Those who have followed Mike White’s blog ‘ Chalkie’s Demon Diary’ https://demondiary.wordpress.com will have seen Mary Robson’s announcement that Mike died on June 4, 2015. And since then this sad news has circulated, bringing back stories and memories of Mike, that It might be good to share here. We make a start with our stories about encounters with Mike and his influence on us, and invite you to add yours.
From Jean and Bruce Rumbold
Although we only ever had two or three conversations with Mike, we are saddened by his death and recognise the great loss He is, not only to his own family, friends and community, but to the field of arts and health worldwide.
Like many others, we have been inspired by Mike’s book Arts development in community health: A social tonic (2009). I think we knew we had found a fellow traveller in Mike when he wrote enthusiastically about happening on Michael Wilson’s book Health is for people in an op shop on his way to see the waiting room card making project in the doctors clinic that sparked his interest in such arts and health projects. As Australian students in Manchester in the 1970s, we heard Dr Michael Wilson speak and have been greatly influenced by his understanding that health needs to be seen as created socially not individually (Wilson anticipated the findings on the social determinants of health by some decades).
We went to hear Mike speaking at the National Gallery of Victoria. When on study leave in the UK in 2010, we even made a bit of a pilgrimage by bus to Durham for afternoon tea and inspiring conversation with Mike.
The photo above of Mike with Mary was taken at the Arts and Health conference in Melbourne in 2010. Mike came here often as he wandered the world as a troubadour, sharing stories of the arts and health movement he saw as both global and local. This local lantern parade went round the world. His stories continue to be told.