UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Mhari Gordon

mhari Gordon
Supervisor: Dr Punam Yadav and Professor Ilan Kelman
Funding: Self-funded
Email: mhari.gordon.21@ucl.ac.uk

Displaced People’s Local and Indigenous Knowledge of the Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

The role of local and indigenous knowledge has received increased attention in disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change and humanitarian discourses. There is a consensus within the literature that local knowledge and practices are more successful as they have community ownership and are contextually appropriate. However, there is little research on how displaced people fit into this discourse. A critical analysis raises several questions: How do displaced people acquire local knowledge of the environment and natural hazards? Does temporality, such as the frequency of hazard exposure or time since displacement, play a factor in developing local knowledge? How can their experiences, perception and mitigation of risk help inform current DRR policies and strategies?

Public engagement 

  • IRDR 12th Annual Conference, June 2022. View poster presentation here.
  • 3-Minute Thesis Presentation, UK Shelter Forum, May 2022, co-hosted by the IRDR and Norwegian Refugee Council. Watch video:

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/KaLbn-qwwN4?t=1988



  • MSc in Risk, Distinction, University of Durham, 2018–2019
  • BA in Geography, Upper Second-Class Honours, University of Exeter, 2015–2018

Achievements and awards

  • November 2021: Guest lecturer on Qualitative Research and the NVivo Software for MSc students at UCL IRDR. 
  • January 2019: Guest speaker at Durham ARCTIC Event to present desktop-research on the Finnish Arctic Corridor High-Speed Railway and its potential cultural and environmental ramifications.
  • June 2018: “Exceptional Dissertation Award” presented by the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter 

Teaching experience (Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, 2021–2022)

  • IRDR0018: Global History of Humanitarianism
  • IRDR0021: Social and Geospatial Data Analysis
  • IRDR0020: Climate and Natural Hazard Risks
  • IRDR0041: Humanitarian Qualitative Research Methods
  • Supervisor for MSc research dissertation


  • December 2021 – Ongoing: PhD Student Representative at UCL IRDR
  • February – June 2022: UCL IRDR ChangeMakers project