Recognising individuals whose lifelong work has benefited the Australian community.

About the Award

Commencing in 2015, the Award was established to recognise Australians who have contributed a lifelong body of work of high achievement and community benefit.

The Award is administered by the Adelaide Film Festival on behalf of the Jim Bettison and Helen James Foundation. Presented by the Foundation on an annual basis, it provides the beneficiary with the possibility to extend, record or disseminate aspects of their life’s work.

The award recipient’s area of expertise may be in the arts and humanities, social justice, the environment, the sciences or any other area where benefit to the community results from their work.

The Foundation’s Selection Committee reviews all submissions before making its final decision. $50,000 is awarded to single or multiple recipients, based on eligibility and strength of application.

During the festival, we are proud to host two special talks with:

  • 2021 winner, Dr Bob Brown,
  • 2022 winner, Pat Rix

The 2022 recipient is Pat Rix.

Tutti: A Vision for Change: How an arts organisation for everyone addressed issues too complex to examine in words, and conveyed powerful messages that broke down barriers.
Join Pat Rix for an in-depth interview about her lifetime journey building an artistic community based on trust and respect.
Despite the much-lauded introduction of the NDIS, the disability sector remains one of entrenched inequality and resistance to change. In 1997 Pat began a small choir which grew to become one of Australia’s most beloved and progressive multi arts organisations.
A respected artistic director with significant experience creating collaborative community and mainstage productions in Australia, the US, and South East Asia, Pat has worked for over thirty years with people from diverse backgrounds and organisations to build inclusive, respectful relationships across social, geographical, and cultural divides. As an artist, her belief is that in order to have a voice, people need a place to speak from. Such a place must be a force for social change and allow new spaces for thinking and knowing to emerge. Pat’s unshakable belief led to the development of a unique organisation where artists make amazing work across all art forms, celebrating the power of disability culture and complexity of human life.
When: Saturday October 29, 10:45am
Where: Palace Nova Cinema 08
Tickets available here.

The 2021 recipient is Dr Bob Brown.

The Tarkine in Peril: Adelaide’s nearest great rainforest.
Join Bob Brown for a personal conversation about natural beauty and the front line.
It has hard to fathom that in 2022 old-growth forests are still under anthropogenic attack, especially in Australia. In this presentation, the 2021 Bettison and James Award recipient and former Federal Greens Senator Dr Bob Brown offers insights into the majesty of the Tarkine, sharing his firsthand encounters of front line resistance and why action to protect Adelaide’s nearest great rainforest is urgently required.
Since 1996, Bob has continued to take a courageous, and often politically lonely, stand on issues across the national and international spectrum. When Bob left the Senate in 2012, he founded the Bob Brown Foundation to continue a lifetime of campaigning to protect the natural world.
When: Sunday October 30, 11:15am
Where: Palace Nova Cinema 01/ExiMax
Tickets available here.

Past recipients

  • Dr Bob Brown (2021)
  • Professor David Vaux (2020)
  • Professor John Long (2019)
  • Jackie Huggins (2018)
  • Robert McFarlane (2017)
  • Meryl Tankard (2016)
  • Tim Jarvis (2016)
  • Greg Mackie OAM (2015)

Read more about previous Bettison & James Award recipients.


  • The nominee must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. 
  • The Award is only available for individuals. 
  • Candidates for the Award may be invited by the Foundation, or nominated by a third party. 
  • All recipients of the Award should seek advice on the mitigation of tax related to the Award. 
  • The Recipient may be invited to present a paper or speak about their lifetime work and achievements. 
  • The decision of the Selection Committee remains final and no further correspondence will be entered into.  

About the Foundation

The Jim Bettison and Helen James Foundation was established to realise the vision of Dr Jim Bettison and Ms Helen James through the annual Bettison and James award.

Helen and Jim were far-sighted and creative thinkers, committed to supporting a wide range of activity in the community through philanthropy and professional engagement. Jim co-founded Codan, a successful and award-winning Adelaide company, established the Developed Image Photographic Gallery and served as Deputy Chancellor at the University of Adelaide. Helen was an exhibiting studio artist. She served on various key arts committees and was a founding member of the National Library of Australia’s Foundation Board.AFF aims to garner innovative partnerships and to create opportunities for Australian key thinkers and practitioners.

AFF administers the Bettison & James Award for the Bettison & James Foundation. Perpetual acts as trustee for the Foundation.

If you have further enquiries about the Bettison & James Award, please contact us on (08) 8394 2505 or via [email protected].

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