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Capturing diversity and social cohesion in a modern Australia

Create change with a Monash Arts Graduate Research Industry Project

Discover how Monash Arts is working with the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute to create opportunities for a PhD candidate to actively improve social cohesion.

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We are seeking an outstanding PhD candidate to work with the Scanlon Foundation and Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre (MMIC) to theoretically and methodologically advance how we study cohesion within various migrant populations in Australia.

Australia has experienced significant population growth since the 1990s and much of this growth is associated with increases in overseas migration. According to the latest census, nearly a third of people living in Australia were born in another country and over a quarter speak a language other than English. Misconceptions of migrants, which are largely perpetuated in the media and in political rhetoric, have made it increasingly difficult for some migrant communities to settle well in Australia. Experiences of social and economic exclusion are often reported by migrants, especially those from non-English speaking backgrounds. This exclusion may not only consequences for migrants’ sense of belonging and inclusion, but Australia may be missing out on the social-cultural, and economic benefits immigration brings to this country.

The Scanlon Foundation, in partnership with MMIC, are progressing several initiatives to better understand how social cohesion can be maintained, fostered and supported in the ever-growing culturally diverse communities in Australia. Central to this is a need to systematically capture the voices of migrant subgroups and their experiences of settlement, employment, inclusion, and cohesion. This PhD project will create new knowledge that can be consolidated, interpreted by a broad audience and, as importantly, be practically applied to advance Australia as a welcoming, prosperous and cohesive nation.

Lead supervisor

Rebecca Wickes is Associate Professor in Criminology and Director for the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre at the School of Social Sciences, Monash University. She is the lead investigator of the Australian Community Capacity Study, a multi-million, multisite, longitudinal study of place. Associate Professor Wickes’ research focuses on physical and demographic changes in urban communities and their influence on social relationships, inclusion and the concentration of social problems.

Project partner

Interested in applying?

For any enquiries, please contact us by email to

Dr Isabella Ofner, Project and Partnerships Manager (GRIP)