The Stanner Award

2015 Stanner Award winner Dr Virginia Marshall
2015 Stanner Award winner Dr Virginia Marshall

There has been a change in the Conditions of Entry! This is the first year AIATSIS will be accepting theses that have had up to 20 per cent of the content previously published. We recognise that many institutions now require academics to publish often and widely, so we’ve updated the previous rule from no more than 10 per cent, to no more than 20 per cent of the total work.

About the Stanner Award

The Stanner Award is presented biennially to the best academic manuscript written by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander author.

The Award is open to all Indigenous authors, scholars and academics, however submissions must not have been published previously, or be under consideration by other publishers, or simultaneously entered in to other awards. Please read the Conditions of Entry and the Entry Form carefully before submitting.

Who can enter

For the purposes of this award, an Indigenous Australian means:

  • a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent; and
  • who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; and
  • is accepted as such by the community in which s/he lives or has lived.

Authors’ claims to Indigeneity are to be supported by supplying either:

  • a Confirmation of Aboriginality form certified by an Indigenous community organisation where the executive committee is required to be made up of at least 75% Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander membership; OR
  • the name and contact details of two authorised referees who meet the same criteria, can support the author’s claim against the criteria and are a current board member of an Indigenous community organisation.

The Conditions of Entry and Entry Form contain detailed information about how to enter, please ensure you read each carefully before submitting. Those entering the award must read and abide by these forms. AIATSIS staff and visiting researchers who meet the above criteria may enter the award. AIATSIS Council and Research Advisory Committee members may not enter the award.

Submissions that don’t meet the conditions will be deemed ineligible.

The prize

  • a  glass sculpture by award-winning artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello
  • $5000 prize money,
  • mentoring and editorial support (up to 50 hours) to bring the manuscript to a publishable standard,
  • publication of the manuscript by Aboriginal Studies Press, and
  • out-of-pocket expenses up to $500.


Entries for the 2017 Stanner Award open on 1 July 2016, and close at 5pm EST, Tuesday, 31 January 2017.


Please direct any enquiries to Isabella Edquist at or (02) 6246 1192. Please check that your question isn’t already answered in the Frequently Asked Questions before getting in touch.

Stanner Award winners

Watch the acceptance speeches by 2013 Stanner Award winner Dr Bronwyn Carlson and 2015 Stanner Award winner Dr Virginia Marshall in the videos below.

The 2013 Stanner Award transcript

Dr Virginia Marshall 2015 Stanner Award acceptance speech transcript

About W E H (Bill) Stanner

Emer. Professor WEH Stanner
Emer. Professor WEH Stanner

The Stanner Award acknowledges the significant contribution of the late Emeritus Professor William Edward Hanley (Bill) Stanner to the establishment and development of AIATSIS. Born on 24 November 1905, Stanner worked as a journalist before graduating with a MA (Class 1 Honours) in Anthropology from the University of Sydney in 1934. Stanner moved to London in 1936 where he completed his PhD at the London School of Economics.

Stanner's pre-war experience in Northern Australia from anthropological field trips led to him being directed to "raise and command" what became the 2/1st North Australia Observer Unit (NAOU) in 1942. Stanner later served in Europe, Britain and then in British North Borneo until the conclusion of World War II.

Following the war Stanner returned to his anthropological work, becoming a prominent writer, lecturer and advocate of the study and appreciation of Australia's Indigenous cultures and peoples. He was an influential figure prior to the successful 1967 referendum and was invited by Prime Minister Harold Holt to join H C Coombs and Barrie Dexter to form the Commonwealth Council for Aboriginal Affairs to advise on national policy. Following this Stanner played an important role in establishing AIATSIS' original incarnation, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (AIAS).

Stanner died on 8 October 1981, aged 75.

Further reading