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Strong Salford Representation at Practitioner Conference in Oxford

Mar 09, 2017

Dr Brian Hall, Prof Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum at Pembroke College
Dr Brian Hall, Prof Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum at Pembroke College

Three Salford academics delivered papers at a one-day conference this week held at Pembroke College, Oxford. The conference on ‘Military Doctrine: Past, Present and Future’ saw historians and armed forces practitioners meet to discuss the way in which military doctrine has been formulated and disseminated in the past, with a discussion on how past and current experience can inform future practice. The conference was hosted by the Oxford Changing Character of War (CCW) Programme. Three Salford academics – Dr Brian Hall, Professor Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum delivered papers, together with two other academics and several practitioners.

‘The idea for the conference emerged after a discussion I had with Dr Robert Johnson, Director of the CCW Programme, while I was a Visiting Fellow at Pembroke last semester’, explained Alaric Searle, Professor of Modern European History in the School of Arts and Media. ‘The basic idea was that if we considered how military organisations had developed their doctrines from a historical perspective there might be lessons which contemporary military organisations could draw to inform future practice. If we invited those who had written recent doctrine, that would create a discussion between practitioners and historians.‘

The highly successful conference, with strong Salford representation, had an additional Salford dimension to it. The event was concluded with the official launch event of Prof Searle’s book, published last month by Bloomsbury, entitled Armoured Warfare: A Military, Political and Global History. He was interview by Dr Robert Johnson who discussed with him the motivation for writing the book and his views on likely future developments in the field of armoured warfare. Said Alaric: ‘It is always slightly intimidating, as a civilian, being interviewed about such a specialist military subject when several retired generals are sitting in the audience. But I think my research has been so thorough that my views stand on very sound foundations.’

He added: ‘It is always very stimulating at conferences such as these to be able to engage in debate with practitioners. This time, it was even more pleasurable to have such a strong Salford input to the event. It was a great opportunity to showcase our expertise. The book launch was followed by a wine reception at Pembroke at which conference attendees could purchase a copy of the book and network.