Biographical profile

JD Christmas 2011-12 bw

Born and grew up in the Charnwood Forest area of Leicestershire, UK.

Studied at Cardiff College of Art, UK.

Since 1965 I have practiced zazen – Zen meditation. I consider myself to be a sceptical secular Buddhist unaffiliated to any particular school.

I am currently Honorary Associate Professor in Theology & Religion at Exeter University.

I am also Buddhist chaplain at Exeter Uni. – where I contribute to the work of a multi-faith team – providing guidance in secular mindfulness meditation and Buddhist practice for staff and students. I also act as guide to Exeter Meditation Circle.

Now retired from University of Plymouth – where until 2012 I was University Teaching Fellow and Associate Professor in art practice and philosophy.

I also run workshops: exploring the relationship between the ideas and practices of Zen Buddhism and philosophical scepticism; and, developing mindful meditation in relation to visual art, vocal sound and poetry.

My inter-disciplinary research interests include: scepticism, Buddhism, Daoism, mysticism, learning & teaching, natural history and self-construction (the self-as-process) – and the way these bodies of thought and practice are manifested in art, poetry and music. These themes are explored in drawings, writings (book, essay, poetic text) and seminar or workshop presentations.

Until its close in 2019 I was a member of the Editorial Board of Internet Journal: Consciousness, Literature and the Arts The board is international in representation, implements a policy of peer review and provides a forum for innovative inter-disciplinary ideas.

Exhibitions & performances

Since the 1970s I have exhibited drawings, paintings, installations, performance works and art actions in galleries, museums and universities in the UK, Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA. Paintings and drawings are to be found in public and private collections in the UK, Canada, USA and Australia.


Publications include essays for exhibition catalogues, chapters in books, book reviews and two monographs:

2006. Picturing Mind: Paradox, Indeterminacy and Consciousness in Art & Poetry. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, pp.368.

May 2012. Agents of uncertainty: mysticism, scepticism, Buddhism, art and poetry. Rodopi: Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2012, 219 pp. ISBN: 978-90-420-3512-6

Dec. 2016. Interwoven Nature: relatedness and identity in a changeful world. Whitewick Press: UK. 187 pp. ISBN: 0995678901

June 2020. To see the light: 100 poems. Whitewick Press: UK. 125pp. ISBN: 9780995678910

Poems published in: 

Iconolatre, Second Aeon, The Cannon’s Mouth, Poetry Salzburg Review,  Urthona – Journal of Buddhism and the Arts, erbacce, The Journal, and The London Magazine.

Conference presentations

Refereed papers and presentations have been made at conferences in the UK, Israel, Finland, Malta, Holland, Norway and New York – including numerous contributions to conferences organised by ISSEI (the International Society for the Study of European Ideas), DPR (Discourse Power Resistance) and CLA (Consciousness Literature and the Arts).

Recent presentations include:

2009    May  Refereed paper:Smoke without fire: some thoughts on Leonardo’s sfumato, at Consciousness, Theatre, Literature & the Arts, Third International Conference. University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK

2009    June  Refereed paper: Zack hitti zopp: creativity, Buddhism & the arts, at Buddha Mind: Creative Mind conference. Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Taplow Court, Maidenhead, UK.

2009    Sept. Refereed paper: Kith & kin: on being at home in the world, at All Our Futures 2: getting real – investing in our future – by design, international conference, Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth, UK.

2010    July.  Refereed paper: Creative Awakening: Buddhism, Art and Everyday Life, at Creative Awakening Seminar Series – Seminar One: Ordinary or Extraordinary Living. Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Taplow Court, Maidenhead, UK.

2011    June. Refereed paper: Buddhism, Mind & Nature: Being-at-home-in-the-world, at Creative Awakening Seminar Series – Seminar Three: Nature, Dao & Buddhism. Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Taplow Court, Maidenhead, UK.

Other teaching

Fellowships: Cardiff College of Art; Winchester School of Art; Exeter College of Art.

Visiting lecturer at: Cardiff College of Art; Winchester School of Art: museums & colleges in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Australia; Vancouver City Art Gallery, Canada; Chelsea School of Art; Coventry School of Art; University of Wales Institute, Cardiff; Loyola University, N. Orleans, USA; Sharpham College, Devon; Dartington College of Arts; Hochschule der Kunste, Bern, Switzerland.


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