Max Crawford Medal

Australia’s most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities

Who can be nominated

The Max Crawford Medal is based on a nomination process. Self-nominations are not accepted. 

Nominees should be early-career scholars whose research and publications make an exceptional contribution to the understanding of their discipline by the general public.

How to make a nomination

Applications for 2023 are now closed


Photo of Max CrawfordThis medal has been made possible by a generous bequest by Foundation Fellow and eminent historian Emeritus Professor R. M. (Max) Crawford OBE FAHA (1906–91). Professor Crawford greatly influenced the teaching of history in Australian universities and schools and helped found Historical Studies (the first academic journal dedicated to Australian history), the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Australian Humanities Research Centre. Originally a biennial award, the Academy began awarding the Crawford Medal on an annual basis in 2019 to coincide with its 50th-anniversary celebrations.

Previous recipients

Since the inaugural award in 1992, recipients have gone on to forge strong careers in the Australian humanities community.

Dr Laura Smith-Khan is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research examines the inclusion and participation of minoritised groups in legal settings, especially migration processes, and seeks to uncover and address inequality. Her current project explores the role of migration lawyers and agents in these processes.

On receiving the award, Dr Smith-Khan said:

As a first-generation academic, I am profoundly grateful to be able to do what I love as my job. That privilege, and achievements like receiving this medal, are only possible thanks to the sustained and substantial support I have received from my mentors in academia. They remind me that scholarship is a communal endeavour and one in which we should always strive to lift each other up and create opportunities for each other. This is particularly important in interdisciplinary areas, and receiving this medal motivates me to continue my work with colleagues to build a scholarly network of researchers and practitioners in linguistics and law. 

Dr Andre Brett, a self-confessed ‘train buff’ and one of the leading historians working in and on the history of Australia and New Zealand, is the recipient of the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ 2021 Max Crawford Medal.

Despite being legally blind, Dr Brett has carved out an impressive career since receiving his PhD in History at the University of Melbourne. A University of Wollongong-based researcher and the recipient of numerous prizes and grants, he has researched at every major state and national repository in Australasia, has been published through major university presses and high ranked journals, and has enjoyed something of a ‘second career’ as a public historian producing content for exhibitions and television.

Dr Brett, who refuses to be pigeon-holed in his research work, said he was ‘absolutely stunned’ and ‘still can’t believe it’ on being told about his award. ‘I have worked with fantastic, supportive people, and in this I have been extraordinarily lucky.’

Dr Billy Griffiths is an award-winning Australian writer and historian whose latest book Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia (2018) has been described as ‘the freshest, most important book about our past in years’ – is the recipient of the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ 2020 Max Crawford Medal.

Dr Griffiths is a lecturer in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Melbourne’s Deakin University. His research focusses on cultural heritage, Indigenous history, political history, archaeology and seascapes.

‘It is a great honour to receive the 2020 Max Crawford Medal from the Australian Academy of the Humanities. My research explores the work of the past three generations of humanities scholars and the immense contributions they have made to understanding and imagining Australian society, culture and history. Max Crawford himself was an early champion of archaeological work in Australia and he encouraged dialogue across and between disciplines. I am honoured to be part of this collaborative tradition.’

Dr Ronika Power, one of Australia’s foremost experts in Bioarchaeology – the study of all living things from the ancient world – is the recipient of the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ 2019 Max Crawford Medal.

Dr Power is currently Associate Professor of Bioarcheology in the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University, and is recognised as an emerging global leader in her field. Her research focuses on cultural responses to human health and disease, climate change, mass migrations and violence, particularly pertaining to prehistoric periods across Africa and the Mediterranean.

“I am profoundly honoured to receive the 2019 Max Crawford Medal from the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In accepting this award, I stand alongside our nation’s greatest champions of the arts and culture to celebrate the multifaceted and critical role of the humanities in every aspect of society” said Dr Power.

Listen to Ronika’s radio 2GB interview with Alan Jones.

Joint winners

Dr Raihan Ismail, Australian National University

Dr Ismail is currently a lecturer at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the ANU. Her research interests include Islamic theology and Arab culture, Sunni-Shia relations, women in Islam, Political Islam, and Middle East politics. She co-convenes the Political Islam seminar series since 2015 for various government departments and agencies, including AGD and Defence and is also a regular commentator in Australian and international media on Islam and Middle East culture and politics including appearing as a panellist on the ABC Q&A program in 2016. She is the author of Saudi Clerics and Shia Islam, published by Oxford University Press in 2016 and is currently working on a book project on the Transnational Networks of Salafi Clerics in Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Dr Ismail gave the Academy’s 8th Hancock Lecture on the 16 November 2018, Sydney.

“I am deeply honoured that the Fellows of the Australian Academy of the Humanities have recognised my work through the Max Crawford Medal.The award will enhance my profile both in Australia and internationally, and help me to engage in academic and public policy debate in my fields of Middle Eastern politics and Islamic studies” said Dr Ismail.

Dr Ana Tanasoca, University of Canberra

Dr Tanasoca is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy & Global Governance, University of Canberra. Her book The Ethics of Multiple Citizenship will be published in August 2018 by Cambridge University Press. She has broad interests across analytic normative political theory, in topics ranging from enfranchisement to climate change and her articles have appeared in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, the European Journal of Sociology, and Moral Philosophy and Politics. Her principal current research project explores the moral and epistemic dimensions of democratic deliberation, both theoretically and as applied to international deliberations on the Sustainable Development Goals.

“It is wonderful to have an institution of the stature of the Academy recognise the academic quality and public value of my research on the moral legitimacy of multiple citizenship. To be awarded the Crawford Medal is both a great personal honour and immense career boost for an early-career researcher” said Dr Tanasoca.

Joint winners

Dr David McInnis, University of Melbourne said “The Crawford Medal plays a significant role in acknowledging the value of public-facing work, by early career academics. To have my research recognised in this manner is wonderful. I count myself lucky to love what I do for work; to make exciting archival discoveries and to share those, thereby enriching our collective understanding of Shakespeare’s London.”

Dr Louise Richardson-Self, University of Tasmania said “This award is an incredible mark of esteem that has significantly boosted my national and international profile. Since being awarded the Crawford Medal, I have been interviewed on the issue of same-sex marriage for television, newspaper, and radio, and was also awarded a Residential Fellowship with the University of Connecticut.”

Dr Tom Murray, Macquarie University

Joint winners

Dr Lisa Ford, University of New South Wales
Dr Michael Ondaatje, University of Newcastle

2010 Dr Roland Burke, La Trobe University

2008 Associate Professor Kate Crawford, University of New South Wales

2006 Dr Christopher Hilliard, University of Sydney

2004 Professor Kirsten McKenzie FAHA, University of Sydney (elected a Fellow of the Academy in 2017)

2002 Professor Glenda Sluga FAHA, University of Sydney (elected Fellow of the Academy in 2009)

2000 Professor John Hajek FAHA, University of Melbourne (elected Fellow of the Academy in 2005)

1997 Professor Tom Griffiths AO FAHA, Australian National University (elected Fellow of the Academy in 2000)

1996 Dr Lesley Stirling, University of Melbourne

1995 Professor Nicholas Thomas FBA FAHA, Australian National University (elected Fellow of the Academy in 1997)

1994 Dr Geremie Barmé, Australian National University

1993 Professor Hilary Fraser FAHA, University of Western Australia (elected Fellow of the Academy in 1995)

1992 Professor Janet McCalman AC FASSA FAHA, University of Melbourne (elected Fellow of the Academy in 1993)

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.