Dr Vally Lytra
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)
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
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
Lytra, Vally and Martin, Peter, eds. 2010. Sites of Multilingualism. Complementary Schools in Britain Today. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham. ISBN 1858564549
Lytra, Vally and Jørgensen, J N, eds. 2008. Multilingualism and Identities across Contexts: Cross-disciplinary Perspectives on Turkish-speaking Youth in Europe. University of Copenhagen (Copenhagen Studies in Bilingualism 45). ISBN 879162100-3
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; Ros i Sole, Cristina; Anderson, Jim and Macleroy, Vicky. 2022. 'Conclusion: Language Education Collages'. In: Vally Lytra; Cristina Ros i Sole; Jim Anderson and Vicky Macleroy, eds. Liberating Language Education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, pp. 321-330. ISBN 9781788927932
Lytra, Vally. 2022. Making sense of the internal diversities of Greek schools abroad: Exploring the purposeful use of translation as communicative resource for language learning and identity construction. In: Vally Lytra; Cristina Ros i Sole; Jim Anderson and Vicky Macleroy, eds. Liberating Language Education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, pp. 72-90. ISBN 9781788927932
Lytra, Vally. 2021. Ethnography. In: Stephen Pihlaja, ed. Analysing Religious Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 32-51. ISBN 9781108836135
Lytra, Vally. 2020. Discourse and religion in educational practice. In: Anna De Fina and Alexandra Georgakopoulou, eds. Handbook of Discourse Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 571-592. ISBN 9781108348195
Lytra, Vally. 2020. Faith Communities. In: Karin Tusting, ed. The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Ethnography. Routledge, pp. 312-325. ISBN 9781138938168
Lytra, Vally. 2019. Conclusion. In: Aspasia Chatzidaki; Claudine Kirsch; Argyro Panagiotopoulou and Lisa Rosen, eds. 'New' Migration of Families from Greece to Europe and Canada: A 'New' Challenge for Education? Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 237-252. ISBN 9783658255206
Lytra, Vally. 2018. Faith literacies matter: Reflecting on the role of faith as a force for learning, socialisation and personal and collective identification in young people's lives in a global city. In: A. Fuentes Calle, ed. Languages and Spiritual Traditions. Linguistic Diversity and Religious Diversity in Global Cities. Barcelona: LinguaPax International, pp. 45-56.
Lytra, Vally. 2017. Playful talk, learners’ play frames and the construction of identities. In: S. Wortham; D. Kim and S. May, eds. Encyclopedia of Language and Education. 3 New York: Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-02242-0
Lytra, Vally; Gregory, Eve E. and Ilankuberan, Arani. 2017. Researching children's literacy practices and identities in faith settings: Multimodal text-making and talk about text as resources for knowledge building. In: Marilyn Martin-Jones and Deirdre Martin, eds. Researching Multilingualism: Critical and Ethnographic Perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 215-228. ISBN 9780415748421
Lytra, Vally; Gregory, E. and Ilankuberan, A.. 2016. “Children's representations of the Temple in text and talk in a Tamil Hindu/Saiva faith community in London”. In: V. Lytra; D. Volk and E. Gregory, eds. Navigating Languages, Literacies and Identities: Religion in Young Lives. New York: Routledge, pp. 141-158. ISBN 9781138824249
Lytra, Vally; Volk, Dinah and Gregory, E.. 2016. "Introduction". In: V. Lytra; Dinah Volk and E. Gregory, eds. Navigating Languages, Literacies and Identities: Religion in Young Lives. New York: Routledge, pp. 1-17. ISBN 9781138824249
Fay, Richard; Sifakis, Nicos and Lytra, Vally. 2016. Interculturalities of English as a Lingua Franca: International communication and multicultural awareness in the Greek context. In: P. Holmes and F. Dervin, eds. The Cultural and Intercultural Dimensions of English as a Lingua Franca. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, pp. 67-92. ISBN 9781783095094
Lytra, Vally. 2016. Language and ethnic identity. In: S. Preece, ed. The Routledge Hanbook of Language and Identity. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 131-145. ISBN 978-1-138-77472-8
Lytra, Vally and Muldering, Jane. 2015. Introduction: Analysis of language and significations. In: Paul Smeyers; David Bridges; Nicholas Burbules and Morwenna Griffiths, eds. International Handbook on Interpretation in Educational Research Methods. Springer, pp. 283-285. ISBN 978-9401792813
Lytra, Vally. 2015. Language practices and language ideologies among Turkish-speaking young people in Athens and London. In: Jacomine Nortier and Bente A Svendsen, eds. Language, Youth and Identity in the 21st Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 183-204. ISBN 978-1107016989
Lytra, Vally. 2014. Introduction. In: Vally Lytra, ed. When Greeks and Turks Meet: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Relationship since 1923. Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 1-20. ISBN 978-1409446019
Lytra, Vally. 2014. Multilingualism, multimodality and media engagement in classroom talk and action. In: Jannis Androutsopoulos, ed. Mediatization and Sociolinguistic Change. Mouton: Walter de Gruyter & Co, pp. 245-268. ISBN 978-3110343571
Lytra, Vally. 2013. From kebapçı to professional: The commodification of language discourse and social mobility in Turkish complementary schools in the UK. In: Alexandre Duchene; Melissa Moyer and Celia Roberts, eds. Language, Migration and Social (In)equality. A Critical Sociolinguistic Perspective on Institutions and Work. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, pp. 147-167. ISBN 978-1783090990
Lytra, Vally. 2012. Multilingualism and multimodality. In: Marilyn Martin-Jones; Angela Creese and Adrian Blackledge, eds. Handbook of Multilingualism. Routledge, pp. 543-559. ISBN 978-0415496476
Lytra, Vally; Martin, P; Barac, T and Bhatt, A. 2010. Investigating the intersection of multilingualism and multimodality in Turkish and Gujarati literacy classes. In: Vally Lytra and Peter Martin, eds. Sites of Multilingualism Complementary Schools in Britain Today. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham, pp. 19-31. ISBN 978-1858564548
Lytra, Vally and Barac, T. 2009. Multilingual practices and identity negotiations among Turkish-speaking young people in a diasporic context. In: Anna-Brita Stedström and Annette Myre Jørgensen, eds. Youngspeak in a Multilingual Perspective. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 55-78. ISBN 978-9027254290
Lytra, Vally; Barac, T; Blackledge, Adrian; Bhatt, A; Creese, A; Hamid, S; Martin, Peter; Wu, C-J and Yağcıoğlu-Ali, D. 2008. Language practices, language ideologies and identity construction in London Turkish complementary schools. In: Vally Lytra and J N Jørgensen, eds. Multilingualism and Identities across Contexts: Cross-disciplinary Perspectives on Turkish-speaking Youth in Europe. University of Copenhagen, pp. 15-43.
