Dr Lou Harvey

Dr Lou Harvey


I joined the team at Leeds in January 2014. A first-generation university student, I studied English Language and Literature at the University of Edinburgh, after which I completed my CELTA, taught English as a Foreign Language in Edinburgh, and then moved to Bratislava, Slovakia, where I taught English for two years. After another short period of teaching in Scotland, this time in Glasgow, I taught English for Academic Purposes and tutored on the Manchester Leadership Programme during my ESRC-funded postgraduate study at University of Manchester.

I am a keen choral singer, recovering pianist and dilettante fiction writer, and am fascinated by how we communicate and learn at the intersections of art and language.


  • Director of Postgraduate Research Studies

Research interests

I am an education researcher specialising in learning at the intersection of language and the arts, particularly in intercultural, public engagement and post-conflict contexts. My current interests lie in theorising the relationship between learning and voice in arts-based, collaborative and co-produced research. I co-founded and co-convene the AILA Research Network on Creative Inquiry and Applied Linguistics, with Jessica Bradley (University of Sheffield) and Emilee Moore (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona).

I lead the AHRC International Research Network Communicating the Unsayable: Learning at the Intersection of Language and the Arts, with colleagues at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and partners Leeds Libraries, Pudsey Wellbeing Charity, The British Museum and Museu de Lleida. I am Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded project Youth Accountability and Deaf Inclusion in South Africa (led by Professor Paul Cooke), which builds on GCRF projects in South Africa in 2018 and 2019 investigating the relationship between participatory arts, learning, voice and leadership for children and youth. I also lead the Consolidating Learning strand of the AHRC project Changing the Story, which asks how the arts, heritage, and human rights education can support youth-centred approaches to civil society building in post-conflict settings across the world.

I have led various co-produced projects developing drama and performance as intercultural pedagogy in public education, adult migrant language education, and higher education, with funding from the Arts Council and the Society for Research into Higher Education. I was a University Engagement Fellow in 2016-17 and in 2017 I won the University of Leeds Public Engagement with Research Award for The Translator, an adaptation of my doctoral research for public performance produced by theatre company Cap-a-Pie and performed at Slung Low in Holbeck.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Language Education (2014) (awarded with no corrections)
  • MSc Educational Research (2010) (Distinction)
  • MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (2008) (Distinction)
  • MA (Hons) English Language and Literature (2005) (First Class)

Professional memberships

  • Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)
  • International Association of Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC)

Student education

I supervise PhD students working in the areas of learning and creative practice, peace and development education, migrant integration and education, and decolonisation and social justice in higher education. I welcome inquiries for projects related to learning and creative practice in a range of educational settings.

I also lead and co-teach undergraduate and postgraduate modules on research methods; education, language and social justice; and creative inquiry.

Research groups and institutes

  • ICY: Inclusion, Childhood & Youth Research Centre

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>