Conversation With...Jodie Grigg

NDRI Research Associate
February 2023
Music is a big part of Jodie Grigg's life, either listening to it for pleasure, or conducting research at music festivals.

This weekend I will...Be attending a concert on Saturday night. A friend of mine is the drummer in a band – they live in Melbourne but they’re touring right now – and then Sunday mornings I have brunch with my family at my Mum’s. I do that most Sunday mornings – it’s a bit of a tradition.

I'll never forget...When my Dad was really sick and we found out he was going to be okay. I think anything health-related puts life into perspective.

I'd originally planned to work...As a psychologist in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) field. I did a double major in psychology and addiction, but then during my honours I did some casual work at NDRI on the EDRS. I really loved it and just never really left. I did work for about a year at Holyoake doing AOD counselling, but I found my passion was more in research.

The qualities I most value in my colleagues are...I would say passion and empathy. I’ve found over the years that people in the AOD field come from pretty diverse backgrounds but I think they are generally united in having a passion for positive change and having empathy for other people.

If I had more time, I'd...There’s so much I’d like to do so it’s a difficult question. I’d like to travel more, spend more quality time with family, and probably pursue music. I did an electronic music production course about five years ago but I’ve never really had time to do anything with it. I also did a DJ course and actually have decks in my home office, so whenever I have spare time I play around with it. It kind of ties in a little with my research focus on music festivals; because I’ve attended a lot of festivals and concerts, I’ve seen a lot of the issues first-hand in those areas.

For my next holiday...At the moment, I’m planning Italy and Greece with some girlfriends. Although, for years, I’ve been wanting to road trip around the U.S. and go to Coachella but life hasn’t really aligned with that plan yet. Coachella’s in April, which is when we do EDRS recruitment, so it’s never a great time.

I can't get enough of...This won’t surprise you – music. I’ve always got music playing, even when I sleep. The only time I turn it off is when I need to focus – if I’m writing or doing something where I really need to pay attention. And all different music; it depends how I’m feeling on the day.

I'm really terrible at...Whistling – I can’t actually whistle – and I also really struggle to breathe into breathalysers. I live on a main street that comes back from the beach where there are a lot of bars, so Random Breath Tests are often set up on my street. So if I get stopped, the police think I’ve been drinking because it normally takes me a few goes.

My goal for 2023 is...Workwise, I’m hoping to pursue funding opportunities to extend my research on harm reduction at festivals. In my personal life, I’d like to prioritise health and fitness more and do some home renovations.

Career wise, I’m most proud of...Finishing my PhD, and then presenting some of the findings at the New South Wales coronial inquest into six drug-related deaths at festivals. That just really reminded me and reinforced why I did the PhD.

The sector's biggest challenge going forward is...Finding effective and consistent ways for evidence to influence policy and public perceptions. Obviously, we generate the evidence but then translating that evidence into real world impact is the struggle.

My big hope for the drug and alcohol sector is...Similarly, finding effective ways to translate evidence into policy. For me and the work I do at festivals, and I suppose more generally, I’d really love to see a shift away from punitive approaches to ones focussed on health. I’d also really love to see a shift in culture where young people can have open and honest discussions around substance use with their parents. There is a lot of secrecy, stigma and misinformation around drug use and I think having open and honest discussions is a good starting point.