Vale Frank Fisher
Frank Fisher, environmental educator, academic and theorist, electrical engineer, understandascoper, social constructionist, constant cyclist, chronic disease sufferer and friend died yesterday (August 21, 2012). His is a great loss to us all. His contributions to what we might call deep social learning, where environmental issues are solved not by learning about environmental loss, but by learning about the social constructions that led to that loss, are invaluable. He also taught and understood the wisest lessons about behaviour and habit. If a person wants change, they have to live it.
On June 25th the Understandascope, one of Frank’s major projects was launched at The Edge in Federation Square Melbourne where the above photo was taken. It wasn’t the Crohn’s Disease that got him; diagnosed with a brain tumour late least year, Frank was affected at the launch, but still quietly defiant, as he has always been when faced by what seem like insurmountable obstacles. Kate Auty, a former student Victoria’s Commissioner Environmental Sustainability, wrote a brief tribute after the event (she’s far left in the group photo).
The top photo is how I will remember Frank, his look: kind, curious (quizzical) and pained. For those of you who didn’t have the privilege to know Frank, have a look at the Understandascope, read his latest book Understand Ability. His work will be carried on by the many people he taught, by those who were his colleagues and his friends (and so many were all three, including Anthony James, convenor of the Understandascope and Fran MacDonald appearing with Kate and Frank in the group photo).
Update: A public memorial service for Frank Fisher will be held at the Edge Theatre, Federation Square on Saturday 15 September, from 11am. Further details.