About Rob

DR. ROB DUNCAN is a former academic, a child poverty activist (and more broadly, a social and environmental activist), feminist, amateur bass player/singer, birdwatcher and amateur naturalist, and lifelong socialist currently working in low-barrier supported housing.

Rob was born and brought up on traditional Coast Salish territory in Victoria. He moved to Ontario and the Maritimes for nearly 20 years, first for grad school and then for work, and moved back to Victoria 12 years ago. Rob came back to Victoria and Rob has stayed here because on balance, Victoria is the best place in the world to live.

Rob’s first PhD is in developmental psychology (Waterloo, 1999), and more recently he was working on a second PhD in political sociology at the University of Victoria (2012-2016), until he ran out of money. Rob’s specialization in psychology is Vygotskian cultural-historical psychology, and his main area of empirical research when he was working in university psychology departments involved self-directed speech in children and adults and the development of relations between speech, thinking and action (a central issue in the cultural-historical approach). A secondary research focus, in the area of health psychology, was cigarette smoking cessation in university students.

In sociology, Rob’s focus has been social movement participation, exploring questions such as “What are the specific obstacles that prevent so many people who agree with the objectives and ideals of a particular social movement from getting actively involved?”, or in other words, “What prevents sympathizers from becoming activists?”

Rob organizes a local child poverty awareness campaign known as Clowns Against Child Poverty, which began during the 2013 BC provincial election campaign. In 2014, Dr. Duncan ran for Mayor of Victoria in the character of Changes the Clown, to raise awareness of Victoria’s 1-in-5 child poverty rate, running on a two-plank platform of affordable childcare and a living wage.

Rob lives with his cat Winston (who would really prefer just to be left out of this whole thing) in a small apartment in a big old house in Fernwood.

“Unarmed truth and unapologetic love.” – Dr. Cornel West