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Higher Education Research Centre
Lalage Bown

Death of outstanding adult educator, Professor Lalage Bown

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Professor Bown, a lifetime devoted to inclusive, decolonised education- she spent much of her career in Africa, where she was honoured with the title 'Mother of adult education in Africa'.

Ever an intrepid traveller, aged 92 Lalage unhesitatingly took the lengthy train and ferry journey from Shrewsbury to Dublin to speak at the HERC seminar 'Living longer - working longer? Ageing population and new workforce dynamics in Ireland' launching February 4, 2020. She was one of the world’s most well-known adult educators for over 70 years. Aged 20 she contributed to the Allies humanitarian and re-education programme in Germany, and aged 22 she began her lifelong commitment to literacy education and adult education in Africa at the then University College of the Gold Coast. Interviewed by UNESCO in 2009, she said “I was left with the huge conviction that even the simplest acquisition of literacy can have a profoundly empowering effect personally, socially and politically". She has chaired both the British Association for Comparative and International Education and the Development Studies Association.

Lalage was appointed the Director and Professor of Adult Education at the University of Glasgow 1981. On her retiral she was typically unstinting in her support for Professor Maria Slowey, who was appointed as her successor in 1992- typically, she was unstinting in her support for this handover, and delighted that one woman professor was succeeded by another at a time when only c6% of the professoriate were women. She is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, remaining academically active right up to her death.