Open Eye: Professor wins `geography Nobel'

An Open University academic, Professor Doreen Massey, is to receive the prestigious Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize - the geographers' equivalent of a Nobel Prize.

Professor Massey, the first female geographer to receive the honour, was praised by the prize jury for her role in the revival of geography since the early 1970s through research, publications and radio and TV broadcasts.

President of the Jury Professor Antoine Bailly said she was responsible for the evolution of a radical geography that highlighted the significance of the geographical organisation of society and presented new ways of considering regional and urban inequalities.

"Doreen Massey's educational role is recognised throughout the entire world and her work is translated into several languages, illustrating a prestige which goes beyond the geographical field," said Professor Bailly.

The Vautrin Lud Prize has been presented annually at the International Geography Festival in Saint-Die-des-Vosges, France, since 1991. It is awarded by a college of geographers as the ultimate recognition of achievements throughout the winner's career.

Professor Massey described winning the Vautrin Lud Prize as "an honour and a real pleasure".

"British geographers are at the forefront of research in a field which is increasingly recognised as being of great significance, both intellectually and politically," she said.

Professor Massey was born in Manchester in 1944 and was educated at Manchester High School for Girls, from where she won a scholarship to St Hugh's College, Oxford. She achieved a first class honours degree in Geography and later completed an MA in Regional Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Massey has been Professor of Geography at the Open University since 1982. She has authored or edited 18 books, more than 50 chapters in collective works and about 100 journal articles, and has made many contributions to radio and television programmes.

Before joining the Open University she spent 12 years at the Centre for Environmental Studies - a Government research institute abolished when Margaret Thatcher came to power. The Centre's brief was to investigate problems of regional inequality, inner city decline and general planning politics.

Throughout her time at the OU and the CES, Professor Massey's research has challenged conventional views of geography. In one of her early books, she argued for a radically new way of considering industrial geography and the urban and regional inequalities that are produced through it.

It was an analysis which urged the moving away from the simplistic `blaming' and `congratulating' of cities and regions for their economic problems and successes and to examine instead the processes of capital restructuring which lay behind such geographical inequalities.

More generally, she has argued strongly that we need to think more profoundly about the spatial organisation of society.

"Some of the greatest issues of our day involve questions which are essentially geographical," Professor Massey said.

"How are we to grasp the new geographies produced by globalisation? How are we to think about the identity of place in a globalised world? How can we retain an appreciation of local specificity at the same time as remaining resolutely internationalist?" she asks.

She has been a strong advocate for more rigorous analysis of the new global power geometries and a trenchant critic of today's form of neo- liberal globalisation and the huge inequalities it is producing.

Professor Massey is also a former winner of the Royal Geographical Society's Victoria Medal. Director of the Royal Geographic Society (with The Institute of British Geographers), Dr Rita Gardner congratulated the Open University academic on her latest honour and paid tribute to her work.

"The Society is delighted that Professor Massey's innovative contributions to social and economic geography have been recognised internationally by the award of this prestigious prize," said Dr Gardner.

"She is one of Britain's leading geographers."

Professor Massey will receive her award at the International Geography Festival on October 3.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 1 Primary teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: An excellent primary school based ...

AER Teachers: Cover Supervisor - Central London - September

£70 - £80 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: This outstanding school s...

AER Teachers: SEN Teaching Assistant - London - September

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: This central London prima...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary Teaching Assistant

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: A good primary school in ...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms