Richard Fay


  • Ellen Wilkinson Building (B3.14), Oxford Road

    M13 9PL Manchester

    United Kingdom

Personal profile


PhD (Education), MusM (Ethnomusicology), MEd TESOL, Dip.TEFLA, BA English Language & Literature

I am a critical intercultural educator working across disciplines (including: language education, language teacher education, music education, researcher education, and global mental health).  

Equipped with a BA in English Language and Literature (from Jesus College, University of Oxford) and teacher qualifications, I became a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) practitioner in the UK and overseas before a short spell in corpus-based lexicography at Birmingham University/COBUILD.

I then took my MEd TESOL (1993) and this enabled my second career as a language teacher educator for TESOL practitioners. I joined The University of Manchester in 1994 as a Lecturer in Education (TESOL), and so began a career in language teacher education that has now lasted some 30 years. How it happened, I don't know, but many more years now lie behind me than stretch ahead.

Reflecting on those three decades, I remember that the word "intercultural" was not part of the university's lexicon back in 1994. Although I didn't plan it so, I realise that my main project over these years has been the introduction of critical intercultural thinking into teaching, supervision, training, research, and social responsibility and community engagement activities. This intercultural project has progressed collaboratively, avoiding disciplinary silos, instead engaging with diverse perspectives voiced through multiple languages - an intentional challenge to the locally-dominant ideology about what is valued in research.

In teaching, over these three decades the 'intercultural' has been embedded within undergraduate and postgraduate programmes (e.g. BA Language, Literacy & Communication; MA TESOL) as well as being the focus of whole programmes (e.g. MA Intercultural Communication). The core of the interdisciplinary Manchester Global Award was also intercultural. And these developments occurred within my 'home' discipline (Education), but also more widely in the Faculty of Humanities and in the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning. They involved onsite teaching but also intercultural distance learning materials development within the University and beyond (for the Hellenic Open University, and the British Council).

From teaching to training, I've delivered intercultural workshops for incoming and outgoing Study Abroad students, for the university's security team, for new doctoral students, for new academic staff, and as part of the Institute for Teaching and Learning. The generative power of the intercultural project can be seen, for example, in my teaching not only in Education (e.g. the core module, Language Education as Intercultural Practice) but also in the Music Department (where I developed an Intercultural Musicking space through Klezmer Ensemble Performance).

Social Responsibility has become the underlying focus in all of the above activities. For example, the language teacher education area has been applied in refugee education both locally and overseas; and the musicking now involves klezmer in the community (e.g. music-based events with Holocaust survivors) and in the service of well-being (through music-based reminiscence sessions with those living with dementia).

Over the years, my research (often collaborative, interdisciplinary, and multilingual in character) has focused on intercultural aspects of:

• Language Education
• Language Teacher Education
• Distance Education
• Online Education
• Researcher Education
• Refugee Education
• Music Education.

From considerations of the intercultural purpose of teaching English as a Lingua Franca, to narrative study of the zones of interculturality evident in the multilingualism of elderly Sephardic Jews in Bulgaria, to problematisation of the binary understandings of social inclusion in refugee education in Greece, to exploration of the intercultural musicking potential of klezmer ensemble performance being taken into the community, to critiques of the Anglo-centric tendencies within research, to arguing for academic life to embrace the plurilingualism of staff and students as a means of developing a rich and diverse epistemological ecology, to reviewing interculturally-inclined linguistic practices in Global Mental Health, to supervising often narratively-undertaken doctoral studies focusing on some aspect of the intercultural as supported through our LANTERN researcher community ... thus, the intercultural project I have been engaged with all these years has extended far beyond my initial language teacher education concerns.

It has been very pleasing to have received recognition for some of these activities: in 2013 becoming Teacher of the Year for the Humanities for my work supporting early career researchers in the LANTERN community; and in 2022 being a finalist in the Making a Difference in Social Responsibility (through Teaching Innovation) for my klezmer-in-the-community extension of teaching.

In the most recent phase of my intercultural career, I have increasingly become a mentor for a strong and diverse new generation of interculturalists with whom I'm privileged to work and have as colleagues. Whether in Education, or Music, the intercultural project is in safe hands as the university continues to prepare people for engagement with an interculturally complex world as it continues to develop its engagement with that world in an ethos of social responsibility and equity.


MA TESOL (Intercultural education pathway):

  • Language Education as Intercultural Practice
  • Developing Researcher Competence
  • Principled Materials and Course Design
  • Dissertations on intercultural topics (often using narrative methods).

Also, as part of the MusB programme:

  • Ensemble Performance (klezmer) 

Leadership Roles - Previously:

  • Programme Director for the MEd in English Language Teaching programme (1997-2005);
  • ERASMUS Co-ordinator for the School of Education (2001-2011);
  • joint Programme Director for the MA in Intercultural Communication (2011-2018);
  • joint Academic Lead the Manchester Global Challenge Award for the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning (2013-2018); and
  • Academic Lead for the LANTERN Doctoral community (since 2005).

Additionally, I co-founded the university's klezmer ensemble (the Michael Kahan Kapelye) in 2011 and have co-directed it ever since.

International Experience - Argentina , Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Kenya, Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, Uruguay.

Research interests

Currently engaging with

  • intercultural aspects of language (teacher) education - including: Teaching English for Intercultural communication, cultural and intercultural aspects of Teaching English as a lingua franca, and appropriate methodology. 
  • intercultural aspects of researcher education - including: developing researcher competence, researching multilingually and the langaging of research, translingual researcher mindset and intercultural researcher ethics, linguistic plurality and epistemologcal plurality.   
  • intercultural aspects of music education - including: klezmer ensemble performance, appropriate (not appropriative) methodology, intercultural musicking, reflective performer practices, and performing ethnmusicology.  
  • intercultural education - including: citizenship education, global  citizenship and intercultural citizenship.
  • Jewish studies - including: Ladino narratives (oral history).

Further information

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities


  • Intercultural education
  • language education
  • researcher education
  • intercultural musicking
  • researching multilingually
  • refugee education
  • Social Responsibility
  • Community engagement
  • klezmer


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