Sahana is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. Her research focuses on multiculturalism and cultural diversity. She is interested in investigating the lack of intercultural engagement amongst migrant communities in Australia.
Before moving to Australia, Sahana completed her Bachelor of Mass Media (Journalism) from the University of Mumbai. Sahana worked in the social impact and community services sector in India. As a Teach for India Fellow (2013- 2015) and briefly as a Program Coordinator for the iTeach Fellowship (2015-2016), Sahana worked towards improving achievement outcomes for public school students and teaching graduates. Following which, she worked as a Milaap Fellow (2016), exploring microfinance and skill development in rural Tamil Nadu, India.
Sahana moved to Australia to complete her Master of International Relations (2017- 2018) from the Australian National University (ANU). Sahana briefly worked as a Sessional Academic for the Indian Security and Foreign Policy course, taught at the ANU. She is employed at the Canberra Multicultural Service (FM 91.1) and works in collaboration with ethnic language broadcasters and coordinators; actively seeking, developing and maintaining partnerships with external stakeholders; and managing grants, and community engagement initiatives and media projects.
Sahana's PhD dissertation is provisionally entitled ‘Barriers and Enablers of Intercultural Engagement in Australia: The Case of Indian Diaspora in Canberra’. It seeks to improve the policy and practice of multiculturalism in Australia by identifying pathways to deepen intercultural engagement amongst migrant communities. Australian multiculturalism, while a successful project and policy framework since the 1970s, does not emphasise intercultural engagement in its practice and thus fails to promote interaction at a micro, community level. Advancing intercultural engagement is a key for the future of multiculturalism in Australia. Only by making multiculturalism more interactive, Australia can respond to the emerging ‘super-diversity’ in this country. This research seeks to understand the enablers and barriers of intercultural engagement through an in-depth study of the Indian diaspora in Canberra as a case study. While the Indian diaspora is only one ethnic community among many others, it is a suitable case for exploring the questions this research seeks to respond to. The project will offer new insights on how different actors perceive and practice intercultural engagement focusing on three different yet interconnected levels of analysis within the public domain- the public, civic actors, and government agencies. It will involve interviews with key actors, focus groups with the members of the Indian diaspora and document analysis of policy documents with respect to multiculturalism and intercultural engagement.
‘Negotiating Multiculturalism: The Linear and the Lateral.’ 3rd Advancing Community Cohesion Conference, 12 February 2020. Western Sydney University, Australia
‘Negotiating Multiculturalism: The Linear and the Lateral.’ Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) Conference, October 2019.
Selen Ercan (Primary supervisor)
Caroline Ng Tseung Wong Tak Wan (Secondary supervisor)
Kim Rubenstein (Advisor)
Co-convener, Seminar Series of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, 2022-present
Scholarships and Prizes
University of Canberra and Canberra Multicultural Service Co-Funded Stipend Scholarship, 2021-2025.