That’s a wrap. One hundred visits staggered across September 2022 – September 2023. Last Sunday morning marked the end of my twelve month fieldwork at Windermere. Thank you to the Rayrigg regulars for letting me join in your weekly dip during my final visit.
There is no way I can summarise an entire year on here, plus I am conflicted by many emotions, including sadness, relief, pride, joy, and apprehension for what’s next. Thank you to everyone who got involved, enquired, shared, and supported the project. You helped make this happen. It was a privilege to spend a year with Windermere and to facilitate these reflections.
I am indebted to the forty swimmers, dippers and dunkers who invested their time and thoughts in and out of the water, sharing their motivations, histories, challenges, and experiences. The sixty separate observational swim visits also gave insight into the many social and environmental concerns in this fragile space, alongside the chance to reflect deeper on my experiences and assumptions.
Although the fieldwork has concluded, these reflections are far from over. I must gather everything together and make sense of it. I need to see what glows and what directions to take the writing with. This process will take some time, but it will come.
Alongside my PhD thesis, there are some exciting outputs that are already in motion, including a research zine, working with the talented Bethan Thorsby (@sporadicillustration) and some community engagement talks next year. When they are ready, I will be sure to share.
I was also thrilled to share the context of the research at the Royal Geographical Society’s Annual International Conference in London, and the Neurodiversity in Higher Education Conference in Bristol, alongside an annual review with my supervisors at Exeter Geography.
During the analysis phase, I am choosing to unplug from social media and the blog. They have been resourceful tools for the fieldwork, but I need to carve out some more time (for myself). I also need to find some other places to swim.
So, if you have any enquiries, please contact me through the website or email me directly at email@example.com.
In the meantime, keep listening to your bodies. Advocate for yourself and others. Swimmers can be loud, but not everyone’s voice gets heard. No two swims are ever the same, and our traces continue to differ before and after visiting the water. Take care.
Author: Taylor Butler-Eldridge | Published: 17 Sep 2023
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