Research Projects

Current Projects

Intergenerational perspectives on the criminalisation of young people from the South Sudanese community in Victoria

In the aftermath of the 2016 Moomba 'riot', Victoria's political agenda has been driven by crime control and responses to alleged 'ethnic gangs' in operation in Melbourne suburbs. In particular, negative media attention has focused on South Sudanese youth, impacting their daily lives by encouraging stigmatisation, over-policing and social exclusion.

In associated with the Centre for Multicultural Youth and colleagues at the University of Melbourne, this project aims to explore these topics in relation to broader concerns about changing attitudes towards multiculturalism and the implications this may have for social cohesion. This research will provide young people and their parents/guardians with an opportunity to share their experiences of stigmatisation and prejudicial racism in the aftermath of the 'riot'. These voices have been largely marginalised by the media which has frequently portrayed young people from the South Sudanese community as a 'problem group' in the aftermath of this event.

Contact Dr Kathryn Benier and Dr Jarrett Blaustein for further information.

The exploitation of unlawful migrant labour: Crime, labour and regulation

This project examines the experiences of migrant workers, employers, NGOs and other key stakeholders in regional Australia with a specific focus on the impact of migration and labour regulation enforcement.

Visit the Border Crossing Observatory website

Approaches to Death, Funeral Rites and Memorialisation in Contemporary Australia: Changes and Continuities

This project investigates approaches to funeral rites and memorialisation among diverse groups living in Melbourne, Australia.  The project team has a specific interest in advancing understandings of Baby Boomers, Christians and other Culturally Diverse groups. The project will gather information about their perceptions, experiences and plans regarding end-of-life decisions and funerary practices. Using a combination of questionnaires and interviews, the project will canvas the opinions and experiences of a diverse range of communities Visit the project website here.

Housing and transport affordability

Housing affordability is declining in Australia. According to the Reserve Bank, over the past 30 years, the ratio of housing prices to income has increased substantially. This project aims to develop a new tool to measure housing and transport affordability in Australia, with Melbourne metropolitan selected as the pilot study area. Housing affordability is traditionally measured using the percentage of income spent on housing costs. As a common rule, households who spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs while earning in the bottom 40% of the income range are considered to be under housing stress. An important cost that is usually overlooked in measuring affordability is the transport or accessibility costs.

Visit the Housing and transport affordability project website

ACCS Vic: Social inclusion in Melbourne communities

MMIC is conducting a survey on social in inclusion in Melbourne communities. This survey looks to better understand views of everyday life, focusing on relationships with fellow residents, interactions with neighbours and the challenges that might exist in some communities. Findings from the survey will be used to improve the quality of social cohesion in Melbourne communities.

Visit the ACCS Vic project website

Educating for emigration? Searching for an appropriate education policy in the Pacific Islands

Funded by the Marsden Fund Grant, Royal Society of New Zealand this project examines the relationship between education, migration and development in the Pacific. Educating is a pathway both to development and emigration. This project asks, can small island states have it both ways? Contact Alan Gamlen for more information.

Nation and Migration: Population mobilities, desires and state practices in 21st century NZ

This project studies how nation and migration relate in an age of increasing temporary and circular migration. It examines migration patterns, drivers and governance across NZ's mobility system. It is funded by the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, Royal Society NZ. Contact Alan Gamlen for more information. He is the Associate Investigator working with PI John Overton on this project.

International Student Engagement

This is a study commissioned by the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman to be conducted by Alan Gamlen, Alexander Reilly and Joanna Howe. It will examine the interaction of international students with the Fair Work Ombudsman. Contact Alan Gamlen for more information. He is the Associate Investigator working with PI Francis Collins on this project.

Superdiversity Data Visualizations

Contact Alan Gamlen for more information about this project.

Poverty and peace building in Colombia

This project will conduct an analysis of the criminalisation and persecution of the poor in Colombia, and the adverse impact this - and their subsequent marginalisation from peace building - has on the prospects of a sustainable peace. It is partially funded by Monash University, Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Government of Colombia. For more information, contact Eleanor Gordon.

