Associate Professor Karen N Barbour

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

([email protected])

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; Environment; 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., Burgstaller, H., Claus, J., Cohen, E., Gray, E., Park, S. -R., . . . Waititi, C. (2021). Morphing Moments [Composition]. Hamilton, New Zealand: Waikato Contemporary Dance Projects Trust. Retrieved from

  • Barbour, K. (2021). Doing autoethnography in the more-than-human world: Writing and performing place.. In International Association of Autoethnography and Narrative. online, international. Retrieved from

  • Barbour, K. (2020). Environmental and site dance in Aotearoa New Zealand: Tracing the legacy of Alison East. Dance Research Aotearoa, 6(1), 51-72. doi:10.15663/dra.v6i0.94

  • Barbour, K. (2020). Local acts, global perspectives: From embodiment to activism.. In The Embodiment Conference. online: The Embodiment Conference. Retrieved from

View all research publications by Karen Barbour

Papers Taught


Current PhD research students:

Johanna Claus - Site specific performance rituals in the Anthropocene (Chief supervisor).

Completed PhD students:

Gloria Hinemoa Clarke - Whānau aspirations, extracurricular activity and positive youth development: The leisure activity patterns and narratives of successful young Māori men and how they might inform urban whānau raising tamatāne. (Chief supervisor - completed 2020).

Allison Jeffrey - Women’s Contemporary Yoga Lifestyles: An Embodied Ethnography of Becomings. (Chief supervisor - completed 2020).

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

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

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

External PhD examinations:

Undertaken for Monash University - Australia, 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:

Courtney Richmond - Leadership, pedagogy and facilitation of Integrated Dance classes in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Completed Masters students:

Elias Cohen Braumuller - Everyday mindful (im)Mobilitites: An autoethnography through writing and performance.

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

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

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

Margi Martin - Arts Curriculum in the Solomon Islands.

Raima Hippolite - Māori Experiences of Racism in Sport.

Debbie Bright - Reflective Practice in Dance Making
Jennifer 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