UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Tribute to Dr Philippa Hetherington

8 November 2022

Dr Philippa Hetherington

Philippa’s service will take place on Friday, 25 November, at 2.30pm at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium in Wanstead, followed by a reception at 4.30pm at the Walthamstow Wetlands engine room (“the larder”). 

We are distressed to mourn the premature passing of our much-loved colleague, Philippa Hetherington, Lecturer in Modern Eurasian History, who died on Saturday 5 November after a long and courageous struggle with illness.

In Philippa, the world has lost not only one of the most promising scholars of her own generation, but one of the most life-enhancing people of any generation. Within its tragically short compass, her own life traversed several continents: Australia, where she graduated with distinction from the University of Sydney in 2006; North America, where she took her PhD at Harvard in 2014; and Europe, where she spent part of her childhood and where she has lived and worked at UCL SSEES since September 2015. Her scholarly vision was similarly broad, encompassing a global view of Russian and Caucasian history and a methodological approach as sensitive to the links between legal history and feminist theory as it was to those between migration and imperial government. Such interdisciplinary expertise made her an ideal appointment at SSEES, where she immediately devoted her energies not only to her own inspirational teaching, but to the development of the new degree programme in History, Politics and Economics. If few historians could match such a daunting intellectual range, fewer still could do so with Philippa’s enviably relaxed ease and enthusiasm. Committed to the very last to colleagues and students alike, Philippa cast a warm glow over everyone she met. We shall never forget her.

A full tribute to Philippa will follow here in due course, along with details of any memorial arrangements. We would like to invite everyone who knew Philippa to leave a message of your memories of Philippa, or condolences by using the form. These will be shared with her family and online on a dedicated page ‘Philippa Hetherington Tributes and Memories’. Feel free to spread the word.

Mental health and wellbeing support is available for anyone in our community affected by this news. Information about the support available to UCL students can be found on the Support for Bereavement page on the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing website. UCL staff can speak to a professional counsellor or information specialist in confidence by calling 0800 197 4510; further details are available via the Employee Assistance Programme webpages.