Labyrinths in Places

Labyrinths are found in many places. Some are permanent and some are brought in temporarily for events. The challenge for labyrinth enthusiasts is often how to get permission to introduce a labyrinth into a specific environment. This section of the website examines some of the places where labyrinths may be found, the benefits of having them there, how they are used, and how people were able to install them there in the first place!

4. Labyrinths in University Life

The following examples, drawn from a number of universities and colleges, illustrate the breadth of possibilities. Some of these were initiated by students, others by staff; some cross boundaries, involving collaboration across disciplines or with other university teams. A list of references is available at the end of this article.

Within academic disciplines

  1. Architecture, Construction, Horticulture, Landscape Design: The labyrinth lends itself to these disciplines as a creative project for design and construction, whether temporary or permanent, as a design exercise or a fulfilled commission.
  2. Art: Students have used a labyrinth in a variety of ways, through working with the image, constructing a labyrinth as part of their project, or with exhibitions to accompany a labyrinth event.
  3. Business Studies: A guided walk for MBA students, to foster reflection and a time to consider their own journeys through their degree programme and beyond.
  4. Complementary Therapies and Healing: A labyrinth as a personal and clinical resource for students and staff, including researchers.
  5. Continuing Education, Liberal Arts: Lectures, workshops and labyrinth walks within a range of programmes for the community, ranging from free lectures to short courses.
  6. Law: A labyrinth to foster contemplation.
  7. Psychology: Research on prayer; a Psychology department project to bring a permanent labyrinth to the university
  8. Religious Studies: Using a labyrinth to explore symbology and history; to deepen spiritual practice; to build experience of meditation.
  9. Teacher Education/Pedagogy/Mathematics: The image of a labyrinth has been used to foster interest in mathematics, amongst school children and students.

In Wider University Contexts

  1. Graduation: The Counselling Service led a workshop with graduating students, a celebration of their journey through Higher Education and a time to build confidence for their future journeys.
  2. Health, Sports Science and Wellbeing: events led by an academic department, or by other teams with a focus on well-being.
  3. Revision and exams: Labyrinth walks to reduce stress and anxiety.
  4. Counselling Service: for students and staff, including staff development events. (For work with counselling clients, see the Labyrinth Society web page on ‘Labyrinths in Counselling’).
  5. Staff and research student development: a portable labyrinth as part of a series of lunch-time events to reduce stress and foster creativity, contributing to a creative programme for staff and research postgraduates.
  6. Chaplaincies and spiritual development: Labyrinth walks held, once a month or at other intervals, as a quiet reflective space in the busy-ness of university life; labyrinth events to support and bring the university community together.
  7. Arboretums and gardens: Labyrinths as a beautiful design, enhancing the campus: sometimes linked to departments of Horticulture or Art, and sometimes to medical centres, chaplaincies or other centres and services.
  8. Networks and forums: A labyrinth at a new forum for teachers of English at all levels in the region, as a way of drawing colleagues together and celebrating connections.
  9. Retreats and conferences: Some labyrinths have been built close to, or as part of, university conference and retreat centres. Others have been built as part of the process of a retreat.