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Centres and institutes_

Australasian Humour Studies Network

Working together to explore the big questions: What are humour and laughter?
Humour is intangible, so how do we understand it? The Australasian Humour Studies Network connects multidisciplinary scholars and practitioners to achieve insights into this complex aspect of human behaviour.

We support scholars researching humour-related topics by offering a program of annual conferences and other resources, including links to the International Society for Humor Studies.

Our focus is on emerging research into humour and laughter and promoting links between humour scholars in different academic departments and geographical locations.

Our network has grown from 40 members across 10 different disciplines at our first conference in 1997 to more than 350 members by our 24th Annual Conference in 2018. Our members are primarily based in Australia and New Zealand, but also come from South-East Asia and elsewhere.

Our Work

The 27th annual conference of the Australasian Humour Studies Network will take place in Wellington, Aotearoa, New Zealand, from 3-5 February 2021 at Massey University. The conference will be open to all scholars studying any aspect of humour, but in particular will welcome presentations on the theme of ‘Humour at Work: Applications, Industries and Economies.’ This includes any research concerned with the industrial and economic aspects of humour, such as:

  • The humour industries;
  • The political economics of comedy;
  • Humour in workplaces;
  • Comedy as art, business and profession;
  • Joking about business, work or capitalism;
  • New technologies of humour production and distribution;
  • Instrumentalist uses of humour (and reflections on those uses)
  • Humour for sale;
  • Any other application of that theme.

For more details, visit the 27th AHSN Conference webpage or contact the Conference Convenor, Dr Nicholas Holm (


  • Dr Debra Aarons, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Michael Haugh FAHA, University of Queensland
  • Associate Professor Kerry Mullan, RMIT University

Literature and Humanities

  • Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans FAHA, University of Newcastle
  • Associate Professor Peter Kirkpatrick, University of Sydney
  • Professor Robert Phiddian, Flinders University

Media and Cultural Studies

  • Professor Craig Batty, University of Technology Sydney
  • Dr Nicholas Holm, Massey University, Wellington
  • Dr Michael Lloyd, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr Jessica Milner Davis FRSN, University of Sydney

Psychology and Health

  • Dr Bruce Findlay, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Dr Angus McLachlan, Federation University Australia (Chair)
  • Dr David Rawlings, University of Melbourne

Social Sciences and History

  • Emeritus Scientia Professor Conal Condren FAHA FASSA, University of Queensland
  • Dr Mark Rolfe, University of New South Wales

Visual Art and Practice

  • Mr Lindsay Foyle, Cartoonist and Cartoon historian
  • Dr Lucien Leon, Australian National University
  • Associate Professor Richard Scully, University of New England


View some past editions of our Humour Studies Digest. You can also subscribe here to receive the newsletter.