Professor of Public Engagement appointed

Award-winning historian, author, broadcaster and public commentator, La Trobe University Professor Clare Wright OAM has been appointed as the University’s new Professor of Public Engagement.

In her new role, Professor Wright will help showcase the diversity, breadth and depth of La Trobe’s academic talent to public audiences through a variety of platforms, including via online content and digital technologies such as podcasts.

As well as mentoring academics across the University to build their capability to engage with the general public about their research, she will continue to lead by example with high-profile public engagement activities based on her own research, such as continuing to produce and co-host the hugely successful Archive Fever podcast.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO congratulated Professor Wright on her appointment as Professor of Public Engagement, saying that her extraordinary track record as both an eminent researcher and writer, and as a high-profile ‘public face’ of the University, make her ideal for this role.

“Whether through her own research, her award-winning books, her deep commitment to gender politics or her many public-facing roles as a presenter, interviewer, commentator and podcast host, Clare’s boundless energy and enthusiasm are infectious to all who come into contact with her,” Professor Dewar said.

“In her new public engagement role, I know that she will enthuse, inspire and coach other talented academics across La Trobe to communicate their research to public audiences with the same passion and vigour she shows when communicating her own.”

Professor Wright said she was excited to be taking on the role of Professor of Public Engagement for La Trobe.

“One of the most satisfying aspects of being an historian, writer and broadcaster is communicating and connecting with a wide range of audiences, whether that’s through my books, public speaking events, literary festivals or via the media and podcasts,” Professor Wright said.

“I first came to La Trobe in 2004 because it was the University which had produced Australia’s finest public intellectuals, including Judith Brett, Robert Manne, Dennis Altman and Inga Clendinnen.  This University has always valued and supported academic outreach and community engagement as a public good.”

“I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to take that ethic of service one step further in this new public engagement role, when I’ll have the opportunity to nurture and promote academic talent from across the University, while creating innovative digital and live platforms to highlight the University’s research capacities.  This is a dream job.”

The Professor of Public Engagement position, a secondment to the Office of the Vice Chancellor, will be part-time, enabling Professor Wright to continue her underlying part-time role as Professor of History in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

About Professor Clare Wright OAM
Professor Clare Wright is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster who has worked in academia, politics and the media. The Guardian has called Clare “one of Australia’s foremost thinkers on politics, history and identity”. A first-generation migrant to Australia, Clare’s expertise is in Australian History, with an emphasis on the history of women’s political activism, the social history of alcohol, the gold rush and mining history. Her research focuses on Australian national identity, historical consciousness, democracy and gender politics.

Clare’s widely read and praised books include the Stella Prize-winning The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka which is being adapted for an internationally co-produced television drama series. Her latest, You Daughters of Freedom is the second instalment of Clare’s Democracy Trilogy. Both books were shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Clare has written and presented history documentaries for ABC television and hosted the ABC Radio National history podcast, Shooting the Past. She has appeared on Q&A, The Drum, The Project and Behind the News, and publishes frequently in The Guardian, The Conversation, Meanjin and Griffith Review. She co-hosts the popular Archive Fever podcast along with fellow La Trobe historian, Dr Yves Rees and is the founder and co-convenor of A Monument of One’s Own, a NFP advocacy body for statue equality and commemorative justice. Clare has acted as an historical advisor to Major Projects Victoria, the Victorian Office for Women and Gender Equity Victoria.
In 2020, Clare was awarded an Order of Australia medal in the Australia Day Honours list for her “services to literature and to historical research”.

Clare recently took on the role of hosting La Trobe’s webinar series for staff, in which she interviews academic and professional staff from across the University.

Media Contact: Claire Bowers - - 9479 2315 / 0437 279 903