photo of Julia Sutherland

Dr Julia Sutherland

Post:Senior Lecturer in Education (Education)
Location:ESSEX HOUSE EH 252

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 877957
International:+44 1273 877957

Research expertise:
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Julia came to the University of Sussex from a 16-year teaching career specialising in English, in secondary, tertiary and higher education, latterly as Head of undergraduate, A Level and GCSE provision at Harlow College. She has considerable prior experience of teaching English language and literature across the full range of courses, from early secondary to undergraduate level and has been involved in extensive curriculum development and widening participation activities. 

At Sussex, Julia led and greatly expanded the PGCE in English and developed a new, interdisciplinary BA in English Education Studies, enabling teaching assistants from non-traditional academic backgrounds to gain a degree and become English teachers - a widening participation initiative. More recently, Julia has led the thriving MA in Education (MAE) for eight years, creating a diverse range of pathways with the MA team, including: School Research Leaders, Widening Participation, NQT, SEND, subject-specific routes (e.g. English, Mathematics, Humanities and Science) and a full-time, international pathway. This course is linked to the Sussex Research Network – a partnership with local primary and secondary schools, which aims to develop the research culture and capacity in schools, by enhancing the expertise of research leaders and communities.

In 2012, Julia set up the annual Teacher Researcher conference, now in its eighth year, in which MAE finalists, members of Faculty and teachers/school leaders explore research findings and work through Sussex networks to ensure that these are embedded in schools, achieving impact. A significant number of MAE teacher/researchers have gone on to lead research activity in their schools, present at national conferences and publish articles in professional/academic journals, some on collaborative research with Julia and other Faculty members, with some also progressing to doctorates.

Julia now leads the Dissertation module on the MAE and the Action Research module on the MSc in Social Research Methods. Her research is on English and literacy, specifically, reading, dialogic classroom discourses & teacher development. Drawing on sociocultural and critical theoretical approaches, the research includes ethnography, action research/participatory approaches and quasi-experimental, interdisciplinary research with colleagues in Psychology (see Research).




Julia is a Senior Lecturer in Education and member, former Co-Director, of the Centre for Teaching and Learning Research (CTLR) in the Department of Education, School of Education and Social Work.

Julia leads the Dissertation module of the MA in Education and the Action Research module on the MSc in Social Research Methods. She teaches on a range of programmes, also including: PGCE English; BA in Primary Education; MA in International Education and Development and the BA in Childhood and Youth, in addition to supervising doctoral students.

Julia’s research interests focus on sociocultural theories of learning, literacy and English education, specifically: reading, comprehension, dialogic talk, classroom discourse, teacher education and participatory forms of practitioner research.


Community and Business

Consultancy and External roles

2018-present Member of small, interdisciplinary team acting as consultants to ECORYS in their Evaluation of the DfE Alternative Provision Innovation Fund projects.   

2018-present UCET, University of Sussex representative for the Committee for research and international education

2015-present United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA): regional representative for the South-East. 

2013- present: Joint Leader of the Teacher Reading Group with Rosie Pannett, Sue Pinnick, Jo Westbrook: this group of English teachers and trainees shadows the UKLA Children’s book award each year, exploring and critiquing the latest YA fiction to support the collective development of teachers’ knowledge and promote reading for pleasure in school.