remembering Doreen

Geography has been in mourning the last couple of days as news broke that Doreen Massey, truly one of the greats of the discipline, passed away on Friday.

My chance to meet Doreen sadly never came, by like so many sharing tributes and memories over the last few days, I have been profoundly inspired by her ideas, work and activism. She is one of only a handful of people in the last few decades to have truly broken out of sub-disciplinary silos, and indeed the discipline itself, to inspire, challenge and rethink the ways we go about our work.

Her impact, academically and in the real world, is hard to under-estimate. At least two generations of geographers owe a huge debt of gratitude to Doreen and it is through this sense that many, myself included, are experiencing a deep sadness about her passing.

I am sharing a post by someone who knew Doreen well – Gillian Rose, a colleague at the OU – who gives a much better sense of the person Doreen was and the true scope of what we’ve lost.

The many emails, blog posts and tweets I’ve read in tribute to Doreen over the last couple of days re-affirms one thing. The importance of her work is immense. It continues to be drawn upon, read and taught by a huge range of geographers (and beyond). Whilst she may be gone, Doreen will continue to have a marked impact on Geography. Her work has changed Geography indefinitely and for that – thank you Doreen.


I’m writing this short post after reading an email from OU colleague Steve Pile confirming that Doreen Massey did indeed pass away on the afternoon of Friday 11 March 2016. I saw earlier tweets to the same effect and tweeted myself, and now it’s for sure.

Doreen has accompanied all of my academic life.  I read her book Spatial Divisions of Labour as an undergraduate (still an outstandingly important text, in my view).  She examined my PhD thesis (and told me I needed to write a methods section at the end of it….).  I met her on and off as I worked on feminist and cultural geographies in London and Edinburgh after my PhD.  I joined The Open University in 1999 and in the following years I worked with her on an OU geography module on globalisation and on a small research project on public art in Milton Keynes.  And…

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