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Associate Professor Chris Sonn


Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria




Christopher is an Associate Professor at Victoria University, Australia, where he teaches in areas of community, cultural and liberation psychology and qualitative research methods.

His research is in the area of sense of community, social identity, immigration, and intergroup relations. These areas reflect themes in his own journey as an immigrant to Australia and as a person who grew up during the Apartheid period in South Africa.

A major focus of his research is on understanding non-dominant group responses to oppression, including racism. He has investigated the adaptation of different immigrant communities to Australia as well as the responses of Indigenous Australians to dominant group settings and stories. His focus is on understanding the multiple and often hidden resources and structures groups develop to help protect valued cultural identities and to resist oppression and promote liberation. Christopher continues to work with the Community Arts Network Western Australia exploring how community arts can be utilised in community capacity building. He is also a lead researcher on the international Apartheid Archive Project based in South Africa.

Current projects

Barriers to participation: Exploring challenges to partnership formation between Noongar people and Local Government
This research builds on an ongoing collaboration between Victoria University and the Community Arts Network Western Australia www.canwa.com.au and community in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. The current investigation explored the relationships between the Noongar community and the local government from the perspectives of different stakeholders in the community, and the perceived barriers to partnership formation from a Noongar and a Wadjella perspective.

The Apartheid Archive Project
This research project examines the nature of the experiences of racism of South Africans under the old apartheid order and their continuing effects on individual and group functioning. In order to do this, we herewith request any volunteers to share whatever personal stories they can think of that will illustrate how they were affected by the racism of the apartheid system.

Examining the links between accepting and valuing diversity and wellbeing
Accepting and valuing diversity is a central values proposition that speaks to issues of multiculturalism, social inclusion, interculturality, antiracism and identity. The aims of this project is to examine the how this notion has been understood, and the links between these understandings and wellbeing.

For further information about Chris' research interests, areas of postgraduate thesis supervision and recent publications, please see his Staff Profile under the Community Psychology at VU section of this website.