Dr Janet Wright

Course Director

School of Justice, Security and Sustainability

I joined the Geography team at Staffordshire University in 1996, initially as a lecturer, then senior lecturer and since 2006 as a principal lecturer and the subject leader for Geography (recently renamed Academic Group Leader for Geography and the Environment). In this role I am responsible for managing the development and delivery of all the undergraduate and postgraduate awards delivered by the subject area as well as leading on curriculum design and development. Prior to my appointment as subject leader as well as teaching across a range of modules, my responsibilities included a period as the award leader for the BSc Geography awards, the Geography disability tutor, an active member of the Sciences Student Experience Group, the Sciences Quality Committee, Sciences Learning, Teaching and Quality Enhancement Committee, and the Sciences Research and Enterprise Committee. During my period as a member of the Sciences Student Experience Group I project led the development and implementation of a Sciences e-mentoring scheme to support new undergraduate students during their first year at University, a scheme which ran from 2005 until 2011.

In terms of subject specialisms, initially I was a physical geographer and completed PhD research into the origins of silt particles contained within loess deposits. However as my career has developed my research and teaching interests have widened to encompass the physical geography of urban environments, and urban environmental issues more generally.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD (1993) The Queen’s University of Belfast, Title: The Non-glacial origins of loess-sized quartz silt
  • BSc (Hons) in Geography (1989) – The Queen’s University of Belfast


  • Weathering and building stone decay

  • Physical geography and urban environmental issues

  • Review papers submitted for publication in academic journals

Research interests

Until recently the focus of my research was in physical geography and centred around geomorphic mechanisms of quartz silt production and implications for the formation of loess (aeolian silt) deposits; and weathering studies, with a particular interest in the weathering and degradation of building materials. Current and recent research focuses on:

  1. The origins and characteristics of quartz silt within weathering profiles;
  2. The soiling, degradation and weathering of sandstone buildings;
  3. Micro-landform development and slope evolution on exposed salt rocks in eastern Spain;
  4. The development of sustainable, low energy building products.

Some elements of my research on the weathering of historic sandstone structures and all the research on micro-landform development and slope evolution on salt rocks in eastern Spain was done in collaboration with researchers from the University of Portsmouth. Research currently being developed on sustainable building materials is being done in collaboration with the University of Sfax in Tunisia. This project involves exploring the feasibility of incorporating two environmentally hazardous industrial wastes found in the vicinity of the city of Sfax into an ‘adobe’ style (unfired) clay building block which is both durable, low cost and environmentally friendly.

The Geography Department at Staffordshire University has had a partnership with the Geography Department at the University of Madras since 2004 (Initially funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and subsequently by the UK-India Research and Education Initiative). The original purpose of this partnership was primarily to deliver Post-graduate Masters Awards in the area of sustainability and provide capacity building for Indian academics in the delivery of on-line teaching. I have been involved in this partnership since 2005 and as a consequence I have developed an increased understanding of the Indian urban environment, particularly a growing appreciation of the nature of the environmental issues faced by Indian cities and the challenges these present for sustainable development. This has resulted in my involvement in the supervision of a postgraduate research student who has been exploring access to water and vulnerability to water stress within Indian cities.

Enterprise and commercial interests

  • Project manager for a UKIERI (UK-India Education and Research Initiative) funded project in partnership with the University of Madras Geography Department to develop and deliver joint post-graduate distance learning awards in sustainability and natural resource management – this project ran from 2009 to 2012.

  • During 2012-13 project-leader for an unfunded community engagement initiative to produce a heritage trail leaflet for the Hartshill area of Stoke-on-Trent.

  • Faculty funding has recently been received for the following two projects:

    • Student led development of Welcome week self-guided trails for the Stoke campus and the Stoke-on-Trent / Newcastle-under-Lyme area;
    • Students as partners in the feedback process.