Engaging community safety initiatives in post-conflict security sector reform programs

This project has a focus on Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal and South Sudan. It seeks to understand the engagement of community safety initiatives in these post-conflict countries as a means of facilitating inclusive, responsive security sector institutions and, thereby increasing the likelihood of success of the programs and broader peacebuilding efforts. For more information, contact Eleanor Gordon.

Gender-responsive security and justice sector reform

This project will investigate the ways in which to develop gender-responsive security sector institutions, policies and processes and, more broadly, gender-responsive peace building. It will have a focus on Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Colombia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka. For more information, contact Eleanor Gordon.

Youth in the City: One Place Many Cultures

This project applies expertise in participatory mapping, data analysis and visualization, and digital storytelling, to develop collaborative work with secondary schools and community organisations in Prato, one of the most multiethnic cities in Italy. Through a series of collaborative workshops, the project will produce an open source, multilayered and interactive digital mapping of Prato, which will provide an original interpretation of the city from the many perspectives of its youth, through geo-localised stories, photographs, artefacts and testimonies produced directly by school students. This project promotes digital participatory action research with culturally diverse communities as an effective response to the xenophobic content that easily spread on social media and in public discourse.

This project is supported by a National Geographic Society grant and will be conducted by Rita Wilson, Francesco Ricatti and Matteo Dutto, in collaboration with European scholars at Aalborg University and Human Ecosystems Relazioni. For more information, contact Francesco Ricatti.

Completed Projects

Welcoming Regions Evidence Review

Encouraging migrants to move to regional Australia is often viewed as a ‘win-win’ scenario for receiving communities, local economies, and migrants themselves. However, Australia’s regions differ greatly in terms of their social and economic characteristics. Realising the benefits of regional settlement requires careful planning, knowledge of what works, and close collaboration between key stakeholders. To this end, Welcoming Cities has partnered with Monash University’s Migration and Inclusion Centre (MMIC) to review the evidence on migrant settlement in regional Australia.  This research, supported by Multicultural Affairs Queensland, identifies the key services, opportunities and resources needed to help new migrants settle well, with a focus on four priority locations in regional Queensland: Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Central Highlands and Southwest Queensland. An initial evidence review has been developed which includes guidance on the key success factors of regional settlement. The next phase of the research will involve a detailed analysis of the four priority regions, examining demographic, economic, and service provision conditions in each site, and developing a readiness assessment methodology. The project is being conducted in consultation with Welcoming Cities, Queensland state government, local government stakeholders and community representatives in regional Queensland.

Read the report 'Welcoming Regions' (PDF).

South Sudan diaspora impacts project

South Sudan's civil conflicts, economic crisis and political fragmentation continue. Diaspora communities around the world – numbering in the hundreds of thousands – are engaged on a daily basis with this situation: via social media, remittances for family and funding of organisations, and through regular visits or work in the region. This engagement appears to financially and practically underpin the survival and organisation of many families, civil organisations, and armed groups.

The Rift Valley Institute's Diaspora Impacts Project (DIP) aims to fill a vital knowledge gap on the networks and systems of this diaspora. It focuses on the Australian South Sudanese community, and the mechanisms through which they may influence South Sudan's current civil war. The impact, credibility and use of this digital, financial, and practical engagement within South Sudan are very poorly understood. The project builds on a scoping study that was commissioned early in 2017 by the Australian Embassy to Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Working with the Universities of Juba and Monash, the research project is designed to provide grounded knowledge of the real impacts of Australia-based diaspora engagement within the country. It actively engages the Australian-South Sudanese community both in Juba and in Melbourne in research and reflection.

Read the project report titled 'The role of transnational networks and mobile citizens in South Sudan's global community A pilot study focused on Melbourne and Juba'.


Multiculturalism in the Australian Cemetery: Wishes and desires of Chinese immigration in Melbourne 2016

Gil-Soo Han and Helen Forbes-Mewett, assisted by William Wang and in cooperation with the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT).

This project explored the case of Chinese immigrants in Melbourne in terms of funeral rites and memorialisation. The study provided an understanding of the participants' level of acculturation and sense of belonging, and how the host society responded in terms of social inclusion.

Read the Executive Summary of the project (PDF)