She holds a BA in American studies and studio art from Wellesley College, an MA in interactive multimedia from the Royal College of Art, and an MFA in theatre directing from York University, where her thesis production of A Midsummer Night's Dream used motion-capture technology to weave real-time 3D computer animation and digital effects into live performance.
Alison is currently a Vanier Scholar working on a research-creation PhD in the department of Cinema and Media Arts at York University's School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design. She is a member of the University of Toronto's Jackman Humanities Institute Working Group The Art and Science of Immunization, and her doctoral project Shadowpox forms part of the 2017 exhibition Immune Nations, in conjunction with the Conference on Global Health and Vaccination Research in Trondheim, Norway, and the WHO's World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. The latter was reviewed in The Lancet: "The Art of Immunisation." Please see shadowpox.org for more.
Alison started her career in New York as an intern at Marvel Comics, worked as a writer on 115 episodes of Global TV's improvised "instant drama" Train 48 (where she initiated one of the earliest transmedia in-fiction blogs in a TV series), and produced one of the first web-based alternate reality games for Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic (whose community-created storyworld has continued to evolve for nearly two decades, as chronicled in The Economist: "Emergent systems: The forum at the end of the universe"). As a story editor for Sarrazin Couture Entertainment, she developed television series for CBC, CTV and ABC, and as a research associate at York University helped with the launch of a new collaborative e-learning system.
Her theatre work includes assistant directing with Katie Mitchell at the Royal Court Theatre, Stephen Unwin at the English Touring Theatre, and Carey Perloff at the American Conservatory Theater and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival (2009 Elliott Hayes Award); and directing the UK premieres of James Reaney's The Donnellys at the Old Red Lion Theatre and Normand Chaurette's The Queens at the Royal Shakespeare Company Fringe Festival in Stratford-on-Avon. Alison was director and co-writer with Pascal Langdale on two interactive live-animated sci-fi theatre projects: Faster than Night (Harbourfront Centre, Toronto), and The Augmentalist (Augmented World Expo, Silicon Valley).
Conference presentations include "The Technologized Playwright" at the Playwrights Guild of Canada; "Perils and Promises: Arts, Health, and Public Participation" at Creating Space: Health Humanities and Social Accountability in Action; "Sci-Fi Insights on Co-Immunity" at The Art and Science of Immunization; and "Imagination, Inoculation and the Politics of Co-immunity" at Cultures of Participation – Arts, Digital Media and Politics.