Awards for Excellence

Effective interpretation of our natural and cultural heritage makes a difference to our daily lives. It helps us understand and navigate our world, and adds depth and insight to our experiences in museums, zoos, parks, the outdoors and commercial environments.

The Interpretation Australia National Awards for Excellence were established in 2008 to recognise and reward outstanding heritage interpretation.

Entering the Awards

  • Submissions for the 2021 IA Awards for Excellence are now open and will close at 11:59pm on 20th September 2021
  • To submit an entry, please read the Submission Guidelines and submit via the linked form.
  • For Submission Guidelines for all awards please click here
  • .Please note: These guidelines may be updated for the 2021 Awards


Award Categories for 2021

Award Category
Award for Excellence Project Under $15,000
Award for Excellence Project between $15,000 – $50,000
Award for Excellence Project between $50,000 – $150,000
Award for Excellence Project over $150,000
Award for Excellence Judges Choice  
Creativity in a Crisis Awards Projects developed as a response to 2020/21 Covid-19 Pandemic
Georgie Waterman Individual – Lifetime Achievement
Young Achievers Individual – Emerging Professional

Creativity in a Crisis Award

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 Global Pandemic has thrown the world one of the greatest curveballs in decades. So we here at IA believe that during these strange and extraordinary times, we need to recognise some of the unexpected and surprising measures our country’s interpretation folk have been going to in continuing the sharing of our natural and cultural wonders with our public.  With the doors shut on many of our cultural institutions, with our parks, zoos and reserves having to close the gates and lock the loos, this year more than ever, people have yearned for access to the stories they once had access to so freely. As a result our people have been mobilised to find new and innovative ways to give the public what they need!

This year IA are keen to award those you have gone above and beyond, creating access to the stories of Australia’s amazing nature and culture, conservation, history and heritage, finding innovative and exciting ways to interpret tales and share stories with those isolated in their homes. Did you or your colleagues find a way to give your public an opportunity to explore your workplace/site/stories from the comfort of their couch? Did you find an innovative way to navigate physical distancing and technology to engage with a crowd? We’d love to hear about it and offer a once of award for “Creativity in a Crisis”.

Georgie Waterman Award

Since 1999, Interpretation Australia has celebrated the life of interpreter Georgie Waterman by awarding the Georgie Waterman Award to an outstanding interpreter.

The Georgie Waterman Award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding and sustained contribution to the development of the profession of interpretation in Australia. The key focus for this award is on the sustained contribution being made to the profession.


Young Achievement Award 

The Young Achievement Award is for emerging professionals who are making an outstanding contribution to the development of interpretation in Australia. First presented in 2008, this award celebrates inspiration, creativity, innovation and audience awareness of young individual who demonstrates commitment to Interpretation as their chosen profession.

The IA Awards are judged by a panel of experts with comprehensive experience in the field of heritage interpretation. Receiving an IA Award acknowledges that you are a leader in the profession and that your work has made a vital contribution to the success of your project.


2021 Awards Recipients will receive: 

In 2021 the IA Awards Judging Committee will announce the following winners and prizes:

Award For Excellence in each category

Winners in these categories will receive:

  • Opportunity to showcase the project at the 2022 Interpretation Australia National Event and/or the opportunity to participate in a conference panel either in personal or digitally.
  • Digital promotion in the IA eNews
  • Plaque
  • Certificate for each member of the project team
  • Feedback from the IA Awards Judging Committee
  • Opportunity to Curate the IA Instagram
  • Invitation to showcase your project or work in a podcast or webinar.


Award for Excellence – Judge’s Discretion Award

In addition to the winner, our judges can also reward two projects that are particularly innovative and/or demonstrate best practice in interpretation.

Each winner will receive:

  • Digital promotion in the IA eNews
  • Plaque
  • Certificate for each member of the project team
  • Feedback from the IA Awards’ Judging Committee