Division of the Provost

Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture

On 25 June 2010 Tasmanian lawyer Alexander (Sandy) Duncanson died at the age of thirty-seven, after surviving cancer for sixteen years. Sandy is greatly missed, and was widely respected for his work in the community legal and housing sectors. 

In 2002 Sandy visited Woomera Detention Centre and interviewed refugees seeking asylum. At the time he was still a law student and this experience had a lasting impact, inspiring Sandy to dedicate his working life to social justice.

In recognition of Sandy's profound commitment to social justice, in 2011 his friends and family established a fund in his name through the University of Tasmania Foundation.

Each year the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Fund grants one or more bursaries to University of Tasmania students with a demonstrated commitment to social justice. Applicants are asked to nominate a social justice project or activity, and to explain how they will use their bursary to support it. This may involve working with an established organization on a recognized issue, or involve an entirely new initiative. Selection is through an application process managed through the Faculty of Law and the Inglis Clark Centre for Civil Society.

The University of Tasmania also holds a public lecture in Sandy's name each year, raising awareness of social justice issues amongst UTAS students and staff, legal practitioners and other professionals, and across the wider Tasmanian community.

The inaugural Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture – ‘My Journey With Social Justice’ was delivered in 2011 by the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG. The lecture was attended by over 700 people, providing an inspiring and compelling vision of the impact and importance of social justice, as well as a moving insight into the life and passion of Sandy Duncanson.

The 2012 lecture was delivered by jurist and reformer Associate Professor Andrea Durbach, on the topic ‘A Common Purpose – Inching the Law Towards Justice.’ Durbach's lecture was followed by a screening of her award-winning film A Common Purpose, and the event included a presentation by the first bursary recipient, Laura Sykes.

Professor Gillian Triggs, the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and Acting Race Discrimination Commissioner, gave the 2013 lecture on the topic ‘Human Rights in Australia – The Role of Public Education and Advocacy.’  Two bursaries were awarded in 2013, to Charlotte Hunn and Timothy Woolley.

The Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Fund currently totals around $111,000 –exceeding the initial goal of $60,000 – which now enables us to grant annual bursaries totalling $3,500.  Your contribution to the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Fund will allow more bursaries to be awarded.

Contributions can be made as once-off donations or recurring donations at intervals of your choice. All donations are tax deductible. Your donation can be anonymous or named.

Donate now by telephoning 03 6226 1920, or through the UTAS Foundation website – under 'Gift purpose' select Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Bursary option.

SDSJL imageCharlotte Hunn