Will you (likely) be working out of McMurdo during the 2018-2019 season and are you will to be interviewed by a creative nonfiction writer?
I am writing to you because I am currently putting together an NSF proposal for their Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, which provides artists and writers the opportunity to work in Antartica. As part of my Testimonies on Ice proposal, I plan to conduct dozens of field interviews with scientists researching rapid ice sheet loss in Antartica. The idea is to spend time alongside scientists as they research ice sheet loss and to record the impact this kind of bearing witness has on their lives. The larger aims of the piece are to both communicate (to a broader public) the science behind ice sheet loss and to chronicle the emotional and physical impact this kind of research has on those who regularly witness what is arguably one of the largest planetary fluctuations ever experienced by modern humans. I am writing to see if you will (likely) be working out of the McMurdo Station in Antartica during the 2018-2019 season and are willing to be interviewed as part of this project?
Many of you likely have heard from me personally, but to those of you who I haven't reached out to before let me tell you a little about my work. I am currently the Andrew Mellon Fellow for Pedagogical Innovation at Bates College where I teach Creative Nonfiction. Begining in the fall of 2017 I will join the faculty of the English Department at Brown University. My second book, Rising: Essays from America's Disappearing Shore (Forthcoming with Milkweed Editions in 2018) is an on-the-ground investigation of five North American coastal communities responding to climate change. Instead of predicting the negative effects of climate change Rising focuses on the lived experience, both past and present, of those already dealing with the results of a warming planet. Throughout Rising, individual voices, photographic evidence, and lyric descriptions build into a polyphonic chorus that chronicles, in real-time, the effects of climate change on the North American coast. Similarly to the Testimonies on Ice proposal chronicled above, Rising weaves together recorded testimonials from those whose lives and livelihoods have been profoundly impacted by changes to our coastlines with a set of scientifically grounded lyric essays. Ideally Testimonies on Ice will pick up where Rising leaves off, investigating the cause for the ongoing coastal transformations that our citizens are already living through. I mean to say: the longer I have spent researching sea level rise, the more profoundly motivated I have become to investigate the actual source of the rise and it is this impulse that has me applying for funding to visit Antartica.
Which brings me back around to my request. I am wondering first and foremost if you/ your research team has plans to return to Antartica during the 2018-2019 season, and if so, when? Secondly, I am wondering if you/ and or other members of your research team would be open to being interviewed in Antartica? If the answer is yes, I am hoping that you might write me a short letter of support stating your willingness to be interviewed in the field. I should mention that I have extensive expereince interviewing scientists in the field. Many of the essays in Rising revolve around my journeying into swamps, marshes, and wetlands with geologists, biologists, and chemists to try to better understand how sea level rise is impacting our coastal ecosystems today. I would be happy to provide work samples should you wish to get a better understanding of the scope of the project.
If you have any questions please let me know. I am happy to get on the phone to discuss this matter with you should you wish.
Many thanks for all of your wonderful research. Without folks like you I would have nothing to write about. I hope to hear from you soon.