Emeritus Professor (Centre for Community Engagement), University of Sussex

Fred Gray is Emeritus Professor of Continuing Education at the University of Sussex and a visiting professor at the University of Brighton.

His current research and writing centre on the history and contemporary character of the Western and particularly British seaside. His interests include the cultural history of seaside architecture – he is the author of Designing the Seaside. Architecture, Society and Nature (Reaktion, 2006); the contemporary social and economic condition of seaside resorts; coastal regeneration through interventions in arts and culture, higher education and architecture and urban design; and the relationships between society and nature at the seaside.

As a departure from these themes he is currently writing a cultural history of the palm tree, to be published by Reaktion.

Between August 2009 and October 2011 he was the University's Academic Director of Local and Regional Relationships and from 2002 to July 2009 the Dean of the Sussex Institute, one of the University's then six schools of study and including the Centre for Continuing Education and the departments of Education, Law and Social Work. For a over decade until 2001 he was the Director of the Centre for Continuing Education at the University.

A student in Hull and Cambridge (where he completed a geography PhD) he came to Sussex University in 1974 as a research fellow.

He is also vice chair of the Brighton West Pier Trust and a trustee of Brighton Fishing Museum. As the honorary historian and archivist for the West Pier Trust, he is the author of Walking on Water: The West Pier Story.


  • –present
    Emeritus Professor (Centre for Community Engagement), University of Sussex