Associate Professor Christopher Sonn

Associate Professor Christopher Sonn

BA (Monash), Grad Dip Ed (Deakin), Grad Dip Appl Psych (VU), PhD (VU)

Associate Professor

Christopher teaches in areas of community, cultural and liberation psychology and qualitative social research methods. His research is in the area of sense of community, social identity, immigration, and intergroup relations.

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 that groups develop to help protect valued cultural identities, to resist oppression, and to promote liberation. 

Christopher was a Mellon Distinguished Scholar (2010) at the University of the Witwatersrand where he currently holds a Visiting Professor position. He was also a Senior Visiting Researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna in 2012. He is a lead researcher on the international Apartheid Archive Project based in South Africa.

Christopher has written numerous articles and book chapters in the related fields of critical, community and liberation psychology on topics of migration, race and racism, whiteness studies, and creative and critical approaches to individual and community change.

Christopher is currently working on a number of projects for the Community, Identity and Displacement Research Network (CIDRN).

Recent publications


Hodgetts, D., Drew., N., Sonn, C. C., Stolte, O., Nikora, L., & Curtis, C. (2010). Social Psychology and Everyday Life. London, UK: Palgrave/MacMillan.

Montero, M.  & Sonn, C. C. (Eds) (2009). The Psychology of Liberation: Theory, Research and Applications. New York: Springer.

Refereed journal articles

Arcidiacono, C., Mannarini, T., Sonn, C., & Brodsky, A. (2015). Introduction to the Issue: Culture and community interactions: essentials for understanding on a globalized world. Community Psychology in Global Perspective, 1(1).

Sonn, C. & Baker, A. (2015). Creating Inclusive Knowledges: Exploring the Transformative Potential of Arts and Cultural Practice. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1-17.

Quayle, A., Sonn, C., & Kasat, P. (2015). Community arts as public pedagogy: Disruptions into public memory through Aboriginal counter-storytelling. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1-17. doi: 10.1080/13603116.2015.1047662

Sonn, C. C., Quayle, A. F., & Kasat, P. (2015). Picturing the Wheatbelt: Exploring and Expressing Place Identity Through Photography. American journal of community psychology, 1-13.

Quayle, A. & Sonn, C. C. (2013). Explicating race privilege: Examining Symbolic Barriers to Aboriginal and Non-Indigenous Partnership. Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture.

Refereed book chapters

Reyes Cruz, M. & Sonn, C.C. (2015). (De)colonizing culture in community psychology. Reflections from critical social science. In R. D. Goodman, P. C. Gorski (eds.), Decolonizing “Multicultural” Counseling through Social Justice, International and Cultural Psychology, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-1283-4_10

Moane G., & Sonn C. (2013).  Postcolonial Psychology. In: Teo T. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology: SpringerReference. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2013. DOI: 10.1007/SpringerReference_304877 2013-02-03 18:06:07 UTC

Sonn, C. C., Stevens, G., & Duncan, N. (2013). Decolonisation, Critical methodologies and why stories matter. In G. Stevens, N. Duncan, D, Hook (Eds), Race, Memory, and the Apartheid Archive (pp. 295-314). London: Palgrave/Macmillan.

Sonn, C., & Quayle, A. (2012). Community psychology, critical theory, and community development in Indigenous empowerment. In D. Bretherton and N. Balvin (Eds), Peace Psychology in Australia (pp. 261-282).  New York: Springer.

Campbell, E., & Sonn, C. C., (2011). Transitioning into the AFL: Indigenous football players’ perspectives. In R. Schinke (Ed.), Introduction to Sport Psychology: Training, Competition and Coping (pp.219-236). New York:  Nova Publishers.

View a full list of Christopher's publications.

Teaching responsibilities

Christopher teaches units in the Master of Applied Psychology (Community Psychology):

Postgraduate research students and fellows


Co-supervisor of 4 PhD students.

Sole supervisor of 3 D. Psych students, 9 Masters students, and 15 plus Honours students.

Current supervision

Co-supervisor for 5 PhD students, 1 D. Psych (clinical) student, 1 Post Doc Fellow,

Sole supervisor: 2 Master Applied Psychology (Community).

Research grants

  • Community Arts Network WA, 2010, Transforming Race Relations through the Arts Practice
  • The Song Room, 2010, Evaluation of The Song Room Programs: Arts and Refugee Wellbeing
  • VicHealth, 2011, Review of the Influence on Health of ‘Accepting and Valuing Cultural Diversity’:  Exploring the Role of Ethnic Identity and Acculturation
  • VURDG 2011, Many Conflicts, Many Approaches to Peace?: Investigating and Supporting Global Youth Capacity in Peacebuilding
  • VU, 2013, Displacement and belonging: South Africans Negotiating Belonging and Home in Australia.

Professional memberships

  • Australian Psychological Association
  • College of Community Psychologists
  • Society for Community Research and Action.

Industry experience

Researcher with Community Arts Network Western Australia.

Areas of expertise

  • Community and Liberation Psychology
  • Migration and Settlement
  • Qualitative methodologies
  • Race Relations
  • Sense of Community and Social Identity

Contact details

+61 3 9919 5226