Dr Geoff Main
Lecturer in Human Geography
Peter Lanyon A057
Peter Lanyon Building, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Treliever Road, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK
Office hours: Drop-in hours are held in my office in Peter Lanyon. If you'd prefer to 'drop-in' via Microsoft Teams, please send me an e-mail. Directions to Office: From Peter Lanyon department corridor, head toward the staff room and follow the corridor around, go through both sets of double doors and my office is down the corridor on the left-hand side next door to Student Recruitment.
Drop-in hours are held in my office in Peter Lanyon. If you'd prefer to 'drop-in' via Microsoft Teams, please send me an e-mail.
Directions to Office: From Peter Lanyon department corridor, head toward the staff room and follow the corridor around, go through both sets of double doors and my office is down the corridor on the left-hand side next door to Student Recruitment.
I am an interdisciplinary geographer with research across physical and human geography. My primary research focuses on the multiple and complex ways in which natural hazards (including earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslides, floods, storms, coastal erosion etc.) interact with human society across spatial and temporal scales. This primarily involves exploring questions around risk, uncertainty, vulnerability, resilience, sustainability, disaster management and disaster risk reduction. In recent years, my attention has moved to consider these interactions on small island states, with a specialist focus on the small island state of Malta (Central Mediterranean), and in the context of island-based tourism.
I qualified with a BSc and MA in Geography from Aberystwyth University, following this with a PhD in Geography from Liverpool Hope University (2020). At Liverpool Hope, I held a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (2016-2019) before moving to the University of Chester as a Visiting Lecturer in 2020. I am currently a Lecturer (Education & Scholarship) in Human Geography at the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Exeter (Penryn Campus).
Broad research specialisms:
- Natural hazards
- Small island states
- Risk, uncertainty, vulnerability, resilience
- Disaster/Emergency management and disaster risk reduction
- Urban geography and sustainability
BSc (Hons) Geography, Aberystwyth University
M.A. Regional and Environmental Policy, Aberystwyth University
PhD Geography, Liverpool Hope University
Associate Fellow of UK Higher Education Academy
At its heart, my research examines the complex and multifaceted ways in which natural hazards interact with human society across spatial and temporal scales, with a particular interest in these interactions on independent and advanced small island states. I have a specialist focus on the island state of Malta (Central Mediterranean) and am working on numerous active projects with UK and Maltese partners.
In the past I have conducted research on topics including: the connections between volcanic risk perception, hazard maps and territory on Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain); changing Ceredigion (Mid-Wales, UK) emergency management; small seaside town regeneration in Aberaeron (Mid-Wales, UK), and flood risk management practices in Lostwithiel (Cornwall, UK).
Hazardous history of Malta
In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Malta’s Department of Geography and the University of Liverpool’s Department of Geography and Planning, I’m the lead researcher on a study investigating the history of natural hazards, their impacts and societal responses on the city-island-state of Malta. This work has received funding from the University of Malta Research Seed Fund 2021.
Malta is traditionally viewed as a low-hazard country with the lack of a long historical catalogue of extreme events and their impacts acting as an obstacle to formulating evidence-based policies of disaster risk reduction. Corresponding to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and Malta’s 2015 National Risk Assessment, we identify geophysical, geomorphological and meteorological extremes from the Miocene (c. 23-c. 25 million years ago) to 2019. It is our aim that by doing so, we can seek to address significant gaps in knowledge and understanding of such extremes, their impacts and societal responses on Malta from geological times to the present day.
Hazard-tourism-policy interface in Malta
Working with colleagues in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Liverpool Hope University and the University of Malta’s Department of Geography, I am part of an interdisciplinary team exploring how natural hazards guide and influence actions, decision- as well as policy-making in Malta amongst key national public sector agencies and non-governmental organisations, with a specific focus on the vulnerability of tourism destinations.
This ongoing project is led by Dr Victoria Kennedy at Liverpool Hope University and has received funding from the UK Higher Education Innovation Fund REF-related grants. We are addressing a number of questions in this study, including: how aware are local tourism stakeholders of natural hazards affecting their destination; are any management plans in place, and how could this affect the future sustainability of the industry in Malta?
Flood disadvantage and community-led flood adaptation
The threat posed by flooding is a growing concern with approximately 5.2 million properties (roughly equivalent to 1 in 6 homes) at risk of flooding in the UK according to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2006). Within the UK there is significant uneven distribution in flood risk as some communities, and individuals, are more at risk than others owing to their differential vulnerabilities. This is recognised as disadvantage.
Driven by the significant threat posed by the flooding hazard in the UK, research driven by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and National Flood Forum has sought to develop a better understanding of the relationship between social vulnerability and exposure to flood risk across different communities as a means to delivering a socially just (i.e. fair) approach to prioritising flood risk management efforts within policy and funding efforts. Focusing on the North Wales coast between Anglesey and Prestatyn, I am working with colleagues, led by Dr Servel Miller in the Department of Geography and International Development at the University of Chester, on a study investigating how national data reflects local detail and understandings of flood vulnerability and disadvantage in order to inform local and national policies towards a more sustainable flood risk management strategy.
Blended learning approach to postgraduate geoscience study
Working alongside Dr Katharine Welsh, Dr Servel Miller and Dr Anthony Cliffe in the Department of Geography and International Development at the University of Chester, we are conducting a study into the challenges and benefits of flexible blended learning on the department’s postgraduate taught programme in Flood Risk Assessment, Modelling and Engineering from both staff and student perspectives. In addition, we are exploring the effectiveness of virtual field guides and virtual field trips as a tool to help students immerse themselves in the landscapes and explore whether this fosters greater engagement with predominantly online programmes.
- Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers)
- UK Alliance for Disaster Research (UKADR)
- Network for Early career REsearchers in Interdisciplinary Disaster Studies (NEREIDS)
Research Groups & External Responsibilities:
Peer Reviewer for Routes – The Journal for Student Geographers (Routes – The Journal for Student Geographers (routesjournal.org)
Publications by category
Publications by year
GEO1408B Global Issues in Environmental Science (module convenor)
GEO2462 Research Design and Methods
GEO3469 Catastropolis (module convenor)
GEOM403 Independent Work-Based Learning (module convenor)
GEO1313 Learning Through Place: Doing Human Geography
GEO2328 Geographies of Consumption: Doing Human Geography Research
GEO2322B Geographies of Flows: Commodities, Migration, Mobilities Field Course
GEOM132 Space, Politics and Power
- GEO1408B - Global Issues in Environmental Science
- GEO2461 - Second Year Tutorials
- GEO3469 - Catastropolis