Announcing 2023 Academy Fellows

A human rights lawyer, Archibald-winning artist, filmmaker, Chancellor & space archaeologist among those awarded highest honour in the humanities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article contains the name of a person who is deceased.

Human rights activist Professor Megan Davis, Archibald-winning artist Ben Quilty, Chancellor Tom Calma AO, author and film-maker Larissa Behrendt AO, and space archaeologist Alice Gorman are among 40 new Fellows elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities today.

Election to the Australian Academy of Humanities recognises achievement in and contribution to the humanities in Australia. It is the highest honour within the humanities.

“Our new Fellows represent remarkable achievement across the breadth of the humanities,” said Executive Director Inga Davis. “Their contributions to the cultural and social tapestry of Australia cannot be overstated.”

In addition to announcing its new Fellows for 2024, the Academy of the Humanities has announced a new Indigenous Studies section, electing five inaugural Fellows to its membership. They are: constitutional scholar Professor Megan Davis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Bronwyn Fredericks, Indigenous educational leader Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney, Miles Franklin Award-winning novelist Kim Scott and Associate Professor Kyllie Cripps for her work in the field of Indigenous family violence.

“This is a significant milestone in the Academy’s history,” said Inga Davis. ‘It is the first new section in over twenty-five years.  The section is led by our Indigenous Fellows and jointly, we are on a quest to recognise and grow Indigenous-led scholarship in the higher education sector.”

The Australian Academy of the Humanities is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with a Fellowship of over 700 humanities leaders championing their unique role in understanding the past, explaining the world we live in, and imagining and shaping the future.

The Academy is one of Australia’s five Learned Academies – independent organisations established to encourage excellence in their respective fields and to provide expertise and advice at public, institutional and government levels.

The 2023 Fellows are:

Corresponding Fellows

  • Dr Charles Forsdick—an eminent international expert in Translation Studies, focusing on colonial history, penal culture and slavery.
  • Dr Julian Savulescu—one of the world’s leading bioethicists specialising in the ethical issue of genetics.

Honorary Fellows

  • Dr Alison Alexander—one of Australia most eminent public historians with a special interest in Tasmanian public history
  • Professor Tom Calma AO—human rights and social justice campaigner, Chancellor and 2023 Senior Australian of the Year.
  • Dr Cliff Coulthard (deceased) —Adnyamathanha elder and world-renowned rock art expert.
  • Kevin HobgoodBrown AM—an international expert on business, cultural and educational connection, specialising in Asia.
  • Dr Christina Parolin—a published historian & past Executive Director of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
  • Ben Quilty—one of Australia’s most recognised and successful artists, a notable humanitarian and advocate.
  • Associate Professor Caroline Turner AM—a leading independent scholar and proponent of Contemporary Asian Art in Australia.

About the Fellowship

A vibrant community of experts and leaders elected for their outstanding contribution to the humanities and to the cultural life of the nation. Fellows are elected in recognition of the excellence and impact of their scholarship in the Humanities.

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.