Ferne Caulker-Bronson is originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa. She came to Milwaukee for her final year of high school, graduating from Custer High. Notes her biographical statement on the website of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is on the faculty, "Her research on the connectivity between African culture and its aesthetic presence throughout the Diaspora have taken her to Ghana in 1969 and 2011, London in 2010, South Carolina/Gullah Culture 2006 to present, and Tanzania, East Africa in 1995."
After her return from Ghana in 1969, Ms. Caulker-Bronson founded the Ko-Thi Dance Company. The company was created to develop, educate, showcase and preserve African, Caribbean and African-American dance and music. In the beginning, she created the company's entire repertoire. However, through the years, she developed and nurtured veteran choreographer/dancers and musicians who now contribute into the repertoire. Over the course of decades, Caulker has developed a cadre of commissioned works by master dancers and musicians from throughout the African Diaspora.
Caulker-Bronson began teaching at the UW-Milwaukee in 1971, creating the university's first courses covering African, Caribbean and African-American dance technique and history. Shen then became a full professor in UWM's dance department.
In 1995, Caulker-Bronson received a Fulbright Research Fellowship, which allowed her to study in Tanzania, East Africa, for three months. While doing her own research, Caulker-Bronson also taught at the University of Dar es Salaam, lectured children in the Arusha United African American Cultural Center, and assisted a UWASA cultural group. In 1999, Caulker-Bronson served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Arts in Education for the Wisconsin State Superintendent. The following year, she served on a dance panel for the National Endowment for the Arts. She has proudly served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Arts Board.