Malcolm Barry, 1950-2012

August 23, 2012

A leading champion of continuing education has died.

Malcolm Barry was born on 22 April 1950 and educated at Greenford County Grammar School in London, where he became school captain.

A double bassist, he began a lifetime's link with Goldsmiths College when he studied for a music degree there from 1969 to 1972. After a brief interlude at King's College London for a master's in musical analysis (1972-73), he returned to Goldsmiths as a part-time lecturer in music before taking up the new post of director of music in the department of adult studies.

This large department was even more central to Goldsmiths' mission under the wardenship of Richard Hoggart than it is today and, as a lifelong supporter of continuing education, Mr Barry became its head in 1975.

He played a similar role as deputy dean and then dean of what became the School of Adult and Community Studies in the lead-up to Goldsmiths becoming a full school of the University of London in 1988.

He was also responsible for a 1985 research project on the training and educational needs of Vietnamese women in the London Borough of Lewisham.

Once incorporated into the University of London, Goldsmiths was reorganised into three faculties - arts, education, and social and mathematical sciences - and Mr Barry acquired new job titles (and a senior management role) as director of continuing and community education. His final position there, from 1998, was as the first head of the merged department of professional and community education.

Alan Downie, professor of English at Goldsmiths, remembered Mr Barry as "an ardent admirer of the music of both Shostakovich - about whom he wrote in scholarly journals - and Bruce Springsteen". He said Mr Barry's "mischievous sense of humour will be sorely missed".

For three decades, added Professor Downie, Mr Barry "championed continuing education at Goldsmiths. His job title changed on numerous occasions, but his belief in lifelong non-standard education never wavered.

"As he was on the premises both during the day and in the evenings, he was probably the best-known face around the college, and certainly the college's best-known representative in the local community."

After leaving Goldsmiths in 2001, Mr Barry worked at London Metropolitan University's College of London until 2005, focusing on foundation degrees and further education work.

He finished his career as director of the Learning from Experience Trust, which he combined with work in the voluntary sector on the South Coast.

Mr Barry died of cancer on 21 July and is survived by his wife Debbie.

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