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St Mary's Mermaid Swim School Promotes Self-Esteem in Young People


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St Mary’s University, Twickenham Senior Lecturer Dr Maria Mellins is running a mermaid swim school that promotes self-esteem, creativity and physical activity for young people. The ‘Grow Fins’ three-day course, held at St Catherine’s School Swimming Pool and St Mary’s, from 22-26th August, allows young people to experience swimming lessons with mermaid ‘tails’ in collaboration with the swim school Mermaids UK. It also enables them to star and produce their own mermaid movies; and encourages them to take part in creative writing workshops. Dr Mellins explained, “Whilst learning the skill of swimming and diving in a mermaid tail is a growing trend amongst young girls, and swim schools are springing up across the UK, we’re unique in bringing together a creative school that also includes mermaid swimming. The project is run as ‘edutainment’ and our aim is to take something that young people are excited and passionate about and use it as a foundation to help them grow their physical and creative skills, and, ultimately, their self-esteem. “I have experience in interviewing people with diverse lifestyles and cultures and that’s how I learnt about the growth of mermaiding. The lifestyle is particularly prevalent in North America; and it’s something I’m looking to research further ahead of publishing a book on the same topic next year, for which the impact of the Grow Fins course will make up a section.” Dr Mellins, a senior lecturer who teaches part of the Film and Screen Media BA (Hons) and Media Arts BA (Hons) programmes at St Mary’s, is currently researching fairy tales and particularly how the mermaid myth has developed in popular culture. This week’s workshop will form a chapter in her forthcoming book on the same topic. She has also recently published a young adult novel entitles Returning Eden, which is an ocean mystery.
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