Lytra, Vally. 2008. Playful talk, learners’ play frames and the construction of identities. In: M Martin-Jones and A-M de Mejia, eds. Encyclopaedia of Language and Education. Springer, pp. 185-197.
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
Slyman, Souad; Gillies, Marco and Lytra, Vally. 2022. Developing an Evaluation Framework for Analysing Educational Simulation Games. Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Games Based Learning, 16(1), pp. 526-534. ISSN 2049-0992
Lytra, Vally and Argyri, Efforsyni (Froso). 2022. Use of technology in homes, schools, and communities in times of rapid change. Languages Today, 38, pp. 25-26.
Lytra, Vally. 2021. The normalcy of linguistic and cultural diversity. Gradient(2), pp. 28-29.
Lytra, Vally; Tharoo, Soukeina; Banfi, Emanuela; Chengyan, Zhan; Costa, Carla; Eleftheriou-Kaparti, Maria; Meyer, Zoe and Schmid-Ilina, Polina. 2020. Honouring multilingual repertoires and identities: Our languages, our stories. EAL Journal, Autumn, pp. 18-21.
Ioannidou, Elena; Karatsareas, Petros; Lytra, Vally and Tsiplakou, Stavroula. 2020. Why and how to integrate non-standard linguistic varieties into education: Greek Cypriot Greek in Cyprus and the UK. Languages, Society and Policy, pp. 1-9.
Lytra, Vally. 2020. Revisiting language and religion in a post-secular world. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 24(1), pp. 126-138. ISSN 1360-6441
Lytra, Vally and Ilankuberan, Arani. 2020. Syncretising ways of doing, seeing and becoming in children's faith-inspired text-making and conversations around texts at home. Language and Intercultural Communication, 20(5), pp. 433-449. ISSN 1470-8477
Lytra, Vally; Gregory, Eve E. and Ilankuberan, Arani. 2017. “Faith matters: Rethinking home learning of children from different faiths”. EAL Journal, Summer, pp. 30-31. ISSN 2398-8533
Lytra, Vally; Gregory, Eve E. and Ilankuberan, Arani. 2016. Bridging faith, languages and learning in London: A faith teacher reflects upon pedagogy in religious instruction classes. Language and Education, 30(6), pp. 554-569. ISSN 0950-0782
Gregory, Eve E.; Lytra, Vally and Ilankuberan, Arani. 2015. “Divine games and rituals: How Tamil Saiva/Hindu siblings learn faith practices through play”. International Journal of Play, 4(1), pp. 69-83. ISSN 2159-4937
Lytra, Vally. 2014. Revisiting discourses of language, identity and community in a transnational context through a commemorative book project. Multilingua, 33(5-6), pp. 551-574. ISSN 0167-8507
Gregory, Eve E.; Lytra, Vally; Choudhury, Halimun; Ilankuberan, Arani; Kwapong, Amoafi and Woodham, Malgozarta. 2013. Syncretism as a creative act of mind: The narratives of children from four faith communities in London. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 13(3), pp. 322-347. ISSN 1468-7984
Gregory, Eve E.; Lytra, Vally; Ilankuberan, Arani; Choudhury, Halimun; Kwapong, Amoafi and Woodham, Malgozarta. 2012. Translating Faith: Field Narratives as a Means of Dialogue in Collaborative Ethnographic Research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 11(3), pp. 195-213. ISSN 1609-4069
Lytra, Vally. 2012. Discursive constructions of language and identity: parents' competing perspectives in London Turkish complementary schools. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 33(1), pp. 85-100. ISSN 0143-4632
Lytra, Vally. 2011. Negotiating Language, Culture and Pupil Agency in Complementary School Classrooms. Linguistics and Education, 22(1), pp. 23-36. ISSN 0898-5898
Fay, R; Lytra, Vally and Ntavaliagkou, M. 2010. Multicultural awareness through English: A potential contribution of TESOL to Greek schools. Intercultural Education, 21(5), pp. 581-595. ISSN 1467-5986
Lytra, Vally. 2009. Constructing academic hierarchies: Teasing and identity work among peers at school. Pragmatics, 19(3), pp. 449-466. ISSN 1018-2101
Lytra, Vally. 2007. Teasing in contact encounters: Frames, participant positions and responses. Multilingua, 26(4), pp. 381-408. ISSN 0167-8507
Lytra, Vally. 2011. 40+ Years Greek School of Lausanne. Parents’ Association Greek School of Lausanne, Lausanne.
Further profile content
2022: Liberating Language Education
2016: Navigating Languages, Literacies and Identities: Religion in Young Lives
2014: When Greeks and Turks Meet: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Relationship since 1923
2010: Sites of Multilingualism: Complementary Schools in Britain Today
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.