Obituary: Professor Phil O’Keefe, born December 1948; died 21 September 2020.
Phil joined Newcastle polytechnic in 1984 and soon became the Department of Geography’s first ever titled professor in Economic Development and Environmental Management. Born in North Shields in 1948, with family roots back to the Irish miners who came to Tyneside. Phil was schooled at Ushaw College, an austere Catholic seminary, worked as a labourer on the Kielder Dam, and studied at Durham. Phil’s family and experiences gave him vivid understanding of the north-east’s sense of solidarity, community and life’s pleasures. He returned to his beloved North East to start his family after establishing his reputation as a leading young radical geographer at Clarke University in the US between 1976 and 1980, a conscious choice inspired by the Polytechnic’s ethos. Whilst in the US, Phil co-edited the radical geography journal Antipode for two years and began interacting with other US based radical geographers, such as Dick Peet and Neil Smith.
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