New labyrinth to provide space for reflection

At first glance, it may look like a maze. But a new installation on Brock’s main campus may actually help users to find themselves.

After months of planning and weeks of calculated construction, a labyrinth has been installed in the University’s Weather Station Field, and a launch event set for Wednesday, May 22 at 1 p.m.

The project was spearheaded by the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI), in partnership with John Dick, Manager of Grounds Services, as well as various departments, offices and centres from across campus. Installed by Grounds Management, the new grass and brick feature across from the Campus Store aims to provide a purposeful path of reflection to be used by all members of the Brock community.

Unlike a maze, which deliberately misleads participants, the labyrinth follows an ancient pattern that encourages participants to move on a singular pathway that spirals to the centre and then returns to the beginning, said CPI Director Jill Grose.

“The design we have built is a seven-circuit classical labyrinth, which is presumed to be about 4,000 years old,” she said. “Different labyrinth types have appeared in many countries across the world. It is an inclusive and accessible space that honours many different cultures and traditions.”

Designed to allow participants to walk mindfully, uninterrupted by obstacles, the installation will be used by University groups to contemplate what they are learning as well as to potentially reduce stress and anxiety.

The space will begin to host regular reflective activities for Wellness Day, Welcome Week, mental health first aid courses, and other on-campus and community initiatives.

“We are all so busy that making time to reflect is more important than ever,” said Grose. “The labyrinth offers the possibility of slowing down and gaining insights into what we want to know and learn. At the very least, it’s a calming walk in our busy schedules.”

Care has also been taken to ensure the installation’s brick pattern allows wheel-chair users to take part, and a finger labyrinth will soon be installed for participants who are unable to travel the path.

Grose said in addition to non-academic units, such as the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre, and Student Life and Community Experience, faculty members and instructors are welcome to use the space as a way to enhance teaching and learning.

“It offers an opportunity for both faculty and students to connect the curriculum that’s being taught to who we are as learners,” said Grose. “It provides a reflective space to think about the ways in which the curriculum impacts us personally as well as the world we live in.”

The formal opening of the labyrinth on May 22 will include an Indigenous women’s drum circle, speeches about the significance of labyrinths in various communities and the inaugural walk on the path.

For further information and resources about the labyrinth, visit Brock’s labyrinth website.

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