The Academy’s flagship annual public lecture is named after Dr Kenneth Stewart Cunningham, the first chairman of the Social Science Research Committee (the Academy’s predecessor organisation). A voluminous writer on educational subjects, Cunningham made considerable contributions to the development of Australian libraries and the social sciences in general, and championed the use of tests for vocational purposes during World War II. He was a member of the Australian National Research Council and chaired (1943-52) its social science research committee. In addition, he was a founder of the Australian branch of the British Psychological Society and a postwar president of the Eugenics Society of Victoria.

The Cunningham Lecture is presented by an eminent social scientist and is open to the public.