Associate Professor Ralph McKay Buck

PhD, MA, BEd


Dr Ralph Buck is an award winning teacher and academic leader. Ralph’s teaching has been recognised with an Excellence Award in Equal Opportunities for Community Teaching, 2006; University of Auckland Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award, 2008; and, Academic Leadership Award, 2010. Ralph’s research has been featured at the UNESCO Second World Conference on Arts Education; the University of Auckland ‘Research Works Wonders’ website and on New Zealand television. He is a Principal Investigator with the Centre for Brain Research, and has published in leading peer reviewed journals. Ralph is also on the International Editorial Boards of Research in Dance Education (RIDE) and Journal of Dance education (JODE) the two world leading journals in this field.

Ralph has invested much time and energy in building international partnerships in arts education. He has collaborated with UNESCO in raising the profile in Arts Education around the world. He co-initiated, advocated for and planned UNESCO’s International Arts Education Week. He is on the Executive Council of the World Alliance for Arts Education that represents over 3 million arts educators in school and communities. Ralph has provided master classes, and keynote addresses in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Brisbane, Taipei, Beijing, Suva and Auckland. His research and publications focus upon dance teaching and learning, and community dance. 

Research | Current

  • Dance education theory and practice
  • Dance pedagogy
  • Community Dance
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Dance curriculum

Teaching | Current

Courses currently taught include:

DANCE 131 Dance Education

DANCE 722 Dance Education and Community Dance Research


  • The University of Auckland Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award, 2008
  • The University of Auckland, Excellence Award in Equal Opportunities: Community Dance Programme, 2006
  • Faculty Academic Leadership Award, 2010


Head of Dance Studies

Associate Dean, Equity and International, NICAI

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Riegle van West, K., Stinear, C., & Buck, R. (2018). The Effects of Poi on Physical and Cognitive Function in Healthy Older Adults.. Journal of aging and physical activity. 10.1123/japa.2017-0273
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Cathy Stinear
  • Buck, R., & Rowe, N. (2016). Talking Dance: Contemporary Histories from the South Pacific. I.B.Tauris. Pages: 256.
  • Rowe, N. G., Buck, R. M., & Shapiro-Phim, T. (2016). Talking Dance: Contemporary Histories from the South China Sea. London: IB Tauris. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nicholas Rowe
  • Buck, R. M., & Jeffrey, E. R. (2015). Empowering Dance in Our Communities: Making the Connections Visible. Paper presented at The 13th World Congress of Dance and the Child International (daCi): TWIST& TWIN – Exploring identities in dance, Copenhagen, Denmark. 5 July - 10 July 2015. Related URL.
  • Buck, R. (2015). Stepping back to step forward: Reflections on future directions for dance education. Dance Education around the World: Perspectives on dance, young people and change (pp. 161-167). New York, NY: Routledge. Related URL.
  • Buck, R., & Rowe, N. (2015). Threshold concepts, academic identity and arts curricula design: Dr.Who and Indiana Jones traverse learning landscapes for dance. In M. Fleming, L. Bresler, O'Toole J (Eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of the Arts and Education (pp. 170-184). New York, NY: Routledge. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nicholas Rowe
  • Rowe, N., Buck, R., & Martin, R. (2015). The gaze or the groove? Emerging themes from the New Meanings and Pathways: Community Dance and Dance Education Symposium in Beijing. Research in Dance Education, 16 (2), 184-197. 10.1080/14647893.2014.985200
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nicholas Rowe, Rose Martin
  • Buck, R. (2014). World alliance for arts education: A reflection upon seven years of advocacy. International Journal of Education Through Art, 10 (2), 189-203. 10.1386/eta.10.2.189_1

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 5, Room 516
New Zealand