Winner of prestigious Max Crawford Medal announced 2022

The Australian Academy of the Humanities is delighted to announce Dr Laura Smith-Khan has been awarded the 2022 Max Crawford Medal, Australia’s most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities.

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.

A hallmark of Dr Smith-Khan’s research practice is communicating her work in accessible formats to inform lawmaking, legal practice and legal education, with the goal of improving access to justice and overcoming inequality for minoritised people.

On receiving the award, Dr Smith-Khan said:

Being this year’s recipient of the Max Crawford Medal is a huge honour. The humanities play a crucial role in bringing to light and addressing injustices in our society. The medal provides valuable recognition of the contribution my research makes toward these important goals.

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. 

Australian Academy of the Humanities President, Emeritus Professor Lesley Head, congratulated Dr Smith-Khan on her well-deserved award.

The Academy is delighted to award the Max Crawford Medal to Dr Smith-Khan. Her research is of the highest quality and has already had a major influence on legal practice, in Australia and beyond. Dr Smith-Khan was selected from an extremely strong field of candidates, demonstrating the rich depth of talent in the humanities in Australia today.

About the Medal

The Max Crawford Medal is named after Foundation Fellow and eminent historian Emeritus Professor R. M. (Max) Crawford OBE FAHA, who greatly influenced the teaching of history in Australian universities and schools. He played a foundational role in the first academic journal dedicated to Australian history, Historical Studies, and in the establishment of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Australian Humanities Research Centre.

The Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding early-career scholar whose research and published work have made and continue to make an exceptional contribution to the understanding of their discipline by the general public.

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.