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Department of Geography



Bronte Evans Rayward

PhD student

Place-Making on Bird Island: An Environmental History



  • 2015-2019: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – School of History, Australian National University
  • 2015-2019: Bachelor of Visual Arts – School of Art and Design, Australian National University
  • 2020-2021: MPhil in Polar Studies – Department of Geography, University of Cambridge


  • Debenham Scholarship
  • Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP Studentship


My doctoral research examines the environmental history of Bird Island, South Georgia, with a particular focus on sea bird monitoring. I aim to understand how relationships between the entities on the Island have developed over time. I investigate how these relationships allow for knowledge production and transfer that contributes to narratives of the place. To do this, I use a combination of archival research and ethnographic methods. My approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on the history of science, environmental history, geography and anthropology, animal geographies, political ecology, and island studies. I ask:

  1. What types of knowledge are and have been collected by scientists studying sea birds on Bird Island?
  2. What relations exist between human and more-than-human entities on Bird Island and how have these developed?

I aim to assess how narratives of place on Bird Island influence contemporary conservation and environmental management strategies in the region.