Grace Arnot is a PhD candidate within IHT’s Determinants of Health research domain

Hi Grace! Can you please tell us a little bit about your PhD topic?

I’m a third year PhD candidate and public health researcher investigating strategies and mechanisms to better engage children and young people in discussions and decisions about the climate crisis. It’s an exciting time to be working alongside young people as they forge a collective identity as creative problem solvers and critical thinkers, and who are increasingly standing up to harmful government and industry activities.

How is your research going to make health and wellbeing easier for everyone to achieve?

My research is helping to champion the voices of young people and their structural inclusion in policymaking spaces. We know that young people are vital for advocating for action and developing solutions to complex public health issues. With an issue as involved as the climate crisis, young people’s opinions, skills, and ideals can help drive the fundamental policy shifts needed to tackle the related mounting public health crises.

What inspired you to undertake this research?

While the climate crisis is obviously well worth undertaking this research by itself, I find my focus is primarily on investing in young people and their futures and developing their role as democratic citizens. I’m also motivated by fellow public health researchers in the political and commercial determinants space, particularly the team of women at IHT that I’m fortunate enough to be mentored by.

If you could recommend one book for everyone at IHT to read, what would that be?

 I recently joined the bandwagon that is Rob Delaney’s A Heart That Works, and as warned, it’s gut-punchingly candid and vulnerable and you will eat it up in a day. Sneaking in a second, I was gifted Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet by my VCE Literature teacher a decade ago, which has maintained a podium finish in my collection of life-affirming and soul-calming books and poetry.

 What is your favourite podcast? (Apart from the IHT podcast, of course!)

 I’m a chronic podcast binger, so my favourite changes from week to week. However a new episode of Behind the Bastards hosted by journalist Robert Evans never goes astray. I also love Dear Hank & John hosted by Hank and John Green for that perfect mix of silliness and existentialism.

You’ve got a Saturday afternoon completely to yourself, what would we find you doing?

Either catching up with friends or family, or popping down to the beach for a read and a paddleboard or swim. Afterwards I might try to rope every at home into an extended and competitive game of Catan.

And finally, what is the best lesson you have learned so far during your PhD completion?

Doing a PhD has shaped my perspective by helping me to consider the day-to-day influence of political and commercial actions more critically than before – a perspective that I grow increasingly appreciative of. The experience has also taught me that the team around you is your greatest resource – to learn from, bounce ideas off, and for an ongoing sense of community in the world of academia.