Arts Integration in Northland, New Zealand:

A case of socially empowered learning


  • Barbara Helen Snook University of Auckland
  • Ralph Buck University of Auckland
  • Brittany Harker Martin University of Calgary


arts integration curriculum pedagogy


This article presents a comprehensive case study on arts integration with students from a small, rural New Zealand school. In the spirit of mixed-methods triage (Martin, 2018c), three researchers come together from different parts of the world to present findings from their different perspectives and experience. Ralph Buck and Barbara Snook from the University of Auckland offer their qualitative research findings with Brittany Martin of the University of Calgary adding her quantitative research findings. The authors outline the process and procedures of the studies and provide an overview of the methodological base from which findings were drawn. Research participants were six generalist primary teachers and their 61 students. The findings from this study and resulting themes have potential transferability for teachers and students attempting to implement arts integration in other locations. Overall, findings support the notion that through arts integration, teachers and their students may become socially empowered.

Author Biographies

Ralph Buck, University of Auckland

Associate Professor Ralph Buck

Associate Professor Ralph Buck is an award-winning teacher and academic leader. Ralph’s research has been featured at the UNESCO Second World Conference on Arts Education. He is on the International Editorial Boards of Research in Dance Education (RIDE) and Journal of Dance Education (JODE). He has collaborated with UNESCO in raising the profile in arts education around the world. He initiated, advocated for and planned UNESCO’s International Arts Education Week. He is on the Council for the World Alliance for Arts Education. Ralph’s research and publications focus upon dance teaching and learning and community dance.


Brittany Harker Martin, University of Calgary

Brittany Harker Martin’s work sits at the intersection of Arts, Leadership, and Learning. She is an Arts Education Specialist (B.Ed, Arts Ed: art, dance, drama, literature, music) with a PhD in Strategy and Global Management (beta gamma sigma). Her expertise spans arts integration, workshop/program design, professional development, the virtual workplace, collaboration, innovation, and cognition. Her talent is in translating learning outcomes into engaging, customized learning experiences. She has taught every age group (preschool to grad school), excels at public speaking, and has extensive experience in the classroom and teaching on-line. Brittany is an interdisciplinary scholar, currently employed as an Assistant Professor of Leadership at the Werklund School of Education with past positions at the Haskayne School of Business (UofC), and the Bissett School of Business (MRU). Dr. Martin is the Director of the Werklund Youth Leadership Centre and Lead Researcher of the Socially Empowered Learning Program.