Paul Hendrich

I can’t reconcile this at all – impossible and horrible that we (all crushed) have lost another great comrade. I can’t see how he had the time, but Paul was often a commentator on this blog. But importantly – among so very very much else that’s nearly impossible to list – Paul was key to organising so many events, actions, interventions. Small examples I saw – he was an instrumental voice in preparing the Migrating University/No Borders conference at Goldsmiths in September last year. The year before he was involved with the declaration of the traffic island in New cross as a site of buried treasure, pirate picnics and other free events on behalf of the Town Hall Pirates group he’d started. He helped open the “Failing Better” conference at Goldsmiths with his talk on the town hall slaver statues in 2006… and… annnd… more and more (see below)… I remember him best as the energy behind the Battle of Lewisham 77 walk and subsequent conference – seeing him at the organising meetings for these events with his usual unstoppable enthusiasm. Of course it took a lorry to stop him… That he can just be dead is incomprehensible, terrible, wrong.

The picture accompanying this post shows Paul in key position, immediately beside the megaphone at an activist event he orchestrated. This is the Battle of Lewisham walk, just outside the New Cross Inn. A sunny day in September.

Sophie Day – head of Anthropology Department, said to repost her letter below. I do so with a heavy heavy heart… and growing anger at the very personal way life is conspiring to take the best away from us. Thoughts to his wife Sasha and tiny daughter Agatha.

Dear All,

This is the letter I have sent to other Heads of Department for circulation to colleagues and students.

I am writing to tell you the very sad news of Paul Hendrich’s death. He was killed in a bicycle accident yesterday (Wednesday 16th January).

Many of you knew Paul and his death is a deep loss to us all. Paul was a very special person with some extremely rare qualities. His life was committed to engaging an everyday struggle against racism. His dissertation for the MA Applied Anthropology and Community and Youth Work, ‘Charting a new course for Deptford Town Hall’ (2006), developed through a campaign he initiated with the student union and led to further work commemorating the bicentenary of the abolition of the British transatlantic slave trade, including the Sankofa Reconciliation Walk in chains to Deptford Town Hall that he organised. He then hosted a conference at Goldsmiths to commemorate the Battle of Lewisham. Just before he died, he began a refugee health drop-in service in South London. Paul held a passionate belief that anthropology could and should be used for, and rethought through, the struggle against racism and it is this that guided his engagement with academia and his commitment to youth work. He deeply touched the lives of the staff and students at Goldsmiths as well as community activists by his commitment to this cause through campaigns, talks and conferences that he organised and participated in.

Paul completed his Masters with a distinction, a fact that he was quietly proud of, especially since he was the first person in his family to go to university. His brilliant dissertation will be published in the April issue of Anthropology Matters with an editorial from Alpa Shah. Goldsmiths Anthropology was particularly fortunate that Paul decided to pursue a PhD with us. At the time of his death, he was preparing to sail to Arizona, USA to research the various forms of activism that have taken shape around undocumented cross-border migration of Mexicans into the US.

Paul’s enthusiasm, generosity, kindness and inclusiveness drew everyone he met into the broader issues that he was thinking about and working on and those who were fortunate to know him could appreciate what a great youth worker he was and what a great field researcher he would have been. Paul’s research would have continued to make us rethink the theoretical and practical issues of engaging anthropology as praxis, and his death will be deeply mourned throughout Goldsmiths.

Paul was 36 years old; he was married to Sasha and had a one-year old daughter, Agatha. Sasha returned to work from maternity leave last week.

We shall write to Sasha shortly and are happy to forward letters you would like to send independently. Please mark envelopes for Sasha and leave at the Anthropology Office. We are organising a collection to which you are all invited to contribute via Sam Kelly (s.m.kelly@gold.ac.uk), which we shall forward to Sasha on Monday 28th January.

I shall write again as soon as we have news about the funeral arrangements.

I am sure you all join us in extending deep sympathy to Paul’s family,

Sophie Day on behalf of the Anthropology Department

Paul/visit of Pirates to New Cross Island

Paul/Migrating University (including translations which Paul helped collect).

Paul/Town Hall Trauma of History, See the forthcoming April issue of Anthropology Matters for Paul’s writing on this.

UPDATE:

memorial -
saturday 9th February 10.30 start in Great Hall Goldsmiths

and reception 3-6pm at Lansdowne Youth Centre

.

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Comments

  • agripiniux  On 18/01/2008 at 4:45 pm

    This is just so shocking! Paul was an indispensable part of this place, I just don’t know what we’ll do without him!

    Like

  • Caroline  On 19/01/2008 at 12:44 am

    I still can’t believe this. Please let us know details about the funeral if you find them out.

    Like

  • jvhn  On 19/01/2008 at 1:33 am

    I will of course post funeral details if I can, but in the meantime read this tribute from another close comrade – does it better than I have (here ).

    john

    Like

  • Ben Gidley  On 21/01/2008 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you for posting this John. I’m still in shock at this terrible news.

    Like

  • Mary Claire Halvorson  On 21/01/2008 at 3:47 pm

    Remembering Paul Hendrich

    Paul was ACE
    A ctive
    C ommitted
    E bullient

    He lavished care, attention, empathy

    Active
    Committed
    Ebullient

    So thoughtful, so giving,
    supportive
    fun!

    In the noise of tomorrow and the tomorrow after that,
    let us honour his memory by listening as he did

    Let us be inspired!
    Let us listen with our hearts and our heads as he did.

    Paul –
    So Active
    So Committed
    So Ebullient

    So Missed.

    by Mary Claire Halvorson

    Like

  • Maria Technosux  On 24/01/2008 at 3:36 pm


    “He was killed in a bicycle accident yesterday”

    I didn’t know this person, but it causes me anger too to see that yet another of your colleagues died riding a bike. Condolences.

    Like

  • Jane  On 25/01/2008 at 12:24 am

    I went to school with Paul and was so saddened to hear this news today. He was a great guy back then and it sounds like he was a great guy until his death. My heart breaks for his Wife and baby Daughter. So sad.

    Like

  • Renegade Eye  On 26/01/2008 at 3:55 am

    RIP

    Like

  • kek-w  On 05/02/2008 at 7:54 pm

    Paul was a top bloke…

    Like

  • sonic  On 09/09/2008 at 2:16 pm

    ‘Charting a new course for Deptford Town Hall’ is in here:

    http://www.anthropologymatters.com/journal/2008-1/index.html

    Like

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