Dr Jenny Richards

Dr Jenny Richards

Supernumerary Teaching Fellow in Physical Geography



I am currently the Supernumerary Teaching Fellow in Physical Geography. Prior to this, I completed my DPhil at Oxford University and have undertaken research at Adelaide University, Australia, and University College London. 

What inspired you to pursue your subject? 

I discovered I liked geography a bit by chance. I only took it for GCSE because of how the subject choices fell in the option columns. I am so glad that it worked out this way as I never looked back! I find it so interesting working at the interface between human and environmental processes. Given the current issues facing the world today, geography has never been more relevant.


 I am responsible for the physical geography teaching at St John’s. This includes a wide range of topics including climatology, geomorphology and biogeography. The first-year teaching mainly focuses on providing a grounding for all students in the fundamentals of physical geography. Then, in the second and third years, we go delve deeper into understanding the dynamics of the earth system and human-environmental interactions.

I am always keen to discuss any aspect relating to physical geography and am open to inter-disciplinary research collaborations.

Research Interests

I am interested in the how environmental processes shape the landscape around us. Environmental conditions (e.g. wind and rain) can alter natural and man-made materials through processes such as weathering. At cultural heritage sites, these interactions can cause the loss of historic material as well as impacting other heritage values. In my research, I focus on heritage sites located in dryland regions due to their expose to harsh environmental conditions. By increasing our understanding of these interactions, my research tries to inform and suggest potential conservation strategies. 

Recent publications

Richards, J. Bailey, R., Mayaud, J., Viles, H., Guo, Q. & Wang, X. (2020) Deterioration risk of dryland earthen heritage sites facing future climatic uncertainty. Scientific Reports 10, 16419. 

Richards, J., Viles, H. & Guo, Q. (2020) The importance of wind as a driver of earthen heritage deterioration in dryland environments. Geomorphology. 369, 107363. 

Richards J., Mayaud, J., Zhan, H., Wu, F., Bailey, R. & Viles, H. (2020) Modelling the risk of deterioration at earthen heritage sites in drylands. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 45:11, pp 2401-2416. 

Richards, J., Orr, S.A. and Viles, H.A. (2019) Reconceptualising the relationships between heritage and environment within an Earth System Science framework. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development. Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 122-129.

Richards, J., Zhao, G., Zhang, H. and Viles, H. (2019) A controlled field experiment to investigate the deterioration of earthen heritage by wind and rain. Heritage Science, 7, 51.