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The Brilliance of Beauty: Theology and the Expressive Arts Open Access


Other title
arts-based research
theological perspective
expressive arts therapy
essential spiritual nature
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Norbert Michael Krumins
Supervisor and department
Dr. Mona-Lee Feehan
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Jean Waters
Dr. Marjorie Pettinger
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Theological Studies (Honours)
Degree level
This study explores the theological nature of beauty as lived experience in the expressive arts studio. The methodology, rooted in phenomenology, is a blend of heuristic and arts-based research. I consider my own experiences of beauty as well as those of several co- researchers. Together, we participated in a two-day studio workshop which I designed and facilitated in the form of a retreat. The studio was multimodal: the participants created works of visual art (painting, collage, sculpture), music, dance, and poetry. A portable labyrinth was used to enhance the experience. The co-researchers and I shared our experiences during several circle discussions. Ten co-researchers participated in the retreat; six were subsequently interviewed. The thesis includes reproductions of several examples of visual art and poetry in keeping with a heuristic/arts-based approach. The thesis draws extensively from the literature and praxis of expressive arts therapy. However, it is framed primarily by a theological rather than a clinical perspective. I explore the transformative nature of beauty more in a spiritual context than a psychotherapeutic one. I focus more on the creative process than the finished product of a work of art. In other words, it is more about the artist than the art. The later works of Thomas Merton form an integral part of the theological literature, in particular his exploration of Zen. This serves as a springboard into how our essential spiritual nature – to use a Zen phrase, our Original Face - can be explored through the creative process.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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