Celebrating success

A Flinders historian takes the reins of lead national body, an Irish history researcher wins an essay prize, humanities experts speak at international conference, and Adelaide’s film-making credentials expand thanks to a high-achieving graduate’s new Hollywood partnership.

Flinders historian to lead national body 

Professor Melanie Oppenheimer with Dr Romain Fathi (in Geneva 2019 for a conference, pictured at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent)

Professor Melanie Oppenheimer has been elected as the new President of the Australian Historical Association (AHA) for a two-year term. The AHA is Australia’s peak body for history in Australia with more than 900 members.

Dr Romain Fathi was elected Treasurer, reinforcing Flinders University’s impressive national presence in the association, which was founded in 1973 and is the national organisation for all historians including academic, professional and others.

“I take up the reins of the AHA at a particularly difficult time. Never has the history discipline been so important to Australians,” says Professor Oppenheimer.

“During my term I aim to continue the work of previous presidents, to demonstrate the importance of history in our everyday lives and advocate accordingly; to retain and build our membership base, and focus on the most vulnerable of our membership – our PhD students and early career researchers – who are being hit hard by the current pandemic.

“2020 has brought extraordinary challenges with the repercussions of the bushfires and now COVID-19 continuing to reverberate across our communities with no end in sight. It is at times like these where we must look for the opportunities and remain positive that peak bodies such as the AHA can make a difference.”

The Association’s Vice President is Australian National University’s Professor Frank Bongiorno and Australia Catholic University’s Professor Noah Risemann is Secretary. Professor Joy Damousi, of the University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University was the previous President.

Essay win for Irish history researcher

Susan Arthure

Lecturer Susan Arthure, a Flinders University PhD candidate who co-edited last year’s release Irish South Australia: New histories and insights, has won the History Council of South Australia’s Wakefield Press Essay Prize for her essay Kapunda’s Irish Connections.

The essay features in the book, and will be published soon on the History Council’s website (for members.)

Ms Arthure’s award was presented at Wakefield Press’ Adelaide headquarters by Keith Conlon and Skye Krichauff, who is President of the History Council of SA. The judges praised her paper as “an innovative example of multidisciplinary work, bringing together ‘archival’ history and practical archaeology”.

Ms Arthure is researching the archaeology of Irish-Australia with a focus on social identity and the nature of Irishness, the Irish Australian experience, and how nineteenth century Irish migrant communities conceptualised themselves outside of Ireland.

Humanities experts speak at timely conference

Professor Robert Phiddian and Dr Tully Barnett presented on a panel at the virtual Humanities in the Regions conference held on 3 July. The conference is hosted by the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres (ACHRC), which is the peak representative body for humanities research centres and institutes in Australia and New Zealand, and was delivered free of charge via Zoom this year.

Themed ‘The two cultures’, it explored the similarities and differences of the sciences and humanities, what they could learn from each other, and how they could collaborate in a more balanced model to benefit both disciplines.

Adelaide expands film-making cred through alumnus’ new partnership 

Mario Andreacchio

Alumnus Mario Andreacchio, through his company AMPCO Studios, has teamed up with global award-winning production major Stargate Studios, to form Stargate Studios Australia. The partnership will be based in Adelaide and will deliver cutting-edge virtual production technology for Australian film making, providing the industry with access to the latest in game and artificial intelligence (AI) technology for visual effects.

Stargate Studios was established in 1989 and has studios in Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, Atlanta, Malta, London, Cologne, Dubai and Mexico City.  Its credits include numerous blockbuster films and series. The studio’s proprietary Virtual Backlot Technology called ThruView is transforming the sector while helping address COVID-19 concerns. Using the latest in gaming and AI, the technology enables a screen production that requires multiple real locations to be more easily made in one studio.

Stargate Australia’s first project will be The Alchemyst, produced by AMPCO Studios and newly formed entertainment company Dick Cook Studios Australia. The film is based on the first book in the award winning fantasy/adventure series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott.

Also a successful director, Mario Andreacchio’s Captain Johnno, an episode of the TV show Touch the Sun, is one of a handful of Australian productions to win an Emmy award.


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