Dr Merryn Thomas

Senior RA, Public Health

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792 205678 ext 1536


Merryn’s interdisciplinary research draws on geography, psychology, and social science and she has a longstanding interest in using creative and innovative methods to engage diverse publics. She is particularly interested in intergenerational research and the potential of creative methods to help people connect with nature and articulate intangible relationships with their environments.

She is currently leading UKRI funded project, ‘Understanding Older people’s PerspecTives and Imaginaries of Climate change (OPTIC): emplaced creativity to improve environments for healthy ageing’ together with colleagues in the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research, the Centre for Innovative Ageing, and the School of Geography. The project seeks to use creative methods (comics, mobile interviews, video) with intergenerational groups to understand older people’s climate change perceptions, imaginaries and behaviours. The aim is to help create environments for ageing that offer greater health and wellbeing benefits, while contributing to more sustainable futures.

Merryn holds a BA in Geography (University of Oxford), MSc in the Science of Natural Hazards (University of Bristol) and PhD in Psychology (Cardiff University). She completed her PhD in 2013 using a mixed-methods, mental-models approach to explore public and expert perceptions of sea-level change on the Severn Estuary. Merryn then held two post-doctoral positions in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University. An NSF-funded project (with UCSB Santa Barbara) used deliberative workshops and roleplay to explore public perceptions of shale gas development in the UK and USA, while NERC-funded CoastWEB used in-depth mobile interviews to better understand the connections between coastal habitats and human health and wellbeing.

Since moving to Swansea University in 2020, Merryn worked in the Freshwater Interdisciplinary Research and Engagement (FIRE) Lab in Biosciences. This work included comic creation, poetry, schools engagement, stakeholder interviews and surveys, to connect and explore people’s relationships with freshwater environments. She joined The Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research in September 2022.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Creative and novel approaches to engagement
  • Qualitative research, multi-modal methods
  • Relationships with nature and well-being
  • Public and expert perceptions of environmental risk
  • Responses to climate change and sea-level rise

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

My teaching experience (October 2010-present) includes: undergraduate final year project supervision, Cardiff School of Psychology; teaching ‘Introduction to qualitative methods’ and assisting on a number of field courses, Cardiff University School of Earth and Ocean Sciences; photography tuition (Merryn Thomas Photography).

Award Highlights