Dr Sara Louise Wheeler

Job Role
Lecturer in Psychology


I am originally from Wrecsam, with family connections to Rhosllannerchrugog. I attended Ysgol Bodhyfryd and Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, receiving my primary and secondary education through the medium of Welsh. My upbringing was bilingual and my ties to the local Welsh-speaking community are still strong; this year, I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my column ‘synfyfyrion llenyddol’ (literary musings) for Y Clawdd community newspaper. I am also a member of Cymdeithas Owain Cyfeiliog Wrecsam, and I enjoy attending events at Y Saith Seren.

I studied for my undergraduate degree at Liverpool John Moores University and then served the maximum two terms as Vice President of Equal Opportunities at Liverpool Students’ Union. Following this, I worked in academic research, before undertaking my postgraduate studies at the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, at the University of Liverpool. I then held a variety of research roles at the Universities of Liverpool and Chester, before beginning my career as a lecturer at Bangor University on a Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol scholarship, teaching social policy through the medium of Welsh. Having been a visiting research fellow at Wrexham Glyndŵr University since 2013, I began working here as a Lecturer in Psychology in December 2018.

I have Waardenburg syndrome type 1, hence the depigmentation of my eyes, hair and skin, my hearing loss and associated tinnitus. I am from a deafhearing family and I’m a member of Wrexham’s Singing Hands sign-singing group.

I live in a village on the Wirral peninsula with my husband and our pet tortoise, Kahless. My hobbies include: swimming, reading, writing, watching science fiction, poetry and creative writing, films, cooking, crochet, bird watching and all things associated with rural life.



HEA Fellowship

(Wrexham Glyndŵr University, currently working towards this award).


PhD Clinical Psychology (research)

(University of Liverpool, 2012)

Thesis title: ‘The impact of familiarity on doctor-patient interaction during primary care consultations pertaining to Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS)’.


BA (Hons) Sociology and History

(Liverpool John Moores University, 2001)

Dissertation title: ‘The drowning of the Tryweryn valley, to provide water for the city of Liverpool and the rise of nationalism in Wales’



My research interests include Onomastics (the study of names and naming) and I am a committee member for Cymdeithas Enwau Lleoedd Cymru (The Welsh Place Names Society). I have recently been selected to be an editorial board member for the international journal: Names- Journal of Onomastics, which is run by the American Names Society. I have also recently established a bilingual blog, where I publish essays exploring matters of onomastic interest, such as product branding, film names and the personal significance and meaning of names and naming practices; the blog is called Yr Onomastegydd (The Onomastician – a scholar who studies names and naming).

I have broad research interests in language, dialectology, identity, culture and community. I am currently writing up the data from a project funded by Public Health Wales, exploring the impact of cultural belonging on community health and resilience in a rural, North West Wales setting.

My other areas of interest include: deafness and deafhood, including signed languages and deaf culture; illness narratives – particularly experiences of depigmentation and genetic conditions; introspection and autoethnography; semiotics; aesthetics; literature and literary sociology; social theory; cultural studies, popular culture, television and film; and a broad range of innovative methodological inquiry. 

I currently have several projects which intersect these areas of interest and I am always interested in venturing into new, exciting, transdisciplinary research, which offer the opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge, for example, the use of technologies in addressing the challenges, and enhancing the educational experiences of, people with sensory loss (hearing and vision).

I have been a member of Bangor University’s Centre for Film, Television and Screen Studies since inception and I will be presenting at the forthcoming conference: 40 Years of Alien. I am interested in building links with this centre and in establishing similar ventures here at Wrexham Glyndŵr University.

I have been a member of the British Sociological Association since 2002 and have been involved in a variety of activities, including being an editorial board member of the magazine ‘Network’.



I teach on the BSc (Hons) Psychology (with foundation year).

I am currently module leader for the following level 3 (foundation year) modules:

PSY329 Negotiated Learning Group Research Project

PSY327 Introduction to Topics in Applied Psychology

LND304 Contemporary Issues

I have also given guest lectures for levels 4 and 5, and I am planning to run some additional masterclasses, relating to qualitative research methodologies, particularly in the area of conversation analysis and discursive psychology.



An indicative selection of recent publications:

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). “Enwau Prydeinig gwyn?” Problematizing the idea of “White British” names and naming practices from a Welsh perspective. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples14(3), 251–259.

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). White British Names? Welsh names are as “othered” as those of migrants in the UK context. Discover Society, (4th September).

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). Enwau Prydeinig Gwyn? Beth am enwau Cymraeg? Gwerddon Fach16 August.

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). Deafhearing family life in The Silent Child: an unsympathetic portrayal? BMJ Medical Humanities Blog, 9th August.

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). From Salad Cream to the Severn bridge, renaming is an emotive issue. The Conversation14th June.

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). Onomasteg. Yn Esboniadur y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (18fed Mai). 

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). The theme of genetic deafness and associated prejudice in The Silent Child? The Limping ChickenMay 3rd.

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). Autoethnographic onomastics: Transdisciplinary scholarship of personal names and ‘our-stories.’ Methodological InnovationsJan-April, 1–11.

Wheeler, S. (2018). Blwyddyn wych o ran ieithoedd arwyddion mewn ffilm/ A great year for signed languages in film. Parallel Cymru Cylchgrawn Dwyieithog Arlein/ Bilingual Online Magazine, 6ed Ebrill

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). A great year for signed languages in film - and what we can learn from it. The ConversationMarch(26).

Wheeler, S. L. (2018). Brwydr y tafodieithoedd. Y Stamp. (27ain Chwefror).

Wheeler, S. L. (2017). Pink hearing aids and purple shampoo: biographical implications of Waardenburg syndrome type-1. Auto/Biography Yearbook 2016: The Annual; Journal of the British Sociological Association Study Group on Auto/Biography.

Wheeler, S. L. (2016). Two Short “As” and a Rolling “R”: Autoethnographic Reflections on a “Difficult” Name. SAGE Open, 6(3), 1–11.

Wheeler, S. L., & Hopwood, A. G. (2015). Tinnitus: A Deafhearing Phenomenon. Qualitative Inquiry21(2), 173–174.

For more publications, please see my relevant profiles:


Google Scholar



ORCID ID: 000-0002-8854-5835