"He was a great mentor to me and to many, many others. His intellect, generosity and warmth have shaped many careers at the LSE and across Social Psychology internationally. I know this loss will be keenly felt and I hope that we can all find ways to keep his influence on Social Psychology and related social debates alive." Caroline Howarth, UK
"With great sorrow I mourn the death of Rob Farr, a beloved teacher, colleague and friend, a kind, generous, gentle man, who worked and taught in the great tradition of listening, giving and helping out. His long illness and death have deprived our field of a lucid and inspiring voice but his inspiration and influence on us will continue. " Sandra Jovchelovitch, UK
"Professor Rob Farr was a larger-than-life presence in so many of our lives over many years. He combined a razor sharp mind and a quiet and humble demeanour in a way that commanded the respect and affection of generations of students and colleagues. I feel privileged and enriched to have been associated with him, he will be sorely missed." Cathy Campbell, UK
"What a sad news. I share with Caroline's impression of Rob's intellect, generosity and warmth that made him one of the most pleasant conversation partners on all things social psychology. I miss him." Wolfgang Wagner, Austria
"This is a loss which is irreplaceable. To Rob, my supervisor who gently tutored me and introduced me into the world of academics I will remain eternally grateful. When I faltered he was always there as a rock solid support. Feel deprived." Ragini Sen, India
"What a very sad news. Professor Rob Farr introduced me to the theory of social representations some 15 years ago. His respect and enthusiasm for this theory in particular, and for social psychology in general, played an important part in my decision to then undertake a PhD in social psychology. I did not know him personally that well but he came across as a real gentleman, a gentle man, and a man of great intellect." Claudine Provencher, UK
"Professor Farr was warm and kind. He always had time to listen to people. I will treasure what he taught me. I still remember his smile when I told him back in 1990, that in Malta, people think that psychologists are priests." Mary Anne Lauri, Malta
"With great sadness I am mourning the loss of a great social psychologist and formidable historian of our discipline. He taught us all to understand the development of the field as contextualized within the human evolution. I will miss him dearly." Gina Philogene, US
"'A long past and short history' has been a part of my way of seeing the world from the first moment I heard him say it!" Barry Rogers, UK
"It was with great sadness that I read the news of the passing of Rob Farr. I have not had contact with Rob for many years but recall his warmth and kindness when I was a much younger researcher. He has contributed so much to developing a truly societal psychology and his work will live on to inspire us for many years to come." Michael Murray, UK
"I met Rob Farr when I did the MSc in social psychology at the LSE some 20 years ago. His teachings were extraordinarily interesting, often mixing details about the personal trajectory of influential authors with the presentation of their theoretical ideas, as to underline their intrinsic context-dependence. It was a great loss when he had to retire from our community, and now a deep sadness." Laurent Licata, Belgium
"I am so sorry and shocked to learn that Rob has passed away. It is twenty five years ago that Rob presented me with a set of problems that I live with and address every day. " Alan Porter - UK
"I never had the good fortune to meet Rob Farr but his work inspired me in so many ways that I always felt I knew him. It is with great sadness that I hear of his passing but will ensure that his work lives on in this part of the world." Gail Moloney - Australia
"Dear colleagues in social psychology, I was sad to read of this news today. I have many good memories of Rob, from when I did my PhD and set up a social representations reading group, and from my many years working in the department with him at LSE. He made sociological social psychology intellectually vibrant and also practically viable for young researchers at a time when psychology was becoming more individualistic, which was hugely important. He was also a lovely man, with a warm smile, a twinkle in his eye, and a heartening belief in the value of what we are trying to do in social psychology.' Sonia Livingstone - UK
"Professor Farr inspired so many of us from close and from far. I join you in mourning with great sadness the loss of such a great scientist, professor and man. May his memory in our hearts, his powerful work and his legendary warmth keep his name alive." Andreea Ernst-Vintila - France
"I was talking about Rob the very morning the news of his passing came. Rob was, and will remain, alive in my life. In a very real way, Profession Rob Farr changed my life: I left Montreal to come to the LSE to study under him, after reading one of his articles. I remained in England ever since. I changed discipline - from Sociology to Social Psychology. Rob was on the committee that hired me for the post of Lecturer at the LSE. He believed in me and helped launch my career. I learned from him a new, more powerful, way of thinking about people. Rob was fond of quoting R.K. Merton in saying that “there is nothing more practical than a good theory”. I kept that in mind when co-founding a research company that would apply social psychological theories to a wide range of social policy issues.
I reproduce here the first paragraph of the introduction to my PhD thesis, which Rob supervised. The story it recounts, I believe, captures the essence of the man."
Marie-Claude Gervais, UK
"I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Professor Rob Farr. His great scholarship enlightened me; his profound sense of justice and his commitment to the intellectual and political project of a truly social psychology were important sources of inspiration and motivation; his indefatigable kindness, patience and encouragement ensured that this thesis would eventually see the light of day; his minutiae in reading draft versions of chapters proved invaluable. Professor Farr’s support went far beyond what any doctoral student is entitled to expect. When I departed for Shetland [on a fieldwork trip], he was with me at Victoria Station, at midnight, on a cold Friday night in January, to give last minute advice and to hand on to me notes scribbled on a small piece of paper. These precious moments of genuine and rare humanity, when I needed them, are forever engraved in my memory. Thank you."
