The Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance

The Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance was established in 2003 and honours Caroline Plummer (1978-2003).

The annual fellowship is for six months (usually February until July), and is open to community dance practitioners, teachers and researches from New Zealand and overseas who have a proposed programme of activity, or project, that furthers Caroline's belief and aspirations for community dance in New Zealand. It provides the recipient with an office/dance space and not less than the minimum salary of a fulltime University Lecturer for a six-month period.

Caroline Plummer's website

Go to Caroline's website to learn more about her

Previous Fellowship recipients

Michael Parmenter image

Michael Parmenter

Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance 2022

Eminent choreographer, dance practitioner and educator Michael Parmenter MNZM is the 2022 Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance.

Parmenter studied dance in New York in the 1980s before forming the dance company Commotion in 1990, performing notable works including the dance opera Jerusalem.

He was 2010 Arts Foundation Laureate and his choreographic credits include work for Footnote Dance Company, the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Dance Company. His recent work includes dance opera OrphEus, which premiered at the 2018 Auckland Arts Festival. He has taught at the New Zealand School of Dance and UNITEC.

His project will involve directing weekly community classes and workshop events and staging a public folk ball.

“I also intend to undertake a personal research project examining our own folk/social dance tradition. The historical resources of the Hocken Collections and the studio space available will enable me to undertake a unique conflation of academic and somatic research.”

Returning to the city of his birth, where he first started dance, will feed into research on how identity informs creativity.

“Through the Fellowship I’ll be able to examine personally, and culturally, the question of origins. While my specific intention is to conjecture what a folk/social dance form appropriate to Aotearoa New Zealand in the 21st century might be, this must be done within the context of an awareness of where we come from. Spending time in Dunedin will give me a wonderful pivot point from which to situate this ‘from-to’ perspective.”

“When I first returned to Dunedin in the mid-70s, I was a confused and disturbed teenager, and during my time at university I certainly didn’t fulfil my potential. I am very excited by the prospect of returning to the University of Otago at a time where my life experience in dance and my academic career is cohering in an exciting new direction.”


Otago Fellows University of Otago