At this year’s IPAA National Conference Dr Christopher Pepin-Neff from The University of Sydney and Ms Kristin Caporale from Assumption College, Worcestor Massachusetts, were announced as the winners of the 2019 Sam Richardson Award for the most influential paper published in ‘The Australian Journal of Public Administration’.

Dr Pepin-Neff and Ms Caporale won the award for their paper ‘Funny Evidence: Female Comics are the New Policy Entrepreneurs’, arguing that female comics can serve as policy entrepreneurs in public administration by using their identity to locate themselves as relevant actors, attaching solutions to problems, biasing political outcomes, benefiting from their engagement, and introducing narratives that change the emotional habitus of an audience and influence the broader public.

Professor Peter Shergold AC, the outgoing IPAA National President, announced the Sam Richardson Award winners at a gala dinner preceding the 2019 IPAA National Conference in Darwin last night.

“The article by Christopher and Kristin challenges the way we think about the theory of policy entrepreneurship — the impact of individual actors on the policy process — by looking at it through the lens of some of the world’s best female comics, from the cartoonist, author and playwright Alison Bechdel, to Tina Fey, Melissa McCarthy and many others,” said Professor Shergold.

The prestigious public administration award honours the contribution of administrator, academic and lawyer, Professor Sam S. Richardson (1919-2004) to public administration study and practice in Australia.

Dr Pepin-Neff and Ms Caporale were unable to attend the dinner due to research commitments in the USA but it is hoped that they will be able to receive their awards in person at a future IPAA event.

Read Dr Pepin-Neff and Ms Caporale’s paper, Funny Evidence: Female Comics are the New Policy Entrepreneurs.

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