Australasian Humour Studies Network

Annual Conference

AHSN Conference Masthead

29th Annual Conference of the Australasian Humour Studies Network

6-7, 9-10 February 2023

The University of Sydney (Abercrombie Business School)

AHSN2023 Theme: A Human Right to Humour


The 29th AHSN Conference will take place from 6-7 (Zoom, online only) and 9-10 (in-person only) February 2023.

Registration is now open for both online and in-person components.

All presenters and attendees need to resister in order to receive access and news updates. Early Bird and concessional rates are available – for full details and cancellation policy, please visit the Conference Registration website. Conference attendees may choose to attend one or both parts of AHSN2023. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this exciting event.


The Conference Timetable outline

6-7 February:  Online presentations, Roundtable, and Keynote Speaker, Prof. Alberto Godioli, Faculty of Arts, Groningen University, The Netherlands, on on the interpretation of humour in free speech jurisprudence

8 February: Optional Special event – see below

9-10 February: In-person parallel and plenary session with Keynote Speaker, Kliph Nesteroff, author and comedian (closing ceremony including scholarship awards and AHSN honours)

Draft Programs for both the online conference days, 6-7 February, and the in-person days days, 9-10 February, are now available. Please note that both Programs may be subject to change.

To attend either or both parts of the Conference, please register via the registration website.


Keynotes and Key Events

Alberto Godioli is Associate Professor in European Culture and Literature at the University of Groningen, and programme director of the Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies (OSL). His research focuses on humour and free speech from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining case law analysis with insights from humanities-based humour studies. He is Principal Investigator of the ‘Humour in Court’ project (funded by the Dutch Research Council, 2022-2027, NWO Vidi grant), and he recently co-edited a special issue for the journal HUMOR titled ‘Humor and the Law: The Difficulty of Judging Jests’ (35.3, 2022).

He is also the co-founder of the Forum for Humour and the Law — namely an international platform for lawyers, humour scholars, comedians, and anyone interested in humour, free speech and related legal matters. In October 2022, together with Prof. Laura Little and Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression initiative, he organized the symposium Laughing Matters? Humor and Free Speech in the Digital Age.

Kliph Nesteroff is an expert comedy practitioner and scholar. His first book, The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy (Grove Press, 2015) has become the standard book on that art form and has been praised by Norm MacDonald, Bob Odenkirk, Mel Brooks, Albert Brooks and Steve Martin among others. His second book, We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans and Comedy, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2021. Major Indigenous authors including Stephen Graham Jones, David Treuer, and Philip J. Deloria have lauded the project.

Nesteroff currently hosts the Viceland television series Funny How, the Classic Showbiz podcast produced by Marc Maron, and serves as the consulting producer for CNN’s History of Comedy. He has toured with a highly successful one-man show about the history of comedy. One Toronto critic described his show as “heroin for comedy nerds … Nesteroff shared dozens of unforgettable stand-up-related tales from the early 19th century to now. The depth of his knowledge about the history of American comedy combined with his off-the-cuff and funny yet eloquent stage presence made this entire show utterly engrossing.”

Kliph Nesteroff (seated) with Mel Brooks, April 2014

The valued support of the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney is acknowledged in making Mr Nesteroff’s visit possible. The United States Studies Centre is a joint venture of the American Australian Association and the University of Sydney, with financial support from the Australian government. United States Studies Centre


Key Event AHSN2023 Online: Intersectional Roundtable on Humour and Social Inequality

This roundtable, taking place during the online days of the 28th AHSN Conference 6-7 February 2023, will invite discussion on how humour is used by members of minoritised groups to resist social inequalities. The contributors – Julia de Bres, Angelina Hurley, Deborah Eddy and Jacci Brady – bring a mix of research experience, comedy experience and lived experience as members of multiple minoritised groups. Working in the areas of Indigenous, queer, feminist, disability and neurodivergent humour, each will share their perspective on how humour can be used not just to highlight social inequalities but as a constructive strategy for advancing social change.

Roundtable contributors:

Dr Julia de Bres (she/her), Linguistics, Massey University, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Jacci Brady (they/them), Political Science/Comedian, University of Melbourne, Australia

Dr Deborah Eddy (she/her), Artist/Researcher

Angelina Hurley, Aboriginal Writer (Gooreng Gooreng, Mununjali, Birrah, Gamilarroy) and PhD Candidate (Griffith University)

Register via AHSN2023 Online (fees apply and concessions are available, including Early Bird Rate ending 31 December 2022)


Key Event AHSN2023 In-Person: Cartooning Exhibition and Talk by cartoonist and artist Eric Löbbecke in interview with former AHSN Review Panel Member, Lindsay Foyle

‘Listening devices for the emotionally challenged’ Can Males hear the familiar subjugated human rights language of female voices through Listening devices?

Exhibition runs 9-10 February 2023

Presentation with Eric and Lindsay: 11.00am-12.00 midday Friday 10 February 2023 as part of the AHSN 29th Annual Conference, at the Abercrombie Business School, The University of Sydney.

This event is open to all registered conference delegates. For casual attendance, since seating is limited, please contact the Conference Convenor, Dr Ben Nickl, at: benjamin.nickl@sydney.edu.au  A gold coin donation on the day would be appreciated.


Associated Events

Symposium on Robots, AI, and Culture with Special Panel on Humour

Date: Wednesday, 8 February 2023, all day, with Panel from 3.30pm-5.00pm AEST

Venue: 2100 Learning Studio, Abercrombie Business School, The University of Sydney, and online

Part of the larger day-long Symposium associated with the 29th Annual Conference of the Australasian Humour Studies Network, a Panel Discussion will be presented by Dr Ben Nickl, Convenor of AHSN2023, and Dr Chris Muller, Macquarie University, on the ‘datafication’ and digitalisation of humour. Delegates to the AHSN Conference are welcome to attend without charge, either in person or via zoom.

Supported by: Toshiba International Foundation (TIFO); Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Language and Literature, Macquarie University; and Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney

Program available here. To receive further information about the Panel and/or the Symposium, including link for online attendance, please email Dr Nickl at: benjamin.nickl@sydney.edu.au


Pre Conference Associated Event

‘The Laughing Matter of Spirit’, featuring Dr Rachel Aumiller, Columbia University, Department of English and Comparative Literature

Date: Friday 3 February 2023 9.00am-10.30am (Sydney local time) online

Moderators: Rodney Taveira & Ben Nickl, University of Sydney

Registration: Open and free to all AHSN members and the public – but please register via Eventbrite to ensure you receive reminders as the event approaches and the vital link for joining the Zoominar. 

Further details on the Seminar Events page


Conference Location and Sydney Accommodation Suggestions

The Conference Committee urges you to book early and without delay as Sydney gets very busy in January February as students and visitors arrive for the new academic year, as well as tourists.

Conference Location: Abercrombie Building (H70), Corner of Abercrombie St and Codrington St, The University of Sydney NSW 2006. See map showing the Abercrombie School of Business and guide to the building.

Some accommodation options close to the Abercrombie Building (above) and the University of Sydney Camperdown Campus generally are:

Top range

  • $335/night Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Central Park 


Budget range

Other well-priced options can be found here.


Conference and Event Enquiries

For all other conference enquiries, please contact us at: conferenceahsn@gmail.com 

AHSN2023 Committee

Ben Nickl, The University of Sydney, Convenor

Rodney Taveira, The University of Sydney

Mark Rolfe, The University of NSW

Reza Arab, Griffith University

Jessica Milner Davis, The University of Sydney


Review Procedures for AHSN Conference Proposals

Abstract submissions

Previous events