prior to this he was Chief Executive of Language Australia Ltd: the National Languages and Literacy Institute, of which he was the founder. He has been commissioned to advise on language policy and literacy planning in South Africa, Hawai’i, Italy, New Zealand, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Western Samoa and other Pacific Island countries, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Scotland and Slovenia. He was a member of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO for 10 years and he previously served as Academy President from 2009-2011. He researches and advises on language and literacy policy, intercultural education and peacebuilding and language rights for minority populations in conflict affected settings in SE Asia.

Professor Lesley Head

President, Australian Academy of the Humanities 

Lesley was elected to Fellowship in the Academy in 2004, taking up the role of President in November 2020. Emeritus Professor Head is currently Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne. She has contributed to international debates about relationships between society and nature and her most recent research has been on the cultural dimensions of environmental issues including climate change.

She held an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship at the University of Wollongong from 2009-14 where she was Director of the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research. She was King Carl XVI Visiting Professor in Environmental Science in Sweden from 2005-06 and was awarded the Vega Medal of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography in 2015.

Twitter: @ProfLesleyHead

About the Symposium

Questions of citizenship and belonging have long featured in Australian public life. From the rights and citizenship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through to exclusionary immigration policies, from internment of ‘enemy aliens’ to citizenship controversies of the Australian parliament, from demands of loyalty from diaspora groups to cancelling the citizenship of terrorists, their widows and orphans.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.