Associate Professor Karen N Barbour

Karen Barbour

Associate Professor

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

Personal Website:

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.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised

Current PhD research students:

Frances Libeau (Duncan) - Human-animal-machine (id)entities in postindustrial Aotearoa: a performance assemblage.

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 (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 University of York - Canada; 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:

Completed Masters students:

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

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 Alberta - Canada;The University of Otago; Whitecliff College of the Arts; The University of Cape Town - South Africa.

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

  • Jeffrey, A., Barbour, K., & Thorpe, H. (2021). Entangled yoga bodies. Somatechnics, 11(3), 340-358. doi:10.3366/soma.2021.0364

  • Barbour, K. N. (2021). Praxis and advocacy: Doing ethnography on the ground. In J. Kidd, K. N. Barbour, & R. E. Rinehart (Eds.), Ethnographic Borders and Boundaries: Permeability, Plasticity, and Possibilities (pp. 19-21).

  • Rinehart, R. E., Kidd, J., & Barbour, K. N. (2021). Ethnographic borders and boundaries: Permeability, plasticity, and possibilities. Peter Lang. doi:10.3726/b15947

Find more research publications by Karen Barbour


Arts and Language Education; Composition; Culture; Dance; Doctoral Education; Education; Environment; Experiential Learning; Film; Gender; Pedagogy; Performance; Philosophy; Race and Gender in Sport; Social Movements; Sustainability; Teaching; Theatre; Women and Gender Studies

Choreography, feminist praxis, autoethnography, ethnography, narrative, activism