Passing of arts educator Anna Upchurch

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Theater Studies department notes with sorrow that a bright light in the world of arts education has passed.  Dr. Anna Upchurch, who worked with the department as Director of Communications prior to moving to England to pursue her doctorate, died in hospital in Leeds, England on Wednesday November 23  after a short illness.  Anna had joined the University of Leeds in 2009 as a lecturer in Cultural Policy and over the next seven years did much to raise the profile of cultural policy research across the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures. She will be sorely missed by colleagues and students in England and at Duke who had the pleasure of working with her.  

Professor Emeritus and former chair of Theater Studies John Clum writes: "Anna was brilliant, charming and passionate about her work. While working in the Drama Program, Anna got her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree. We had many conversations about her deep interest in arts policy and educational policy. Those of us who knew her well missed her presence in the department. I'm sure her colleagues at Leeds are shattered."

Anna's research investigated the intellectual history of arts policy in the UK and North America, focusing on the involvement of private philanthropy in both countries. Her latest monograph, The Origins of the Arts Council Movement: Philanthropy and Policy, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in the week she passed away.

Her funeral will be held on Friday December in Leeds.  Our thoughts are with her family and friends.