About this Project

The Research

Exploring black and white South African participants’ experiences of migration to Australia and its implications for identity disruption,construction and belonging. With a focus on meanings conveyed through migration stories, we thematically analysed semi-structured interview data gathered from nine participants. We generated three themes,including the motivations for migration, the experience of leaving and losing home, and the personal and political challenges of home making. Home and its associations with textured depictions of belonging and loss was central to the meanings participants gave to the impacts of displacement. Settling involved the ongoing negotiation of identity in relation to both South Africa and Australia. The findings are discussed with reference to the role of nostalgia and race in negotiating belonging and identity.


The Research Team

Dr Christopher Sonn

Dr Gavin Ivey

Dr Alison Baker

Kirsten Meyer

The Sound Portraits

Sound portraits, as we have developed for this project, are audio pieces that privilege participants’ voices and convey the complexity of their stories through the layering of voices with environmental and cultural soundscapes. Sound portraits use audio-documentary techniques and qualitative arts-based and narrative methods to develop individual and collective representations of lived experience. Sound portraits in this project are compositions of sounds (voices, sound marks) that symbolise the fractured and fragmented, and the ‘renewed’ and ‘reconstructed’ self and collective experiences linked to migration.  The project features a series of short extracts from individual portraits to create a collective narrative (which you are listening to now) to convey an ‘imaginary’ sense of moving through a particular time and place that is connected to collective memory. 

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