I am involved in developing and/or delivering a wide range of geography and environment modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels including:


First Year: Investigating Geography and the Environment
Geography and Environment Tutorials
The Dynamic Earth

Second Year: Geography and Environment in Practice
Urban Worlds
Resources and Risk

Third Year: Cities and Nature
Advanced Geography and Environment Fieldwork
Geography and Environment Independent Research Project
Geography and Environment Workplace Project
Geography and Environment Research Assistantship


Understanding Sustainability
Cities, Governance and Sustainability
Climate Change and Sustainable Communities
Understanding Sustainability Research
Masters level Dissertation supervision


Conferences Papers:

  • Pratts, J.D. & Wright, J.S. (2010) The role of geo-spatial technologies and sustainability appraisal in meeting the challenges for sustainable development: case studies from mining. Conference presentation at the International Workshop on Geo-spatial Technology for Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Madras (13-14th. September 2010)
  • Harris, T.D., Boast, R., Tweed, F.S. & Wright, J.S. (2008) Embedding research-informed teaching throughout the curriculum: Geography at Staffordshire University. Presented at ‘The Full 360°: Mapping the Undergraduate Research and Inquiry Landscape’ workshop, University of Gloucester.
  • Mottershead, D. N., Duane, W., Inkpen, R. J., Wright, J. S. (2005) Subaerial karstic erosion of small scale salt-rock terrains, Cardona, Spain. Presented at the Sixth International Conference on Geomorphology, Zaragoza, Spain, September 2005

Papers & Book Chapters:

  • Wright, J. & Simpson, J. (2009) E-mentoring @ Staffordshire University. A case study chapter in Virtual Coach, Virtual Mentor edited by Clutterbuck & Hussain
  • Mottershead, D., Duane, W., Inkpen, R., Wright, J. (2008) An investigation of the geometric controls on the morphological evolution of small-scale salt terrains, Cardona, Spain. Environmental Geology 53 1091 – 1098
  • Wright, J. S. (2007) The role of weathering in the production of quartz silt. Sedimentary Geology 202 337 – 351
  • Mottershead, D., Wright, J., Inkpen, R., Duane, W. (2007) Bedrock slope evolution in salt-rock terrain. Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie 51 81 - 102
  • Mottershead, D., Gorbushina, A., Lucas, G., Wright, J. (2003) The influence of marine salts, aspect and microbes in the weathering of sandstone in two historic structures. Building and Environment 38 1193-1204
  • Smith B.J., Wright, J. S. & Whalley, W. B. (2002) Sources of non-glacial, loess-sized quartz silt and the origins of ‘desert loess’. Earth-Sciences Review 59 1-26.
  • Naruse, T. & Wright, J. S. (eds) Loess and Eolian Dust. Special Issue of Transactions, Japanese Geomorphological Union, 23 (5)
  • Wright, J. S. (2002) Granitoid weathering profiles as a source of loessic silt. Transactions of the Japanese Geomorphological Union, 23(5), 769-793
  • Wright, J. S. (2002) Geomorphology and Stone Conservation: sandstone decay in Stoke-on-Trent. Structural Survey 20(2) 50-61
  • Wright, J. S. (2002) Particle size characteristics and quartz microfracture patterns in I- and S-type granitoid weathering profiles: some preliminary observations from eastern Australia. Transactions of the Japanese Geomorphological Union 23(2) 309-333
  • Wright, J. S. (2001) Making loess-sized quartz silt: data from laboratory simulations and implications for sediment transport pathways and the formation of ‘desert’ loess deposits associated with the Sahara. Quaternary International 76/77 7-19
  • Wright, J. S. (2001) “Desert” loess versus “glacial” loess; quartz silt formation, source areas and sediment pathways in the formation of loess deposits. Geomorphology 36 231-256 (also presented at the Fourth International Conference on Geomorphology)
  • Wright, J. S. (2001) Characteristics of black patinas on quartz rich sandstones: examples from North Staffordshire. Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Geologica 45(1) 60-61
  • Wright, J. S. (2000) Tufa Accumulations in Ephemeral Stream Systems: observations from The Kimberley, North West Australia. Australian Geographer 31 333-347
  • Wright, J. S. (2000) The Spalling of overgrowths during experimental freeze-thaw of a quartz sandstone as a mechanism of quartz silt production. Micron 31 631-638

Research Degree Supervision

Malcolm Shead – currently completing PhD research on water stress and urban development: interconnectivity in a south Indian city, using Chennai as a case-study.

UK University

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Job Prospects

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Student Satisfaction

Complete University Guide 2022

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

for Course Content

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021