Robyn Sampson has been working on issues of forced migration and governance for over 10 years. Before joining the Swinburne Institute for Social Research she was a PhD candidate in Politics at La Trobe University. Her doctorate, undertaken in collaboration with the International Detention Coalition, explored alternatives to immigration detention. The research was published as a handbook in 2011 and launched at a global roundtable hosted by UNHCR and OHCHR in Geneva. The research has been presented to over 50 governments and used to develop alternatives to detention in several countries. It has provided the basis of Robyn's work on the uses of expert knowledge in migration policy making and on the nature of borders in contemporary society.
Prior to her PhD, Robyn worked as a research officer with the La Trobe Refugee Research Centre for several years. In this role she undertook research on the psychosocial determinants of health and wellbeing amongst newly arrived refugee youth (the Good Starts study), the impacts of long-term detention for former detainees, the removal of seriously ill asylum seekers, and the experiences of asylum seekers living in Indonesia. Several of these projects involved collaborations with community organisations including Foundation House (the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture) and the Asylum Seeker Project at Hotham Mission.