"I remember Rob with fondness. He was an inspiring teacher on the B.Sc. in Social Psychology in the early 1990s and a formidable, but thoughtful, PhD examiner of my thesis in 1993. His passion for Social Psychology was infectious and his teaching of social representations was one of the things that motivated me to become a social psychologist. Despite his intellectual prowess, he remained a true Gentleman, something I find rare amongst academics these days." Marco Cinnirella
"Rob was my supervisor for my PhD back in the mid 1970s, when he was still at UCL. He was the kindest, most enthusiastic and funniest teacher, someone who really inspired a deep interest in social psychology. He was a wonderful mentor, so generous with his time and support. I feel very privileged to have known him." Sara Berman - UK
"They say that every child has a favourite teacher. Mine was Rob." Hamid Rehman - UK
"Rob Farr will be sadly missed. I can hear the sound of his warm Irish voice warning of pseudo-histories and 'narcissistic pseudo-innovations' and delighting in the possibilities of Wundt's vision, Mead's lectures and Heider's experimental creativity. Rob's quietly passionate lectures and essays instilled in his audiences a guardianship towards the future of Social Psychology and the writing of its history. His incisive and engaged approach is the one I follow today." Kesi Mahendran - UK
"I met Professor Farr back in the 1960s and on a few occasions since, at conferences. I absolutely echo all the other fond reflections I have read - a warm and kind and open man - virtues which one may recognise in themselves or, perhaps when occasion prompts, in contrast to what one experiences from some others....I perceive myself as a footsoldier in the great slog, but would be raised a few inches for a short while from this level at an occasional encounter by instant recognition and treatment as an equal by Rob. A mensch as they say ..." Mallory Wober
"I have warm memories of gratitude to Professor Farr and I am genuinely sad to hearthat he is no longer with us. To me as a former postgraduate who was hoping to return to study, he was extremely courteous and took full time to explain possible problems, to point me in the rightdirection, and check that I had arrived there. I also treasurewith affection, his look of utter horror and disbelief, when Icommented that what was important in a particular situation was what had not been said. Probably he considered that to be notgood social psychological data at that particular time!" Erica Brostoff
"I was sad to hear that Rob Farr has passed away. I have such warm and good memories of him since my time in LSE. I remember him as a kind and generous man who always had time for his students and can still recall his voice with it's hint of Irish lilt talking about social psychology's long past and short history. His lectures truly changed the way I thought about social psychology and had a defining impact on my academic career. I would like to convey my deepest condolences to Rob Farr'sfamily and LSE staff." Annadís G. Rúdólfsdóttir - Iceland
"In life you meet people that play a crucial role in your decisions, way of thinking, way of confronting issues and eventually learning to appreciate yourself. Rob Farr was one of them, making his mark in those years of my mind development. He has left but his mark remains." Angela Stathopoulou - Greece
"Rob Farr taught me that it is an achievement to have 'a good idea'; and that contrary to common sense, rare are those who have a good idea in a lifetime. His theoretical construction bridging collective and social representations was one of those ideas. It is with great sorrow that I learn the news of his death. He was an inspiring lecturer as well as an influential and scholarly supervisor." Ingrid Le Duc - Switzerland
"Rob was my first Head of Department, and I remember him with great fondness. He was kind and supportive, with strong academic values and a real passion for his subject. He was and remains a source of inspiration." Nick Braisby - UK
"Returning from a long stay in Brasil, I have just discovered the sad news of R. Farr death. I join my sorrow to the pains expressed until now. Since 1981, and from a long acquaintance with R. Farr in the different occasions of his visits and supports to our Parisian laboratories and their endeavours, I keep the remembrance of a strong scientific visionist together with a mild, open mind, and a gentle person, attentive to the others. We have been deprived of his effective presence, keeping in the found of our hearts the hope to meet once again with him, and benefit of his advises and leading lights in social psychology. This loose link is now cut, but we will remain in contact with the spirit of his historical contribution and the memory of his benignant glaze." Denise Jodelet - France
"I was intellectually transformed by Rob's inspirational teaching during my Masters studies in 1998-1999, which turned out to be his last year of teaching. I especially remember one lecture in which he showed us beautiful slides of the drawings in Darwin's 'The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals', to explain to us Mead's insight about the meaning of the gesture being in the response of the other. He had very carefully ensured that the window blinds were completely closed, not admitting a chink of light, so that the slides would be displayed to the best effect. I remember feeling my mind transforming as I started to grasp what he was saying, and realising I was unable to write any notes because the room was in pitch darkness! His example - particularly his scholarliness and generosity of spirit in engaging with students - is a continuing source of motivation for my own aspirations in research and teaching." Flora Cornish - UK
