Dr Rhian Hedd Meara

Senior Lecturer, Geography

Email address

Welsh language proficiency

Fluent Welsh Speaker
Academic Office - 204A
Second Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision
Media Commentator


I am a senior lecturer in Geography at Swansea University and am responsible for Welsh-medium geography education. I am the Faculty of Science and Engineering Welsh Language Lead and the head of admissions for the Geography Department. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and have been nominated for teaching awards in 2017 and 2023.

I am a geologist by training, having completed my MGeol degree at Leicester University (2003–2007) and my PhD at the University of Edinburgh (2007–2011). Through my PhD and a post-doctoral position at Swansea University (2011–2012), I specialised in geochemistry and tephrochronology, with a focus on Icelandic eruptions and the NGRIP Greenland ice core. Between 2012 and 2014, I was a university teacher at the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at Glasgow University before returning to Swansea University in 2014 as a Welsh-medium geography lecturer funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. My current research interests focus on socio-historical volcanology. My research focuses on Icelandic eruptions and their impact on nearby communities. My current project, “Magmatic Memories: Eldfell, 1973," investigates the 1973 eruption of the Eldfell volcano on the island of Heimaey, south Iceland.

Outside of my teaching and research commitments, I am a regular contributor to Time for Geography and have won several awards and commendations from the Geographical Association for this work. In 2023, I received the Eilir Hedd Remembrance Prize from the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, which is awarded in recognition of research excellence and substantial contribution to Welsh-medium higher education by an early-career researcher. In 2020, I received the Katia and Maurice Krafft Award from the European Geosciences Union for significant contributions to the dissemination of geography and earth and environmental science topics to people with disabilities. I also regularly contribute to Welsh-medium radio and television outlets to discuss geographical and geological news items.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Socio- and Historical Volcanology
  • Physical Volcanology
  • Natural Hazards
  • Geochemistry
  • Science Communication

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

I am responsible for the coordination and delivery of Welsh-medium teaching within the Geography Department and contribute widely to English-medium teaching. I am responsible for Year 1 modules “Sustainability and Climate Emergency”, and “Hazards and Society”. I contribute to second-year Methods modules and have taught fieldwork modules in Mallorca and Belfast. In year 3, I coordinate the “Science Communication” module and supervise dissertation projects from environmental science, physical science, and human geography students. I am available for Masters research supervision and have two PhD students.

Research Award Highlights Collaborations