Our Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) opportunities provide First Nations students a unique opportunity to develop their basic research, academic leadership, and research innovation skills with access to the world-leading researchers and clinicians.
Current First Nations PhD Candidates
Joel Liddle is an Arrernte man from Central Australia. His father’s family ties to the Uremerne, Mparntwe/Tyuretye and Irlpme traditional estates. Joel's mother’s family is non-Indigenous and they first arrived in Victoria on the ill-fated 'Sacramento' in 1853. Joel has a Bachelors Degree in Sports Science, a Post Graduate Degree in Indigenous Knowledges and has worked for the last 10 years in various roles engaging with remote communities across Central Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. Joel is a competent speaker, reader and writer of Central/Eastern Arrernte, a language dialect of the Arandic language cluster from Central Australia. Joel is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne and his studies focus on the importance of Central Australian religion, social structures, intellect and language and their importance in improving mental health outcomes for young men in the region.
Tahlia Eastman grew up on Wurundjeri country and has Palawa ancestry from the north-west coast of Tasmania. Tahlia is currently a research fellow in the Indigenous Studies Unit at the University of Melbourne, where she is investigating family violence policy, service delivery and legal assistance, aiming to enable better access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing family violence.
Tahlia previously worked as policy research adviser at the Lowitja Institute, playing a vital role in many research projects including as key researcher in the 2018 Journeys to Healing and Strong Wellbeing - a project conducted by the Lowitja Institute for the National Mental Health Commission. She contributed to the NHMRC Road Map three set of recommendations and engaged with key stakeholders to write and edit the 2019 community-driven Close the Gap Campaign Report.
Tahlia has recently completed a post-graduate thesis with first-class Honours at the University of Melbourne on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity politics. She is commencing her PhD in May 2020, where she will be exploring the mental health outcomes of transgenerational passing from an Indigenous perspective. This work will build on her previous research, including conducting fieldwork in Tasmania. This research is being done at a time where identity policing is a cause for concern for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may not have sufficient ‘evidence’ to claim a political identity. This work will contribute towards closing the gap on mental health for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by looking at the many governmental policies both historical and recent, that continue to exclude many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Tahlia’s PhD will focus on strengthening identity and will research how this can be achieved, and how it can contribute to better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.