Connon, Irena


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Personal profile


Dr. Irena L. C. Connon (PhD, MRes, MA(Hons), FHEA, PG Cert) is a Social Anthropologist and Transdisciplinary Researcher whose research interests and experience span:

  1. Understanding human experiences of environmental hazards, including oil spills, extreme weather, and industrial legacy contamination;
  2. Enhancing inclusion in policies and practices of Disaster Risk Reduction;
  3. Improving hazard risk communication;
  4. Understanding the drivers of energy deprivation;
  5. Geography of worry and emotional affect, particularly in the disaster response context
  6. Translating research evidence into policy for improving higher density living for human health and environmental sustainability, and, most recently,
  7. Environmental hazards, planetary health and climate change adaptation and mitigation for higher density urban environments.

Irena has extensive experience undertaking qualitative research, particularly long-term ethnographic research, in various locations across the globe. She also has experience using quantitative methods and in analysing statistical data. She has published a total of 16 peer reviewed academic outputs to date, including articles in high ranked international journals and book chapters in edited volumes. In 2017, she received an ‘Outstanding’ award from Innovate UK for her contribution to knowledge exchange. Irena contributes to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, postgraduate MSc and PhD supervision, and curriculum development. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and holds a PG Cert in Academic Practice in Higher Education.


Research interests

Human responses to environmental hazards and disasters; Anthropology of disasters; Geography of disasters; Disaster vulnerabilities; Environmental sustainability and water security; Energy justice and policy; Indigenous and alternative models of development; Human-environmental relations in human security debates; Disaster management, planning, prevention and preparedness; capacity building, education and transformation for sustainability; Hazard risk and communication; Gender in disaster risk and response; Decision-making and tolerance of change in transformation for sustainable livelihoods and hazard risk reduction; Planetary health, hazard risk reduction, adaptation and mitigation of anthropogenic climate change in the urban built environment; Geographies of worry and emotion; Critical geography, Translational and policy relevant research; Ethnographic method; Transdisciplinary research; Multi and interdisciplinary research; Mixed method research. 



2018:  (UTS)

PhD Second Supervisor; 

MSc Dissertation Supervisor;

Undergraduate Dissertation Supervisor;

Lecturer/Co-Coordinator: Level 5 Postgraduate MSc module - Environment, Health and Sustainability (UTS) 

Lecturer/Coordinator: Level 3 Human Geographies of Environmental Hazards and Disasters

Lecturer/Supervisor: Level 4 Dissertation Module 

Lecturer: Level 1: Introduction to Geography A

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

PGCert THE, Academic Practice in Higher Education

30 Sept 201631 Jul 2018

Award Date: 31 Jul 2018

Unknown, Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy

30 Sept 20162 Jul 2018

Award Date: 2 Jul 2018

Doctor of Social Science, Environments of loss, disempowerment and distrust: Alutiiq stories of the aftermath of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, University of Aberdeen

31 Oct 20064 Jul 2013

Award Date: 4 Jul 2013

Master of Research, Oral Narratives and the Reaffirmation of Alutiiq Identity in the Aftermath of an Environmental Crisis, University of Aberdeen

20 Sept 200431 Oct 2006

Award Date: 31 Oct 2006

Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology and Philosophy (Hons), University of Aberdeen

20 Sept 200028 Jul 2004

Award Date: 28 Jul 2004

External positions

Research Fellow (Principal Investigator) and Lecturer, University of Technology Sydney

8 Jan 2018 → …


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