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A tribute to geographer Doreen Massey (1944-2016)

So much of CPRE’s work is grounded in landscape and sense of place, and last week England lost a great geographer, Doreen Massey. Based at the Open University, Professor Massey’s inspirational work shaped ideas around ‘space’ and ‘place’ that have been greatly influential in geography, not just in Britain, but across the globe.

She examined the English countryside in relation to the idea of ‘belonging’, drawing attention to the layers of history that shaped, and continue to shape, the landscape we see today.

In her work Landscape/Space/Politics: An Essay (2011), she wrote: ‘(…) at each point [of the landscape] we are in the midst of an ongoing story. This is not a journey across a surface envisaged as a smooth continuity. Landscape here is not allowed its smoothing effect, its subtle operation of reconciliation. The conventional continuity of landscape, and of the founding conception of space upon which it rests, is punctuated by a multiplicity of stories.’

Kim Hagen, senior energy campaigner at Campaign to Protect Rural England, comments:

‘I got to know Doreen as a down-to-earth person with an enormous personality and an immense dedication for her work. She could fill a room with her presence. Her work on landscape, especially Landscape/Space/Politics: An Essay, draws attention to elements fundamental to CPRE’s work: the English landscape reverberates with history and is a treasured source of knowledge. The stories it tells have not finished but will continue into the future.’

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