Sarah Bourke has won the 2021 Stanner Award, presented biannually by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), to the best academic manuscript written by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander author.
Awarded for her manuscript ‘Making Cultures Count: Transforming Indigenous health data in Australia’, Bourke won $5000 in prize money, a glass sculpture by artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, and mentoring and editorial support to prepare the manuscript for publication by Aboriginal Studies Press.
Selected from a shortlist of four writers announced in August, Bourke’s doctoral thesis tracks the development of the Mayi Kuwayu National Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing, ‘the first truly empowering national study of health and wellbeing in Indigenous Australia’.
The judging panel consisted of academics Bronwyn Fredericks, Tim Rowse and Maggie Walter. AIATSIS CEO Craig Ritchie said, ‘The quality of entries submitted this year demonstrates the energy and commitment to research by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholars, for which AIATSIS is proud to provide support.’
‘Notwithstanding the many positive qualities the judges identified in the manuscripts they assessed, the judges were unanimous in identifying the winner,’ he added.
Bourke is a descendant of the Gidja people from the Kimberley region in WA and the Gamilaroi people on the border of NSW and QLD.
‘Having my thesis published by Aboriginal Studies Press will mean that a wider audience can learn how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do research our way for the benefit of our communities,’ said Bourke.