Section: Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Community & liberation psychologies
  • Qualitative and post-qualitative research
  • Racism and whiteness studies
  • Migration and Settlement

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

About Christopher Sonn

Christopher is research fellow and Deputy Director Research and Research Training with the Institute for Health and Sport. 

He is research leader for the Community Identity and Displacement research group.

His internationally recognised research involves understanding and elevating the voices of individuals and groups who are marginalised or excluded through forms of violence such as racism and sexism.

Christopher has expertise in community and liberation psychology and qualitative and creative methodologies.

He has over 100 publications in high-ranking journals and edited books.

Christopher's recent publications include the coedited volume Decoloniality and Epistemic Justice in Contemporary Community Psychology (2021) and a special issue of the American Journal Community Psychology on Fostering and Sustaining Solidarities. He co-author of Social Psychology of Everyday Life (1st & 2nd ed.) 

He has supervised and co-supervised 15 PhD and DPsych students and is currently supervising six Higher Degree by Research students.

Christopher is currently working on projects with community partners to explore how participatory, creative, and arts based methodologies can promote decoloniality, empowerment, and inclusion.

He is visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and a fellow of the Society for Community Research and Action.


  • PhD, Victoria University, Australia, 1996
  • Grad Dip Applied Psychology (Community), Victoria University, Australia
  • Grad Dip Education, Deakin University, Australia
  • BA, Monash University, Australia

Key publications

Year Citation
2022 Sonn, C. C., Quayle, A. F., & Balla, P. (220318). Community arts for critical community psychology praxis: Towards decolonisation and Aboriginal self-determination (pp. 212-226).

doi: 10.4324/9780429325663-17

Year Citation
2022 Shearson, K., Sonn, C., Ivey, G., Sharples, J., Brasacchio, L., Bryant, E., & Durkan, B. (220401). Gender Equality through the Arts Program Evaluation. Victoria, Australia: VicHealth.

doi: 10.37309/2022.MW1042

Year Citation
2022 Zarate, D., Sonn, C., Fisher, A., & Stavropoulos, V. (221201). Suicidal behaviors in the entertainment industry: a preliminary exploration of the interplay between work scheduling, social support, and wellbeing in Australia. BMC Psychiatry, 22(1),

doi: 10.1186/s12888-022-04376-2

2022 Balla, P., Jackson, K., Quayle, A. F., Sonn, C. C., & Price, R. K. (221201). Don't let anybody ever put you down culturally. it's not good : Creating spaces for Blak women's healing. American Journal of Community Psychology, 70(3-4), (352-364).

doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12607

2022 Andriolo, A., Hodgetts, D. J., Sonn, C. C., Valentim, Teixeira., & Petraglia, M. S. (221001). Music Workshops as Social Aesthetic Contributions to Cultivating Community Sensibilities. International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation, 11(4), (246-256).

doi: 10.1027/2157-3891/a000046

2022 Madyaningrum, M. E., Sonn, C. C., & Fisher, A. T. (220601). Disability organizations as empowering settings: Challenging stigmatization, promoting emancipation. American Journal of Community Psychology, 69(3-4), (474-483).

doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12560

2022 Sonn, C. C., Fox, R., Keast, S., & Rua, M. (220601). Fostering and sustaining transnational solidarities for transformative social change: Advancing community psychology research and action. American Journal of Community Psychology, 69(3-4), (269-282).

doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12602

2022 Bryant, E., & Sonn, C. (220207). Learning through Li fe Narratives in Environmental and Community Psychology. The Australian Community Psychologist, 32(2), (96-104).
2022 Parker, A., Dash, S., Bourke, M., Patten, R., Craike, M., Baldwin, P., Hosking, W., Levinger, I., Apostolopoulos, V., & de, Courten. (220201). A Brief, Daily, Online Mental Health and Well-being Intervention for University Staff During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Program Description and Outcomes Using a Mixed Methods Design. JMIR Formative Research, 6(2),

doi: 10.2196/35776

Research funding for the past 5 years

Please note:

  • Funding is ordered by the year the project commenced and may continue over several years.
  • Funding amounts for contact research are not disclosed to maintain commercial confidentiality.
  • The order of investigators is not indicative of the role they played in the research project.

