School of Humanities: 2023 Highlights

To wrap up 2023, the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics is reflecting on the year that was and featuring highlights from each school.

Head of School of Humanities, Professor Mark Harris, says, “2023 has been a year of transition for the School with new staff coming in and some leaving. There has been a huge amount of research activity including high profile celebrations, hosting external visitors from around the world, and intellectually adventurous conferences. Colleagues have continued to offer students the very best of learning environments. Our teachers have won Faculty awards for their excellence in this area. We can look ahead to 2024 proud of our hard-won accomplishments. We will strengthen our renewed School identity by supporting each other and looking after our collective and personal wellbeing.”

While there have been many achievements, we have selected just a few that demonstrate what a special year this was for School of Humanities students and staff.

In no particular order:

  1. We welcomed Professor Mark Harris as the new Head of School of Humanities - read more
  2. The J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice hosted beloved Australian authors J.M. Coetzee, Helen Garner, Christos Tsiolkas and more, to celebrate the anniversaries of Patrick White and J.M. Coetzee winning the Nobel Prize in Literature - read more.
  3. Mr Oliver Douglas, who is studying a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in History was named the Rhodes Scholar elect, and this scholarship will enable him to study at the University of Oxford. Read more.
  4. The School held its annual prizegiving. 60 prizes were awarded across nearly the full range of disciplines taught in the School. Some awards are amongst the oldest in the University, while others were awarded for the first time. Several recent donors were present to hand over awards in their name, or in the name of late family members. Nearly 150 attendees were present, including staff, prize recipients, and their family members. 
  5. Master of Philosophy student Chelsea Schwartz won the Jan Lee Latin award.
    "I feel honoured to receive this achievement and I accept this award graciously in memory of Jan. I am eager to continue and improve my Latin skills through the Ancient Languages Institute, which I believe will aid me in the writing of my thesis, and my future academic career goals," Chelsea said.

    This award was created through a donation by Phoebe Jane Gunn in memory of her mother, Janice Maree Lee (1945-2021), BA (Hons) 1967, LLB 1992, M Phil 2018. Jan's contributions to the Classics department over many years was invaluable. Through this award, Jan's work in promoting the study of Latin and helping students with their research will continue.
  6. Jessica Pohlmann has been awarded a Masters by Research Medal for outstanding work in her Master of Philosophy degree, supervised by Associate Professor Antony Eagle.
    Jessica is one of two recipients of the medal across the University this year. This is only the third time a candidate from our faculty has won.

    "Being awarded the medal is a very special honour and it reminds me of two important lessons. One is that completing something important to you often requires working on it a little every day; most of those days will not feel special or even especially successful—but what makes a good researcher, in part, is that she continues to show up. The other is, I know I was very fortunate to receive the opportunity to undertake my master’s and have a supportive supervisory team, which I am grateful for," Jessica said.
  7. Natalia Ciecierska-Holmes who is undertaking a PhD in the School of Humanities was one of three ABLE faculty 3 Minute Thesis winners.
  8. Bella Courtney, studying a Bachelor of Arts (Advanced) and a Diploma of Languages in Italian, has won Premio Italia 2023, the national writing competition for university students studying Italian in Australia.
    Bella's essay, written in Italian, was about orange fibre, an Italian-developed sustainable fabric alternative.

    “It is so important to be environmentally conscious, especially when it comes to clothing choices. This competition represented the perfect opportunity to not only write about a topic I’m passionate about, but also develop my Italian language skills in the process.”

    Bella will receive an AUD $2000 voucher to purchase a return ticket from Italy, sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute in Melbourne.

    "I think that studying a language at university is invaluable; it provides so many opportunities and experiences that I could not be more grateful for. I’d recommend it to anyone."
  9. With the release of the 2023 QS World University Subject RankingsHumanities scored in the top 100 of 2 subject areas: Classics and Ancient History, Philosophy. This is the first time Classics and Ancient History has moved into the top 100 in the University's history. Read more.
  10. Professor Katie Barclay, Head of the Department of Historical and Classical Studies and Co-Director of the Fay Gale Centre for Research in Gender, has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities. Read more.
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