With thanks to a commission from Cornwall 365, we’ve recently had the joy of making a series of digital stories that explore our relationship with the sea. This is a huge subject with people relating to the sea in so many ways, so this commission was very much like dipping a toe in a vast ocean of stories. Working with 4 fabulous women who find solace, joy and connection in the sea, we ended up making 4 digital stories.
Swimming in the sea has always been part of Cornish culture, with people developing their own unique routines and rituals around swimming. This digital story shares the personal experiences of 4 women, of different ages, who are all drawn to swim in the sea.
What a joy it was to spend time with Gemma on a beach in Swampool! This digital story shares Gemma’s passion for swimming and her experience of setting up ‘She Swims’ during the pandemic. She Swims is a group that helps people connect with others and swim in a supportive and safe way. The past year has highlighted to us all the increasing need for mental health support in Cornwall and many people have been seeking solace in the sea. As people come together to brave the cold ocean, connections are made, experiences are shared and troubles are eased. Gemma’s story highlights how new communities are formed and our culture in turn evolves.
Living by the sea infiltrates many aspect of daily life. This is particularly true for the lovely Tricia, who is forever grateful to have the sea on her doorstep, but also grapples with how this might change as she gets older.
Joy, now 90, learnt to swim in Sennen at the age of 9. This digital story shares some of her memories of time spent on and in the sea. Whether on a boat as a Sea Ranger, lancing for bait behind her father or in Newlyn Harbour for the annual sports day, Joy’s love for the water has played a large part in her life.
These digital stories were commissioned by Cornwall 365, thanks to funding from Arts Council England Culture Recovery Fund, and Cornwall Council Creative Cornwall Calling.