I am deeply saddened that my Lancaster University colleague, PhD supervisor and friend John Urry died on Friday 18 March.
I have known and admired John for many years, so when, in 2013, I began to think about a return to university life, I knew he’d be the right person to speak to. I was hesitant; he was characteristically enthusiastic. With his unstinting support, we got planning. The result was a collaborative research project which, like so much of John’s work, is a creative blend of theory and activism. In our many discussions since then, John wore his immense intellect and experience lightly. He was constantly curious and questioning, interested to know how the world looked from my perspective, and bubbling with suggestions, ideas and connections. He was never a pushover; he made me work hard and think hard, and was quick to challenge, which made our collaboration all the more rewarding. I’m so pleased to have benefited from his insight, support and friendship, and am more devastated than I can say to lose him. John’s last words to me, on email last week when he couldn’t make it in for our meeting, say it all: “ this bloody materiality”.