Alanna Mitchell is an award-winning Canadian journalist, and author, who writes about science and social trends. She is a global thinker who specializes in investigative reporting. Her book, Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, is an international best seller that won the prestigious U.S.-based Grantham Prize for excellence in environmental journalism. Her one-woman play based on that book was nominated for a Dora award and has toured nationally and internationally. For inFORMING CONTENT 2016, Alanna will deliver a talk on the potential reversal of Earth's magnetic poles. Here, she answers some questions about her work and her inspiration.
Q: What would you like us to know about your current work?
A: I am working on a book about the potential reversal of the Earth’s two magnetic poles. North will become South and South will become North. As that flip happens, the Earth’s magnetic field, which helps protect life on the planet from solar radiation will decay, becoming only a tenth of its normal strength. The last time the poles reversed was 780,000 years ago.
Q: Can you tell us about a piece of art that you saw/read/heard that changed your perspective?
A: Ravi Jain’s Gimme Shelter. At the end of the one-man piece, Ravi left the stage and each member of the audience had choose someone on the other side of the theatre space and physically and emotionally connect — would you let this person drown rather than enter your country? It was shattering.
Q: Have you collaborated on artistic projects before?
A: Yes! My play Sea Sick was a full-on collaboration that would not have happened without the help of Franco Boni and Ravi Jain. Together we developed a script and then the two of them directed the play while I performed it.
Q: What was the most unexpected discovery that came out of this conversation?
A: That the process was just as important and the final product. Revelation! And so wildly different from the journalistic process, where it’s all about what ends up on the page.
Q: What’s your most creative solution when you’re feeling blocked or stuck in your work?
A: I read beautifully written non-fiction. Or else I sleep and the words come to me.
Q: What motivates you when you’re feeling uninspired?
A: Going for long walks.
Hear Alanna's contribution to inFORMING CONTENT on Friday, April 29, 2016 at 6:30pm at The Theatre Centre. Tickets are free and can be reserved here.
On May 1, come see Alanna's work interpreted by a group of experimental performing artists led by artistic leaders from Toronto and beyond. Tickets are free and can be reserved here.
You can learn more about Alanna's work by visiting her website.