Marianna Dudley recently completed her doctorate at Bristol University, where she worked on the AHRC-funded "Militarized Landscapes in the Twentieth Century: Britain, France and the USA." Her doctoral thesis "Greening the MOD: An Environmental History of the UK Defence Estate, 1945-present" explored the seemingly paradoxical role of the military as conservationist, at five key training sites in Southwest England and Wales. The growth of military environmentalism as discourse and land management practice, the proliferation of rare species and habitats, the requisition of land and forced eviction of human populations, military/civilian partnerships and conflicts, and issues of access and recreation on military sites were all key themes, and continue to be of interest in her research.
During her time at the Center, Dudley reflected upon her unusual experiences of researching militarized landscapes (the Defence Estate was project partner on "Militarized Landscapes," giving exceptional access to archives and landscapes), and in particular the methodology of walking the historical landscape, which revealed so much of the military sites to her. Future research projects will take a theme which emerged from her work on military training areas, the difficult relationship between landscape protection and demands for access and recreation, to fresh ground: the highly protected, highly valued, and heavily used landscapes of national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, again focusing on Southwest England and Wales.