Overseas Institutional Visit at the Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra, Australia
By Fay Farstad (Politics Pathway, University of York)
Fay undertook an Overseas Institutional Visit at the Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis of the University of Canberra. Fay reported to the WR DTC that the aims she had set for her visit abroad were met and surpassed:
Working within a strong hub of climate specialists at IGPA University of Canberra – and also travelling to present my research and interact with experts at the University of Melbourne and the University of Tasmania – benefited my research and future career prospects in several ways. More formally, I had the opportunity to present my research to staff and students. This provided helpful feedback both in terms of my climate change research as well as my case study on Australia. I also had the opportunity to discuss my PhD research one-on-one with esteemed specialists such as John Dryzek, Barbara Norman, Will Steffen, Simon Niemeyer, Jonathan Pickering, Robyn Eckersley, Peter Christoff, Bruce Tranter and Kate Crowley. These conversations not only provided the opportunity for the specialists in my field to get acquainted with my work, but also gave me some much-needed confidence in what I am doing.
More informally, I gained invaluable knowledge of Australian political culture and history from living in the country for an extended period of time and from lunchtime discussions with colleagues, which is hugely beneficial for my case study research.
I also attended the 2015 Earth Systems Governance Conference in Canberra, and its associated 5-day summer school for early career researchers. Speakers included well-renowned experts such as John Dryzek, David Schlosberg and John Barry, and participants were from all over the world and from 19 different academic disciplines. This was an excellent opportunity to learn new approaches to earth systems governance research and also to network with people broadly working within the same field as myself. I have made friends and contacts for life.
A couple of unexpected benefits from the trip was firstly that PhD students studying at the University of Melbourne and the University of Tasmania (and working on similar topics as myself) got in touch after seeing the advertisement for my presentation, and we met up over coffee to discuss our research and get acquainted. Secondly, when presenting at the University of Melbourne, Trevor Findlay from the Belfer Center at Harvard University approached me and recommended I get in touch with his colleagues in order to present the same paper at Harvard. I have been in touch with the Belfer Center, and it would be a wonderful opportunity if something came of it (though this is of course not certain). In any case, it was reassuring to hear that he thought my research interesting for a wider community of researchers.