Grace Wright

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Geography (2022 cohort)

I am investigating the impact of greater land access in urban areas through wild swimming (the act of swimming in natural unheated water). I am conducting a comparative study between two cities with contrasting water access laws, to examine how greater access to swimmable water in urban areas has the potential to impact individuals’ relationships with nature and how this may impact environmental change. This research is situated within critical urban studies debates over the ‘right to the city’ and the wider global land justice movement, and employs geographical theories of the more than human to research human-water relations.

I completed my BA in Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol, where I wrote my undergraduate thesis on wild swimming as a form of Foucauldian and subcultural resistance, and was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Prize for academic excellence.

Before starting my MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance at the University of Oxford I studied water rights and access in Spain, Portugal and Costa Rica while working on regenerative and permaculture farms. I conducted research for Professor Leslie-Anne Duvic-Paoli at Kings’ College London on the impact of citizens’ assemblies on climate legislation in Luxembourg, Finland and Scotland. I was also employed by Dr Amy Penfield at the University of Bristol to research illegal small-scale extraction in Amazonia and state or local-level legal loopholes that can facilitate this. My work for Dr Penfield is now being used to apply for a $1 million research grant from the European Council to conduct fieldwork on this topic in Amazonia.