Lives Remembered: Michael Green

Michael Green, who collapsed and died suddenly at his home in Birmingham on 14 December, was an academic who helped to establish the discipline of cultural studies at the pioneering Birmingham Centre for Cultural Studies. His death shocked and deeply saddened the many who knew and respected him, both friends and colleagues, as well as his close family. He was in his mid-60s.

After graduating from Cambridge with a degree in English, Michael moved to the University of Birmingham in 1964, initially to work in the English department. In the same year, Richard Hoggart established the Centre at the University in order to carry out academic research on popular culture. Michael became one of the Centre's few members of staff, and worked closely, first with Hoggart and then with Stuart Hall, to help establish a new discipline that went against the established academic grain by taking pop music, television programmes and tabloid newspapers as objects worthy of serious academic study. Michael believed passionately in the subject right up to his untimely death. He did not publish widely, but supervised scores of MA and PhD theses, including those by people who would go on to be leaders in the field.

My own relationship with Michael, like many, was on both a personal and a professional level. My parents met at the Centre, and both had their MA theses supervised by Michael. My dad completed his in 1985, the year I was born. Like so many of his former students, Michael kept in touch with my parents, and soon he began to take an interest in my own academic work. We would hold informal supervision meetings drinking coffee and eating cake in various cafes around Birmingham.

Recently, Michael had begun to help myself and a colleague in my department plan a research project that looked back at the history of the working practices at the Centre. Michael's input was typically enthusiastic and incisive – he would provide generous comments on drafts and heartily rebuke either of us for not having read one key text or the other.

Michael remained intellectually active right up to his death. He had just finished writing an introduction to a biography of Richard Hoggart, and had plans for a website to map the social consequences of the present cuts in government funding. The last time I saw Michael was a week before his death, in the University library having lunch. He complained about how loud the students were, and passionately enthused about the brilliance of the academic text he was reading. That is how I will fondly remember him.

Michael is survived by his wife, Alison, their daughter Emily and Michael's stepdaughter Elly.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before