Associate Professor Karen N Barbour

Associate Professor

Qualifications: PhD (Waikato), DipContDance (Unitec), MSocSci (Waikato), BSocSci (Waikato)


About Karen

My research and teaching has focussed around dance, embodiment and creative practice in the arts. I also engage in wider work in women's holistic wellbeing and movement practices, including as a yoga teacher and somatic movement educator.


Composition; Culture; Dance; Education; Film; Pedagogy; Performance; Philosophy; Race and Gender in Sport; Social Movements; Sustainability; Teaching; Theatre; Women and Gender Studies

Choreography, feminist praxis, autoethnography, ethnography, narrative

Research Interests

Site dance

Contemporary Ethnography

Somatic practices in dance

Recent Publications

  • Barbour, K., Clark, M., & Jeffrey, A. (2019). Expanding understandings of wellbeing through researching women’s experiences of intergenerational somatic dance classes. Leisure Studies, 1-14. doi:10.1080/02614367.2019.1653354 Open Access version:

  • Barbour, K. (2019). Backyard activisms: Site dance, permaculture and sustainability. Choreographic Practices, 10(1), 113-125. doi:10.1386/chor.10.1.113_1

  • Barbour, K. (2019). Sheltering Moves - Moving Shelters [Choreographer & Performer]. Hamilton, New Zealand: Waikato Contemporary Dance Projects Trust.

  • Hunter, V., Kloetzel, M., & Barbour, K. (2019). Choreographic Practices Editorial: Dancing Urbanisms. Choreographic Practices, 10(1), 3-6. doi:10.1386/chor.10.1.3_2

View all research publications by Karen Barbour

Papers Taught


Current PhD research students:

Johanna Claus - The potential of interactive site-specific dance ritual to influence  relationships to the environment and the non-human world. (Chief supervisor).

Allison Jeffrey - Yoga and the Modern Western World: An interdisciplinary investigation into the impact of yogic practices on the lived experiences of practitioners. (Chief supervisor).

L. Javier Bartos Perez - The holistic influence of yoga on physical and mental health: A mixed methods design. (Chief supervisor).

Gloria Clarke - Extracurricular activity, whanau aspirations, and Maori boys (supervisor).

Completed PhD students:

Rodrigo Hill - Place imaginaries: Photography and place-making at Te Awa River Ride. (2019).

Ann Easter - Student Experiences of Acceleration into Tertiary Education (2019).

Jo Straker - Meanings of the Outdoors in Outdoor Education (2014).
Debbie Bright - Reflective Practice in the Arts (2010).

External PhD examinations:

Undertaken for The University of Auckland, Deakin University - Australia, The University of New South Wales- Australia, Queensland University of Technology - Australia, The University of the Arts - Finland.

Current Masters students:

E. Cohen Braumuller - Eco-phenomenology and performance.

Completed Masters students:

L. Walus - Teaching for transformation: Reflective practice for transformative dance education in children's community dance.

G. Baker - Every Breath is a Wave. In what ways can contemporary dance making express an ecofeminist perspective.

N. Mtakwa - Factors influencing women’s participation in physical activity during pregnancy.
M. Nemani - Women in the Sport of Body Boarding.

M. Martin - Arts Curriculum in the Solomon Islands.

R. Hippolite - Māori Experiences of Racism in Sport.

D. Bright - Reflective Practice in Dance Making
J. Waggoner - The Ballerina Body Aesthetic

External Masters examinations:

Undertaken for The University of Auckland, The University of Otago, Whitecliff College of the Arts, The University of Cape Town - South Africa.

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Barbour, AProf Karen 7738 karenb I.4.12 Theatre Studies and Dance