Celebrating our 2019 J.G. Crawford Prize recipients

10 November 2020

A geochemist whose PhD on diamonds is likely to shape the field for years to come, an Indigenous lawyer whose research will help Indigenous peoples assert their cultural Intellectual Property rights, and a composer whose PhD combined creative practice and historical method, are the recipients of the 2019 J.G. Crawford Prizes.

Dr Suzette Timmerman
Dr Suzette Timmerman

Dr Suzette Timmerman has been awarded the J.G. Crawford Prize for her 2019 thesis, “Diamonds – time capsules of volatiles and the key to dynamic Earth evolution”. Dr Timmerman’s work combined isotopic analyses of noble gases, carbon, nitrogen and trace elements in diamonds, which are some of the deepest-sourced Earth materials available to scientists. 

Her work produced major advances in multiple areas, including a new technique to determine the age of diamonds. The breadth, depth and precision of Dr Timmerman’s research on diamonds mean that it is likely to shape the field for years to come. 

Dr Terri Janke. Artwork: Rene Kulitja, Ancient Tracks and Waterholes 2019. Image: Jamie James. 
Dr Terri Janke. Artwork: Rene Kulitja, Ancient Tracks and Waterholes 2019. Image: Jamie James. 

Dr Terri Janke has been awarded the J.G. Crawford Prize for her 2019 thesis, “True Tracks: Indigenous Culture and Intellectual Property Principles for putting Self-determination into Practice”. Dr Janke’s thesis made a ground-breaking original evaluation of the nature of Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP). Her work was undeniably deserving of the J.G Crawford Prize, the highest recognition of academic excellence for a PhD graduate.

Whilst nominally protected under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (to which Australia is now a signatory), the daily appropriation and misuse of Indigenous arts and cultural knowledge demonstrates the lack of adequate protections by Australian and international intellectual property laws, regulations and policies. 

Dr Janke convincingly demonstrated that ICIP is not a bundle of separate rights and economic ownership interests, but a holistic integrated system connected to place and linked to people, land and identity. It is collectively owned and constantly evolving. 

Building on this work, Dr Janke went on to propose the “True Tracks ICIP Protocols” – innovative practice solutions for protecting and engaging with ICIP systems, which have value well beyond Australia in assisting Indigenous peoples to assert their ICIP rights, informing new law and policy, and enabling industry (including universities) to productively engage with Indigenous holders of ICIP. 

Dr Andrew Harrison
Dr Andrew Harrison

Dr Andrew Harrison has been awarded the J.G. Crawford Prize for his 2019 thesis, “Sounding out the past”, in which he combined creative practice and historical method. 

Dr Harrison is a composer of international repute. He composed two creative works for his thesis; one piece engages with the manuscript letters written during the 1914-18 World War; the other with original poetry by a significant Detroit-based poet. This was accompanied by his written component, an important and innovative contribution to that discussion of what is now called ‘affective history’.  

Dr Harrison produced a thesis of enduring importance, and his work received praise of the highest order from a distinguished historian and composer. 

Professor Ann Evans, Dean for Higher Degree Research reflected on the 2019 recipients: 

"It is a great privilege to read some of the highest quality theses from our graduates. I extend my warmest congratulations to Drs Timmerman, Janke and Harrison whose excellence is acknowledged through this award. 

“This excellent research has been supported by dedicated and supervisors whose comments cement the respectful working relationships they have established with their candidates. 

“The quality this year was extremely high and made for a difficult decision. The shortlisted candidates should also be congratulated on their achievement.” 

The J.G. Crawford Prizes were established in 1973 to recognise Sir John Crawford's outstanding contributions to the University, both as Vice-Chancellor for five years and as Director of the Research School of Pacific Studies for the preceding seven years. Sir John was also the Chancellor from 1976 to 1984. 

Each year, two Prizes are awarded to PhD graduates – one in the science, medicine and engineering, and one in arts, Asia/Pacific, business and law. A third prize is available for a PhD graduate who has demonstrated outstanding ability in integrating and applying different fields, approaches and/or knowledge. One prize is also available for award to a Master degree graduate, each year, whose program of study has been composed of or included research and preparation of a thesis. 

The 2019 J.G. Crawford Prizes will be presented to the recipients by the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor at a future ceremony. 

The next round of J.G. Crawford Prizes, for the 2020 cohort, opens in January.