Dr Vally Lytra

Staff details

Dr Vally Lytra


Head of Mphil/PhD


Educational Studies


v.lytra (@gold.ac.uk)

Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups

Vally investigates multilingualism in society and language education in migration and minority contexts

I’m passionate about multilingualism in society and language education in migration and minority contexts. My research, practice and community engagement focuses on recognising and leveraging the entire language and cultural repertoires of multilingual users as resources for learning, teaching and the negotiation of identities. I work across sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, and language education. I’m Director of Postgraduate Research and lead the MPhil/PhD in Education.

I completed my BA in English Language and Literature at the University of Athens, Greece. I continued with my graduate studies first at Georgetown University, Washington DC (MSc Applied Linguistics, 1996) with a Fulbright award and then at King's College London (PhD Sociolinguistics, 2003) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board and the Saripolos Bequest, University of Athens. I have lectured at London Universities and at the English Department, University of Bern, in Switzerland.

Teaching and supervision

I'm currently supervising the following doctoral students:
• Büşra Akgün Ezin
• Steve Dixon-Smith, SeNSS studentship
• Lydiya Petrova
• Sasha McKoy
• Sara Shahwan
• Joachim Oppenheim
• Cristina Sara Zaror
• Shahina Sultana
• Becky Winstanley, CHASE Collaborative Doctoral Award (second supervisor)
• Mohammad Nooruddine Syed, University of Mauritius (associate supervisor)

Research interests

I’m a member of the Centre for Language, Culture and Learning. I have conducted fieldwork in Greece, the UK, and Switzerland in homes, schools, and communities that have experienced increased diversities and inequalities.

My research interests include:
• community and minority languages education
• inclusive language pedagogies
• faith literacies
• language, ethnicity, and diaspora
• language ideologies
• family language policy
• international education
• (auto)ethnographic, biographical, and collaborative research methodologies

Recent and ongoing research projects and collaborations are:
•2017-present: ‘Reconfiguring Greek language education abroad for a global age’. Principal Investigator
•2020-2021: Virtual events series ‘Re-imagining language education during and after Covid-19: opportunities, challenges and possible futures’ with Froso Argyri (UCL), Jim Andrerson (Goldsmiths), Merle Mahon (UCL), Vicky Macleroy (Goldsmiths), Dina Mehmedbegovic-Smith (UCL) and Cristina Ros i Solé (Goldsmiths)
•July 2020-September 2020: ‘Making sense of teachers’ and parents’ experiences with online teaching and learning in the Covid-19 pandemic’. Principal Investigator
•2020-2023: ‘Investigation of adolescent digital literacy practices for the design of Modern Greek Language teaching to youth of new migration background’ (PI: Dimitris Koutsogiannis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece). Project advisor
•March-July 2022: ‘Makers, advocates, and users of language policy as co-creators of sociolinguistic research: onward migrants in London’, Co-I with Petros Karatsareas, PI (Westminster), Adriana Patino-Santos, Co-I (Southampton), Manolis Pratsinakis, Co-I (Oxford). Funder: Research England
•March-July 2022: ‘Migrant food, languages, and identities in the dawn of the post-Brexit and COVID-19 era’, Co-I with Petros Karatsareas PI (Westminster), Anna Charalambidou (CI- Middlesex University), Siria Guzzo (University of Salerno). Funder: Research England

Publications and research outputs


Lytra, Vally. 2007. Play Frames and Social Identities. Contact Encounters in a Greek Primary School. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 978-9027254078

Edited Book

Lytra, Vally; Ros i Sole, Cristina; Anderson, Jim and Macleroy, Vicky, eds. 2022. Liberating Language Education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. ISBN 9781788927932

Lytra, Vally; Volk, Dinah and Gregory, Eve E., eds. 2016. Religion in Young Lives: Navigating Language, Literacies and Identities. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1138824249

Lytra, Vally, ed. 2014. When Greeks and Turks Meet: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Relationship Since 1923. Farnham, Surrey; Burlington, VT: Ashgate. ISBN 978-1-4094-4602-6

Book Section

Lytra, Vally and Karatsareas, Petros. 2023. Community language education in Greece and Cyprus: An afterword. In: Nikos Gogonas, ed. Heritage Language Education in Greece and Cyprus. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 190-214. ISBN 9781527535756

Lytra, Vally. 2023. Introduction to Part 1: Appraising the ‘multilingual turn’ in applied linguistics and sociolinguistics. In: Steph Ainsworth; Dominic Griffiths; Gee Macrory and Kate Pahl, eds. Multimodality and Multilingualism: Towards an Integrative Approach. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, pp. 3-14. ISBN 9781800413375

Lytra, Vally; Ros i Sole, Cristina; Anderson, Jim and Macleroy, Vicky. 2022. Introduction: Why Liberating Language Education? In: Vally Lytra; Cristina Ros i Sole; Jim Anderson and Vicky Macleroy, eds. Liberating Language Education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, pp. 1-20. ISBN 9781788927932


Lytra, Vally and Gelir, Iskender. 2023. Negotiating Monolingual Official Language Policy at the Nexus of Locally Situated Language Practices and Dominant Language Ideologies in a Language Minority Context. International Journal of Early Childhood, 55(3), pp. 313-329. ISSN 0020-7187

Lytra, Vally. 2023. Greek heritage language teachers as emergency grassroots policy makers: reconciling learner centred responses with textbook heavy pedagogies during COVID-19 lockdown. Current Issues in Language Planning, ISSN 1466-4208

Lytra, Vally; Darzenta, Katerina; Atzemian, Myrto and Eleftheriou Kapartis, Maria. 2023. Enhancing children’s early language and emergent literacy in a Greek pre-kindergarten heritage language classroom through a translingual and transcultural stance. Babylonia, 1 2023, pp. 58-63. ISSN 1420-0007


Lytra, Vally. 2011. 40+ Years Greek School of Lausanne. Parents’ Association Greek School of Lausanne, Lausanne.

Professional projects

I have a long-standing commitment to supporting community languages and bilingual education. I co-founded and I’m president of the managing committee of a school for children and adult learners of Greek in Lausanne. I’m school governor of Azbuka, a Russian-English bilingual school in London and invited expert at the Bilingual Education Alliance, a professional network of bilingual schools in England.