"We had the pleasure of meeting Rob Farr on his trips to Brazil as well as on our visits to the UK. The memory we have is of a kind and gentle person, always prepared to include people and to listen to other points of view. His academic achievements are widely recognized in Brazil especially through the translation into Portuguese of his book on the "Roots of Modern Social Psychology". We will certainly miss him." Mary Jane and Peter Spink - Brazil
"Rob Farr supervised both my undergraduate project and my PhD. I owe him a great deal. It was Rob’s lectures that fired my enthusiasm for social psychology; it was the opportunity of working with him that encouraged me to apply for a PhD. He was a truly delightful person to know. He was generous of his time and his ideas. He was incisively clever and broad in his scholarship and knowledge and genuinely and enthusiastically engaged by ideas. Yet he was also affable, down to earth, approachable, supportive and above all, kind and thoughtful. At times he let me off too lightly – as a PhD student I didn’t work hard enough – yet he was forgiving and took the opportunity to share with me his latest thinking (which at the time was invariably something interesting and thought-provoking he had discovered in the work of G.H Mead or a recent conversation he had had with Serge Moscovici). When eventually I was ready to submit my thesis, Rob sorted it for me to submit and attended my viva (where, for his pains, the examiners made him sit in silence until he was fit to burst with things he wanted to add or comment on). We lost contact in recent years, but I have never forgotten the support and academic care I received from Rob and the example he set for how to think and act." Peter Harris - UK
"Professor Robert Farr was the supervisor of my thesis from 1995-1999. He was a rare individual. He combined intellectual stature with open heartedness. One of the world’s leading specialists on social psychology and a deeply caring individual, it was no coincidence that he was attracted to Gustav Iccheiser, he shared a similar approach. One that attempted to put theory from social psychology into practice. He influenced my development immensely. Over a decade later I am still reading on the history of the social sciences, a journey of discovery that he started. I have used his ideas in practically most of my working life. I must have introduced hundreds of NHS personnel in Bradford to Ichheiser’s views on prejudice! I invited him to my wedding in Bradford out of courtesy not thinking that he would attend. I was worried about how he would mix with my relatives through the evening, I should have known better. He talked and mingled all evening. A genuine intellectual and a great human being, he is sorely missed." Atif Imtiaz - UK
"Despite I feel to have lost Rob and to miss him since he decided to retire from the academic world and from its net of professional and human relations, this news makes me (and surely all of us, who had the honor and the pleasure to meet him ) terribly sad, because it means that the hope - that I had magically cultivated in my soul for years - to see him once back among us, as he was in the past, is definitively over . I personally cannot do anything more than to regret to have secretly and deeply missed him a lot and so long, respecting his privacy rather than to try to insist to break the walls, which have separated him from our live friendship. I had to learn years ago how to keep his memory alive not only in our intellectual life and within our scientific circles of colleagues and students, but also in my emotional and sentimental life, as one of my best and rare friends I would have never want to loose him. Now there is no space even for the magic hope, unless I find finally a reason to believe that the Paradise exists, which is the only place from which he may continue to smile us and to look at this world which was not enough wise to keep him alive and in good health, as he would deserve.
Ciao Rob, anche a te, dopo Gerard, Jean Claude, Michel-Louis e Adrian..., non senza un rimpianto speciale: quanto tempo dedicato a stupide cose nella vita e a persone che non meritano, invece che alle poche persone care che si ha la fortuna di incontrare nella vita. Tu sei sicuramente tra queste: un abbraccio a te e ai tuoi cari con infinita nostalgia." Annamaria de Rosa - Italy
"I keep a very dear memory of Rob Farr. In autumn 1987, I came to LSE from Bern on a mission to collect comparative data for my PhD, I failed but never left London again …., Rob offered me to move my PhD to LSE and literally changed my life. I remember the drinks in the Beavers Bar, and his inspirational obsessions: the joke of how we get from A to B, by not starting from A…. sums it all up. Rob reminded any aspiring Social Psychologists that the field operated on the wrong assumptions; and a ‘little England’ spirit, as he called it, was not the solution; so let us start afresh with a more panoramic view.
His excursions into the history of social psychology uncovered all the wrong commitments and turns of the past, in order to liberate us for a new kick-start with the intellectual resources of hind sight: Darwin, Mead, and Ichheiser. He stemmed strong ideas against the forces of institutional grind and disciplinary conformity. A stance that is even more relevant in the current climate. This will remain Rob’s inspiration for Social Sciences at large. Another Irishman with a global message. I keep his portrait in my office next to that of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett.
Rob was an inspired and inspiring man, and the joke is most apt: to get to B, do not start from where you are, but rewind first. What sounds like a silly joke, points to the deep wisdom of challenging currently held assumptions that block real progress. Rob told us the history of social psychology not to celebrate a glorious past, but to re-think it all over again, the problems of social experiments, attitudes, and attributions. I very much hope we can do it without him by following his guidance." Martin W Bauer - UK