Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

School of Theatre and Dance

Advisor(s)

Zachary Dorsey

Wren Stevens

Rob Mertens

Abstract

While mindfulness has existed as a tenant of prominent Asian spiritualities since the sixth century B.C., the last fifty years have seen an appropriation of mindfulness practices into diverse sectors of American life, including into clinical research. Within the same fifty years, contemporary artists have increasingly pushed their crafts towards interdisciplinary collaborating between and across artistic disciplines. The body of academic research into creativity suggests a correlation between mindfulness practices and elevated collaborative artistry. Thus, this project seeks to answer the question, how can mindfulness practices encourage interdisciplinary artistic collaboration? My contribution to this inquiry consisted of two main studies. First, a case study on myself where, for twelve months, I systematically practiced different mindfulness meditations from religious and secular sources, including breath awareness, walking, eating, listening to Tibetan Bowl music, and Satsang gazing. For the second stage of my project, I facilitated two cohorts of collegiate artists in hour-long meditation sessions over the course of twelve weeks. While my own meditative practice appears to be linked with my elevated success as an individual and collaborative artist, the findings from my two cohorts suggest that mindfulness meditations do not contribute to artistic collaboration within just six weeks of initial practice. Towards my discussion of these findings, it may be necessary for collegiate artists to invest more time in their own personal mindfulness routines to reap benefits similar to those which my case study indicate. Surprisingly, my own consistent meditation practice aligned with an increased level of detachment from academia and general responsibility that I have noticed within myself. While this relationship between my meditations and my decreased collegiate involvement indicates only anecdotal relatedness, the literature supports an additional hypothesis that mindfulness may bring about amplified dedication to artistic craft, while simultaneously fostering detachment from urgent responsibilities in other sectors in the lives of meditation practitioners.

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