VicHealth - Mental Health Literacy Project Evaluation
From: VicHealth
Other investigators: Dr Samuel Keast
For period: 2022-2023
Not disclosed
Co-creating Social Change: Documenting Community-Based and Arts Approaches to Foster Social Connectedness
From: VicHealth
Other investigators: Dr Matthew Klugman
For period: 2022-2022
Not disclosed

Moving critical voices to the forefront: Building global solidarities with Community Psychology scholars to increase Scholarly Impact and Inform Everyday Praxis
From: Wilfred Laurier University
For period: 2021-2022
Blak Women's Healing
From: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Other investigators: Ms Karen Jackson, Ms Paola Balla, Ms Rowena Price, Dr Amy Quayle
For period: 2021-2021

Evaluation of the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation's GOAL Mentoring Program 2020
From: Western Bulldogs Community Foundation
For period: 2020-2020
Not disclosed

Evaluation of the gender equality through the Arts Grants Program
From: VicHealth, VU Internal Funding
Other investigators: Dr Kim Shearson, Aspr Gavin Ivey, Prof Jenny Sharples
For period: 2019-2020
Not disclosed
Capacity Building Grant -  Participation in the Collaborative Centre of Excellence for Resilient Communities and Inclusive Societies (CERCIS) Think Tank
From: Dept of Premier and Cabinet (Vic)
Other investigators: Prof Debra Smith, Prof Ramon Spaaij
For period: 2019-2023
Not disclosed

CBTL (Colour between the line): Creating Solidarities Across Communities of Difference through Arts and Activism
From: CoHealth
Other investigators: Dr Amy Quayle
For period: 2018-2020
Not disclosed

Retrospective evaluation of CoHealth Arts Generator 'Benchmark' program
From: CoHealth, College of Arts and Education
Other investigators: Dr Caroline Clark
For period: 2017-2018
Not disclosed
An evaluation of the Horace Petty Education Engagement Initiative.
From: College of Health and Biomedicine, College of Arts and Education, Stonnington City Council
Other investigators: Dr Alison Baker
For period: 2017-2020
Not disclosed

African Australians negotiating belonging and Identity: Examining the role of participatory arts practice
From: CoHealth, College of Health and Biomedicine
For period: 2016-2018
Not disclosed

Supervision of research students at VU

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

Currently supervised research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
4 PhD Principal supervisor
2 PhD Integrated Associate supervisor
1 PhD Integrated Principal supervisor

Currently supervised research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (4) Principal supervisor
PhD Integrated (2) Associate supervisor
PhD Integrated (1) Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
1 PhD Acting supervisor
9 PhD Principal supervisor
3 PhD Associate supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (1) Acting supervisor
PhD (9) Principal supervisor
PhD (3) Associate supervisor

Other supervision of research students

Christopher has co-supervised 2 PhD students at Curtin University, and 1 PhD at Edith Cowan University. He was on the PhD dissertation committee at the University of Miami and is currently co-supervising a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Teaching activities & experience

Christopher is Professor and Fellow with the Institute for Health and Sport. He is currently Deputy Director Research and Research Training and seconded to Moondani Balluk. 

He was the course chair of the Master Applied Psychology (Community Psychology). He coordinated and taught the following units in this program:

  • APM6010, Foundations of Community Psychology
  • APM7004, Intercultural Approaches to Community Pscyhology
  • APC6089, Research Methods.

He also supervises research thesis in the thesis units for this course.

Christopher also:

  • taught APH4018, Social Research Methods, in the fourth year program in Psychology
  • supervises research thesis 
  • taught in into the undergraduate research methods course, APS2030, Qualitative Social Research.



Professional memberships

  • Fellow, Australian Psychological Society
  • Fellow, Society for Community Research and Action