Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Contact Details

Dr Lou Harvey

Lecturer in Language Education

I am an intercultural and narrative researcher specialising in motivation for language and intercultural learning in higher education contexts. My recent work takes a dialogical approach to motivation based on the work of M. M. Bakhtin, using his concept of ideological becoming to interpret language learning motivation as part of a broader process of learning to be in the world. I am also interested in artistic and performative approaches to language and educational research, in the processes of knowledge creation that take place in collaboration between academics and arts practitioners, and in how these processes may facilitate more critical and ecological understandings of impact and engagement within and outwith the academy. I am currently developing a research network on these themes with colleagues at the universities of Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and the West of England.

I joined the team at Leeds in January 2014 as Lecturer in TESOL, having been involved in TESOL since 2004. After a brief stint teaching in private language schools in Edinburgh, I taught EFL and EAP in Bratislava, Slovakia for two years, interrupted by a brief but happy period teaching in Glasgow. I then taught in the private and public sectors in Manchester during my postgraduate study. Most recently I taught EAP at the University of Manchester. At Leeds I teach modules on social and cultural aspects of language education and education in multilingual contexts, and I co-coordinate the BA in English, Language and Education (with Mohammad Ahmadian). I am also Deputy Director of the Centre for Language Education Research.

Research Interests

My major research interests are the sociocultural and affective aspects of motivation for language and intercultural learning and language desire, linguistic hospitality, sociocultural and poststructural theory, the internationalisation of higher education, early career researchers' experiences and development, and ecological engagement and social justice in higher education. My methodological interests lie in narrative research, and in the development of ethical, decolonising and dialogic methods in language learning and intercultural communication.

In June-July 2015 I took part in the DARE edition of Leeds Creative Labs, teaming up with Newcastle-based theatre company Cap-a-Pie to adapt my doctoral research for performance. We created a short interactive performance, Up and up and up towards, which we performed as part of the Creative Lab and at a Shared Space showcase within the university. We have recently been awarded funding from the university's Public Engagement team to perform the piece at Leeds Light Night in October 2016. 

In June 2016 I was awarded the Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE) Prize for Newer Researchers for the project Developing Dramatic Enquiry for intercultural learning among UK HE students. This is a co-produced endeavour with Cap-a-Pie to develop a drama-based methodology for researching students' intercultural experiences and enhancing their intercultural learning.



I currently teach three modules on the BA English, Language and Education: EDUC1009 Education in a Multilingual World, EDUC1051 Language, Learners and Society, and EDUC3000 Final Year Project. I have also taught teaching practice modules at BA and MA level. 

PhD Supervision

I supervise doctoral students researching the relationship between language learning and identity. These include studies of online interaction and identity among Chinese teenagers (with Martin Lamb); the motivation and personality development of Russian immigrant children in UK schools (with James Simpson); the development of Russian academic sojourners' voice trajectories (with James Simpson); and the relationship between Korean language proficiency and professionalism among foreign English teachers in Korea (with Martin Lamb).

I would be glad to hear from students with interests in sociocultural and poststructural approaches to language learner identity, language learning motivation, intercultural learning, language desire, international higher education and the higher education student experience. I have a strong preference for qualitative approaches, and ideas for innovative methodologies are particularly welcome.

Key Publications

Journal Articles


  • Harvey L, ‘Foreign Language Motivation and Social Identity Development’, in Social Identities and Multiple Selves in Foreign Language Education, ed. by Rivers D and Houghton S (Bloomsbury, 2013)

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