Dr Robert French: in memoriam…

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Br Professor Peter Case.

It’s with great sadness that we announce that our long-time colleague, Dr Robert French, passed away peacefully on Friday 5th January. A dedicated scholar and teacher, Robert joined UWE (then Bristol Polytechnic) more than thirty years ago, having spent the early part of his career in secondary school education. Robert was a remarkable man and someone whom we all valued greatly as a colleague.

A handsome and physically impressive figure, I shall always remember the intellectual acuity and creativity he brought to the many academic collaborations we engaged in together. He was ever a font of intellectual insight and wisdom, as well as someone whose great learning was admired and respected by all who knew him. He and I shared a great passion and interest in matters philosophical, publishing several articles and book chapters in collaboration with Dr Peter Simpson on the themes of workplace spirituality and leadership philosophy. We also wrote on the topic of ‘friend and betrayal’ jointly with professor Jonathan Gosling of Exeter University.

I’m sure that Robert’s deep Christian faith would have been a source of confidence and assurance as he faced the challenges that his illness presented him with, particularly in the latter stages. I shall miss our regular conversations – often in the company of Peter Simpson – very much indeed. I shall also miss his joie de vivre and wry wit; the broad smile that he greeted one with was invariably the source of joy and uplift.

There was often a mischievous aspect to his humour. I remember well the way he once drew me in with the following joke: ‘Peter’, he said, ‘you know, of course, that Proudhon and his anarchist compatriots only ever drank herbal tea’. Believing him to be relating an established historical fact, in my naivety I replied ‘No, why on earth was that?’. ‘Because proper-tea [property] is theft!’, came the swift retort.

It was an honour and privilege to have known Robert and spend time in his generous presence. I and all my colleagues in the Organization Studies department at UWE shall miss him greatly.



Please follow the links below to view some of Robert’s work:





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