We celebrated the life and contribution of the late Professor Tony Lowe at a series of events on 3 June.
Over 70 attendees came for a day of events at Sheffield University Management School organised by members of the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) Division and the Centre for Research into Accounting and Finance in Context (CRAFiC).
Head of the AFM Division at Sheffield, Professor Bill Lee, said: “We were delighted to welcome guests from academic and practitioner backgrounds, as well as individuals who knew Tony personally. I was very honoured to welcome many of Tony’s family who helped us during the ceremony to rename the Lowe Lecture Theatre in the Management School.”
“Tony Lowe was the University of Sheffield’s first Professor of Accounting and Financial Management and led The Sheffield School of accounting research, so to see him honoured in the building was very important to us.”
The day began with the Early Career Researcher and PhD workshop and an introductory lecture from Professor Lisa Jack (Portsmouth) discussing social theory and accounting research. The workshop was co-organised with the BAFA Inter-Disciplinary Perspectives SIG and was supported by the Management Control Association. Attendees then split into groups of six to analyse how social theory can be applied to help understand current events. Bill Lee (Sheffield), Doris Merkl-Davies (Bangor), Robin Roslender (Dundee) and Lesley Catchpowle (Greenwich) led these groups.
Following lunch, there was a comprehensive feedback session and discussion on the morning’s events and the naming ceremony. Attendees then filled the Lowe Memorial Lecture Theatre ahead of a panel session discussing the relevance of The Sheffield School today.
Dean of the Management School, Professor David Oglethorpe, and Professor Bill Lee opened proceedings and introduced the panel which was facilitated by Professor John Cullen and comprised Emeritus Professor Richard Laughlin (Kings College, London), Professor Prem Sikka (Essex), Professor Christine Cooper (Strathclyde) and Professor Jane Broadbent (Royal Holloway).
The discussion was broad, but also introduced fascinating insights into Tony’s life and career. While Richard discussed The Sheffield School’s basic principles, Prem touched on how accounting academics can engage the political arena. Meanwhile, Christine profiled the effect of neoliberalism on society and higher education and Jane presented the history of the Management Control Association (MCA), which Tony had helped to found, and the need to revisit The Sheffield School’s original debates. A lively Q&A session followed.
As attendees retired for supper, Dr Stewart Smyth (co-director of CRAFiC) read tributes to Tony which we received from those who couldn’t attend. He concluded: “The day was a fitting tribute to a man who contributed so much to the School, and to the accounting and financial management as a whole. It was an honour to celebrate Tony’s legacy at Sheffield University Management School.”