Dr Bride grew up in Hemel Hempstead, on the edge of the countryside, moving to London to study Zoology at Queen Mary College. Some years later, after first qualifying and working as a carpenter, he returned to Higher Education to undertake an MSc in Energy Studies at Sussex University and then joined an Environment and Development Education project at its School of Education.
Subsequently, he came to Kent, where he worked on several research and education projects, taught across the School’s formal undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum, and completed a PhD in Biodiversity Management.
His major research activities have been in the context of Darwin Initiative projects in Mexico, which was focussed on the community-based conservation of the Mexican Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) in Xochimilco (2002-2007), and in India, directed at reviving socio-ecological landscapes for biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation in the Western Ghats (2009-2016).
Over the past twenty years, he also pursued his interest in woodlands and related traditional skills; completing an OCN certificate in Woodland Management, a course in roundwood timber building, and running a range of training courses in woodland skills and making at a site he established in the University’s woodland (including: Tree ID, Coppicing, Small tree felling, Brash fencing, Witches Brooms, Willow-weaving, Hazel hurdles, Betel-mania; Xmas Wreathes, and Spoon-carving). Most recently, he has pursued his creative interests, and was an Associate Artist with Open School East, Margate (2018).
Dr Bride’s varied academic background, which includes the natural and social sciences, as well as arts and crafts, reflects an interest in understanding the relationship between humans and their environment from a range of perspectives and epistemological positions, including a view of education and conservation practice as fundamentally capacity building processes. In short, his areas of research include: experiential learning, conservation education and communication, and the development of interdisciplinary and sustainable solutions to conservation problems. He believes that the integration of knowledge and understandings from different fields offers new insights and new ways of working for biodiversity conservation, and should provide the central focus of conservation research and action.
So, he is interested in research that cuts across such topics as:
Dr Bride won a competitive place as an Associate Artist at Open School East, Margate for 2018, where professional artist workshops and mentoring sessions, together with his residencies and shows, opened Ian to manifold influences and a host of different creative perspectives. They pushed him to step beyond his ‘normal’ practice of a more didactic, environmentally-focused narrative, and explore much more personal, though perhaps nevertheless in some way also universal, concepts and processes.
Dr Bride is always engaged with a number of projects and activities, mainly focused on the University campuses, which seek to integrate outside spaces within both the formal and informal learning and teaching curricula: for instance, habitat maintenance and management (with the student Conservation Society), the development of a woodland crafts site (‘Billhook Nook’), where Ian teaches about the relationship between woodland management, ecology and the characteristics of different timbers, plus a number of different practical and traditional craft skills; the restoration of the University's Nature Trail; the Stour Valley Creative Partnership; and studies of, and changes to, the use of social spaces (Canterbury and Medway).
For his informal and formal learning and teaching activities, Ian was awarded the University’s Barbara Morris teaching prize in 2010 and a Social Science Faculty teaching prize in 2016.
Selected external activities and advisory positions
|2018||Re-development of the Ethnobotanical Garden, Marlowe Building|
|2017 - 18||The Green Room: a roundwood timber-framed classroom/social space, Marlowe Building|
|2015 -||Member, Stour Valley Creative Partnership|
|2013 - 15||Trustee, Stour Valley Arts|
|2011 - 12||Creative Producer, Iron Gym project at Medway (£24K Arts Council England)|
|2005 - 10||Member, Canterbury Environment Group|
|2004 -||Member, University of Kent Student Conservation Society|
|2001 - 18||Trustee, Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtle (MEDASSET) UK|
|1998 - 2006||Member, Management Committee, Canterbury Environmental Education Centre|
|1998 - 2003||Member, Kent Biodiversity Action Plan, Urban Action Group|