Lecturer in Environmental Humanities
Department of Historical Studies, University of Bristol
Marianna Dudley is an environmental historian at Bristol University. Her research interests include twentieth-century military environments, British landscape protection, and how access and recreation shape our relationship with nature.
As a person who finds it hard to sit still at a desk for too long, her research tends to take her to the places and landscapes she is investigating. Walking and a moving, experiential perspective have become important methodological concerns, and she has written two walks for the Royal Geographical Society’s ‘Discovering Britain’ series to encourage others to explore environmental history feet-first. Happily, recent projects have placed her on a military training area on a Welsh mountain, in national parks around southwest England and Wales, and roaming the Quantock Hills (Somerset) in search of orchards.
For the Power and Water project, she is exploring waterways and their interconnected bio-physical, energetic, commercial and cultural flows. Working across the three chosen project foci, the Rivers Severn and Tyne and the Derbyshire soughs, she will examine how notions of the 'environmental' and 'natural' categorize spaces and demarcate what is worthy of protection, privileging certain ideas of what is valued in nature and how ecological and socio-cultural connections work. Her particular interest is how people have found fun in these watery places, to make them landscapes of recreation alongside, and sometimes in spite of, their other uses.
Recently Marianna was involved as a researcher on a tri-part collaboration between Bristol University’s Department of Historical Studies and the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Service (funded by AHRC Connected Communities) mapping ancient orchard in the area. More info on the project entitled Fallen Fruits: Mapping Orchard Decline in the Quantock Hills, can be found here.