Dr Geoff Main
Lecturer in Human Geography
Office hours: Please e-mail to make an appointment.
Please e-mail to make an appointment.
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 part-time Lecturer (Education & Scholarship) in Human Geography at the University of Exeter.
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.
Titled, ‘Natural Hazards, Vulnerability and Resilience in the Maltese Islands’, my PhD collected, revised and synthesised knowledge on the natural hazards of the Maltese Islands; constructed detailed historical catalogues for each category of hazard (geophysical, geomorphological and meteorological), and identified and critically evaluated factors of vulnerability and resilience in the Maltese Islands. 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); flood risk management practices in Lostwithiel (Cornwall, UK); volcanic hazards and early warning systems, and Māori culture, representation and family in New Zealand.
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)
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