Philippa Maddern Award

Origin of Award

UWA Academic Staff Association launched this Biennial Award during the 2013 Centenary Celebrations to pay tribute to exceptional Academics.
The Award was renamed in honour of Philippa Maddern in 2015, to celebrate her life and the legacy of her inspirational leadership. Philippa had been a member of the Association for fourteen years and served on the Committee for five of those years.

Winthrop Professor Philippa Maddern 1953 – 2014
Philippa Maddern was an immensely creative and versatile individual with wit, energy and a fierce sense of justice. A widely respected scholar of medieval English History and an inspiring teacher and academic leader at UWA, she was known especially as an expert on the history of women and the family. Her many publications on medieval England deal with the survival strategies of single mothers, the experience of children in blended families, domestic violence, social mobility, widows and land ownership, and the phenomenon of ‘serial monogamy at that time’.

Much of her scholarly work expresses a robust feminism and commitment to social justice. The commitment to equality is evident in her works on the history of citizenship and Australian women. It also played out daily in her active support of the academic union and her tireless championing of both the humanities in general and the careers of younger scholars and students. This generosity, combined with an insatiable intellectual curiosity, was a hallmark of her distinguished career.


Philippa’s vast knowledge, experience and practical skills enlivened history teaching at all levels-from first year (a special love of hers) to PhD supervision. She was a dynamic chair of history and head of the School of Humanities, and a wise friend to countless students and staff. She served on numerous senior committees, including the UWA Senate and the UWA Academic Staff Association, and was an active member of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies and the Australian Research Council Network for Early European Research. Philippa was an “open door” administrator and inspiring leader. Former students, by no means all her own, speak highly of her approachability, sense of fun, and above all her infectious passion for the humanities.

Philippa’s warmth, vision and broad cultural interests led to numerous collaborations with scholars in different fields, both at UWA and on the national and international scene. She was the founding director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Europe 1100-1800. She ran this multi-university enterprise exuding her collaborative ethos to bring together scholars from widely diverse disciplines and traditions, by instilling a strong focus on its role in assisting younger scholars to get a start in the Centre through its postdoctoral fellowship scheme. She had a deep commitment to helping the new generation of humanities researchers and created the conditions for a temperate ecology that allowed all to flourish.

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