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The future humanities workforce

The future humanities workforce

How can we best support the next generation of humanities researchers? What are the future knowledges and skills sets needed for Australia’s humanities workforce, within and beyond the university sector? Is this workforce diverse enough to cater for the future needs of our political, legal, economic and educational sectors?

Research being undertaken by the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ Future Humanities Workforce project, funded by the ARC’s Learned Academies Special Projects scheme, is tackling these questions as it develops a new and comprehensive account of Australia’s humanities workforce and a plan for its future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the university sector and wider industries and workplaces. It has never been more essential to take stock of our graduates’ preparedness to adapt to changing research environments, digital disruption, increased interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaboration.


Interviews with leading figures from across business, government administration and creative sectors are providing first-hand, industry-specific accounts of what employers want from humanities graduates, the need for skills-mixing, ethical and critical thinking, and how the humanities create leaders with the capacity for effective communication, inspiration, and empathy.

Led by the Academy’s Immediate Past President and ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor Joy Damousi, (Australian Catholic University), the project’s team includes Professor Jane Lydon (The University of Western Australia), Professor Graham Oppy (Monash University), the Academy’s Director, Policy and Research, Dr Kylie Brass, and Project Researcher, Dr Iva Glisic.

To date, the project’s consultations have identified priorities for gender and workforce diversity and practical solutions to future-proofing Australia’s humanities-trained workforce.

The project will publish its findings in late 2021, providing a springboard for further conversations about how we build both timely and timeless skills to strengthen the working lives and livelihoods of Australians and Australia.



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