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Today, on the 52nd anniversary of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, we are introducing a new monthly feature in which we reconnect with many of our past Presidents.

It’s a chance to cast our minds back, learn lessons from the past; weigh up the current state of the humanities; and consider how, as a collective, we can address some of the biggest challenges of the future.

Our first Past-Presidents’ Perspective is with leading Australian musicologist Emeritus Professor Malcolm Gillies AM FAHA, who was President of the Academy from 1998-2001.

In Session 2 ‘Continuous & Diverse: A  Long History of Many Cultures’ from our 2020 Academy Symposium, artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, designer and film producer Alison Page, artist Michel Tuffery, and filmmaker Lynette Wallworth add their voices to this discussion and draw on examples from their own artistic practice to demonstrate how we can begin to construct a more inclusive story of our nation – and all its people – through the arts: a story that doesn’t simply insist upon what we have known, but that unearths our unknowing and puts us all in conversation with one another, to ‘share the long held stories.’

Nineteenth-century art forms. 20th-century business models. 21st-century people. In a world now defined by ever-increasing digital capability and possibility, and amidst a pandemic that has highlighted our need for arts and culture in our daily lives,  does this disconnect continue to serve us, or is it time to rethink how we create, consume and classify the arts and its many forms?

We spoke with Professor Nick Evans, an Australian linguist and leading expert on endangered languages based at the Australian National University, about the many challenges facing Indigenous Australians during the 2020 coronavirus health emergency. While many of these challenges began to be understood and addressed last year at the height of the crisis, it is essential that we keep them firmly in view and continue to build our capacity to communicate well-tuned messages about health now and into the future.

11th edition of The Journal of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Established in 2010, Humanities Australia is the Academy’s flagship journal, showcasing some of the outstanding research and writing being carried out by our Fellows. It is an essential part of our commitment to supporting excellence in the humanities and communicating their value to the public.

We are delighted to announce the election of 22 outstanding researchers and practitioners to the Australian Academy of the Humanities, which is the highest honour for achievement in the humanities in Australia.

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.