University of Cambridge

The Blue Pearl: A Research Report on Teaching Mindfulness Practices to College Students



A Webinar with Deborah J. Haynes
Professor, Art and Art History, University of Colorado-Boulder
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Professor Haynes writes, “For several years, I conducted formal research with students in both small and large lecture-format courses. My research will be published in the journal Buddhist-Christian Studies later this year.
“The blue pearl” is how one of my students described the experience of developing mindfulness. She said that the ability “to draw inwards and be peaceful shows as a concentrated blue light in my brain.” In this webinar I will describe the results of my research with undergraduate students on the efficacy of and their experiences with contemplative pedagogy. I teach first-year students both techniques of meditation and contemplative approaches to making art. My presentation will focus on conceptual issues raised by my formal human-subject research with students over three years, research that included qualitative feedback from them through narrative exercises and journals, a series of quantitative questionnaires about their experiences, and their own works of art.”

Before coming to CU-Boulder, Deborah was Director of Women’s Studies at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.

With an M.F.A. degree from the University of Oregon and Ph.D. from Harvard University, she is the author of two books published by Cambridge University Press, “Bakhtin and the Visual Arts” (1995) and “Vocation of the Artist” (1997), as well as “Art Lessons: Meditations on the Creative Life” (Westview, 2003). Haynes also edited “Opening our Moral Eye” (Lindisfarne, 1996), a book of M. C. Richards’ last talks and essays; and was a consulting editor for “The Subjective Eye” (Wipf and Stock, 2006). She has published numerous articles and reviews in the last 17 years. Her latest book, “Book of [THIS] Place: Spirituality, Art, and the Land,” reflects the integration of her scholarly and creative work, which includes drawing and writing in marble.

Deborah has practiced yoga for more than 30 years, and has experience in Zen, Vipassana, and Tibetan Buddhist meditation traditions. After helping to care for several friends who died, during 2007-08 she completed training to serve as a hospice volunteer.

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