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Doreen Massey - our friend and colleague

Doreen Massey - our friend and colleague

Professor Doreen Massey was one of the most influential thinkers on the left. Her work on space, place and power has been recognised all over the world – including in the UK with an offer of an OBE, which she declined. She grew up on the Wythenshawe council estate in Manchester following World War II, and later went to the University of Oxford. She served as Emeritus Professor of Geography at the Open University until 2009.

We knew Doreen because she kindly agreed to become a member of our National Advisory Panel. With Doreen it was easy to forget we were in the presence of greatness, thanks to her warmth, her laughter and her generous spirit.  She made an effort to listen to people, to recognise the hard work of others, and never to assume that all of her achievements meant that she knew better (although she usually did).

Doreen was supportive of the work Class is doing, but she was also supportive of us – its staff of young women. She was very encouraging, and we all admired her immensely. In Doreen, we felt we had an ally. Her feminism was not just theory; it was something she did, and something she passed on. We will always be grateful for what she gave us.

Doreen Massey leaves an incredible legacy, and we will miss her.

This piece was also authored by Rachel Yates, who no longer works for Class.

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