Media release – UTas, 4 October 2022 

Social justice focus for student scholarship

A new $8000 scholarship is available to University of Tasmania students with a plan or project aimed at protecting human rights and fostering equality.

The Sandy Duncanson Social Justice scholarship will be available annually to a student with a demonstrated commitment to social justice.

The scholarship was established through donations from family and friends of Sandy Duncanson, a Tasmanian lawyer and human rights advocate who died in 2010 after living with cancer for 16 years.

“Instead of awarding smaller amounts to a number of students, as in previous years, the committee has decided to award $8000 for a single project that is aimed at raising awareness of a social justice issue or otherwise fostering inclusion and fairness,” University of Tasmania law lecturer Anja Hilkemeijer said.

“The project or activity can involve working with an existing organisation, or it can be used to kickstart an entirely new initiative. The successful applicant will need to provide a detailed plan, including budget and timeline.”

While he was best known for his career in the community legal and housing sectors, Sandy Duncanson’s passion for advocacy began in his student days at the University of Tasmania.

“When he was a law student, Sandy travelled to South Australia to visit asylum seekers at the former Woomera Detention Centre and this experience had a profound effect on him and his career,” Anja said.

“The committee is keen to hear from students who may need help undertaking a transformative project or journey so they can similarly help shine a light on a social justice issue.”

Applications for the scholarship close on October 31.

In other news, Australian Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher will deliver this year’s Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture on October 11.

“The university is thrilled that Rosalind Croucher is coming to Hobart for this year’s Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture,” Anja said.

“We know Tasmanians will be particularly keen to hear Professor Croucher’s insights and thoughts on the housing crisis affecting people in this State and across the country.”

Useful links: 

  • University of Tasmania students can apply for the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice scholarship here (applications close October 31 2022).
  • All members of the public are invited to the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice lecture, to be delivered by Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher on October 11. Tickets are free but attendees must register here.
  • Make a donation to the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice scholarship fund here.

Background: 

Alexander (Sandy) Duncanson died in June 2010 at the age of 37, after living with cancer for sixteen years. He was a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania who became widely known for his work in the community legal and housing sectors, where he acted as an advocate for the vulnerable.

After his death, friends, family and colleagues of Sandy formed a committee in his name and established a philanthropic scholarship fund to provide support to students who are passionate about social justice.

Over the past 12 years, the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Committee has awarded numerous bursaries and hosted an annual lecture, which has become one of the university’s most high-profile events.