I was blessed recently to spend 3 weeks working in St. Ives, Cornwall, assisting a good friend of mine, Adam Kennerley, with his PhD research. We arrived in St. Ives train station on the 27th July and commenced work the next morning. We were investigating the impacts that increased numbers of jellyfish could have on the tourism industry.
So what did we actually do?
Each day we would walk to the beaches of St. Ives armed with clipboards and a dozen or so questionnaires each. Over the 3 weeks we surveyed 182 people with questions ranging from “How long are you in St. Ives” to “What comes to mind when I say the word Jellyfish’”.
Their responses were varied, and people were soon interested when they realised that we weren’t trying to sell them anything or ask them for money. In fact, an incredible 70% of people we asked were happy to take part in our survey. Kids were always inquisitive, and their enthusiasm rubbed off on their parents. People who we’d interviewed earlier would approach us with photos, or show us to rock pools where there were jellyfish.
It’s not all work
I had the opportunity to explore the coastline and rock pools of St. Ives when I wasn’t working (either conducting surveys, or my usual data analysis job which I was still doing alongside the survey work). Even though I was working two jobs I still made time to wander to Porthmoer, where we conducted a lot of the surveys, to watch the sunset one evening. It was gorgeous.
We stayed at CoHort hostel in the centre of St. Ives. It was a very welcoming place, with people to match. Staying for 3 weeks we were soon considered long-termers and a part of the CoHort family. As I said at the beginning, I am blessed to have had this opportunity to meet some incredible people, gain some experience of socioeconomic surveys, and work in such a stunning place.