Associate Professor Michael Adams | “Full immersion experience” | TEDxUWollongong 2018

Five years ago Michael Adams began research on freediving, which has been described as the second most dangerous extreme sport. His preferred research method is ‘full immersion’: becoming as closely as possible that which he wishes to understand. Adams found the experience uniquely difficult to describe in a formal academic publication, so instead wrote using the personal essay form, deeply implicating himself in the work. That essay, ‘Salt Blood’ won the 2017 Calibre Essay Prize. The powerful public and media reaction to ‘Salt Blood’ demonstrated two things to Adams: the power of story, and the relevance of his role in the research journey. The essay is a window into a world few people will directly experience, and enabled him to build a bridge to a wide and disparate audience who connected to his personal story.