Sara Kindon

AProf Sara Kindon profile picture

Associate Professor School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Teaching in 2019

Research interests

Participatory research, youth, Maori. Feminist geography, Community development, Participatory research, Community video, Gender analysis,


  • PhD - University of Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand (2012)
  • MA in Geography - University of Waterloo, Canada (1993)
  • BA with Honours in Geography - University of Durham, United Kingdom(1989)


  • New Zealand Geographical Society Award for Best Doctoral Thesis 2013
  • Dean’s Excellence Award, Faculty of Science, VUW 2013
  • Victoria University of Wellington Public Contribution Award 2013
  • AKO Aotearoa National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award 2010
  • Victoria University of Wellington Excellence in Teaching Award 2008
  • Postgraduate University Women Professional Development Award, NZ 2006
  • Victorias Award for Science Faculty Best Lecturer, VUW 2001

Research Interests

A concern for equity is at the heart of my scholarship and professional practice. As a social geographer, I focus on the practice, theorisation and publication of participatory geographic research. To do this I draw from embedded, long-term and often politically-complex empirical research, most recently this has been with some Indigenous Maori and refugee-background communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. Previously, I worked with indigenous Balinese communities in Indonesia and a women’s cooperative in Costa Rica. I’ve also worked with a number of organisations to carry out or support their own participatory research: NZ Families Commission, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand and Changemakers Refugee Forum (see my interview on Going Public:Oral History, New Media, the Performing Arts about this work).

In 2014-15, my research focused on:

Refugee resettlement and development, Aotearoa New Zealand

Through a partnership with Wellington-based Changemakers’ Refugee Forum (CRF), and the active involvement of 110 postgraduate students in GEOG404 since 2005, we produced many research reports and exhibitions analyzing the resettlement experiences of former refugees, particularly young people. In addition, two papers were prepared for Gender, Place and Culture and focused on a) a discourse analysis of representations of refugee women and men in New Zealand health literature (with Kristine Ford), and b) forced marriage in New Zealand (with Priyanca Radhakrishnan). I am working with Dr Marcela Palomino-Schalscha on a related project; Untangling Hybrid Tapestries: Tracing the Effects of Arpilleras in Wellington. This project explores some of the impacts of an exhibition of arpilleras (brought to Wellington as part of the International Visual Methods Conference (IVMC3), which I convened in 2013), for 15 Chilean women migrants and former refugees.

Participatory video, indigeneity and decolonisation

In a series of articles from my PhD (entitled “’Thinking-Through-Complicity’ with Te Iwi o Ngāti Hauiti: Towards a Critical Use of Participatory Video for Research), I worked through detailed reflections on my own geographic research practice. In one paper, currently in press with Area, I explore how participatory video needs more critical engagement with the realist conventions informing its growing use within social science research if it is not to perpetuate colonial continuities and exploitative hierarchies within research relationships. Another, in preparation for Society and Space: Environment and Planning D, draws on debates in Visual Anthropology and Indigenous Media to advance the value of ‘thinking-through-complicity’ in its ideological, material, spatial and corporeal dimensions (after Kapoor, 2005) within participatory and visual research. A third, to be submitted to Transactions, advances the practice of ‘hyper-self-reflexivity’ that I developed to the use of video in my PhD work. This work acts as a response to earlier critiques of reflexivity (c.f. Rose, 1997) and aims to support attempts to decolonise geographic research.

Participatory geographies in Neoliberal Universities

Through the writing collective – Mrs C. Kinpaisby-Hill – with Dr's Rachel Pain (Durham) and Mike Kesby (St. Andrews) in the UK, and Dr Caitlin Cahill (Pratt Institute) in the USA, I continue critical engagements with participatory research, learning and action in, and beyond, neoliberal universities (see Kindon et al., 2007). As Mrs C. Kinpaisby-Hill, we are currently developing a special issue of Gender, Place and Culture focusing on Feminist Geography and Critical PAR.

I welcome enquiries about postgraduate supervision in any of these areas, and also supervise into projects on gender and sexuality in development, Maori development, and general community engagement.


Publications 2002 - Now


Teaching in 2019