Centre for Research in Communication and Culture

About us

Dr Sarah Mills Ph.D. (Wales)

Photo of Dr Sarah Mills

Reader in Human Geography

Academic career

2018: Reader in Human Geography, Loughborough University

2015-18: Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Loughborough University
2012-15: Lecturer in Human Geography, Loughborough University. 
2011-12: ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Leicester. 
2007-10: PhD, Institute of Geography & Earth Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Professional responsibilities

2017 onwards: Fellow, APPG Democratic Participation (Political Literacy Oversight Group)
2017 onwards: Academic Lead, Open Days
2016 onwards: External Examiner (BA), National University of Ireland, Galway
2016 onwards: University Teaching Assessor
2016-18: SSPGS School Athena SWAN Team

2016-18 – Editorial Board Member, Environment and Planning A
2015-18 – Elected Chair, GCYFRG, RGS-IBG
2012-15 – Elected Secretary, SCGRG, RGS-IBG.
2011-15 – Committee Member, GCYFRG, RGS-IBG (Elected Treasurer 2011-14)

Prizes and awards:

2017 – Gill Memorial Award, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
2015 - AAG Political Geography Speciality Group's 'Outstanding Research Award' (Virginie Mamadouh Publication Prize)
2014 – ESRC Future Research Leader Award
2014 - ‘Inspiration Award’, Loughborough University Academic Teaching Awards

My research focuses on the geographies of youth citizenship, informal education and volunteering in both contemporary and historical contexts. My recent ESRC-funded research (via an FRL award 2014-17) examined the state’s motivations behind, the voluntary sector’s engagement with, and young people’s experiences of, National Citizen Service (NCS) since its launch in 2011. I was called to give evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement in 2017. My previous research projects have been funded by the ESRC, AHRC (Co-I) and Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and explored the gendered citizenship projects and educational philosophies of several British youth movements across the twentieth century, including the Scouts, Girl Guides, Woodcraft Folk, and Jewish Lads’ Brigade. This work has been published in a number of journal articles, with my broader research interests captured in two co-edited collections: on ‘Informal Education, Childhood & Youth’ (2014, Palgrave Macmillan) and ‘Politics, Citizenship and Rights’ (2016, Springer). I have also published on the geographies of youth work, faith, archival methods, and the sonic geographies of childhood. My current research focuses on a monograph project: Mapping the Moral Geographies of Education (under contract with Routledge).

My teaching focuses on cultural, social, political and historical geography.

Current postgraduate research students

Laura Crawford: A cultural-historical geography of Leonard Cheshire Disability
Rosie Austin: Youth Leadership in the Scout Association
Jo Hickman Dunne: Youth, Outdoor Learning and Life Skills

Recent postgraduate research students

Jonathan Duckett (2017) Youth Citizenship and National Identity: A Case Study of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Scottish Independence Referendum

Tim Fewtrell (2017) Youth Volunteering in Muslim Communities in Britain

Holloway, S. L., Holt, L. and Mills, S. (2018, online) Questions of Agency: Capacity, Subjectivity, Spatiality and Temporality, Progress in Human Geography (open access)

Mills, S. and Waite, C. (2017, online) From Big Society to Shared Society? Geographies of social cohesion and encounter in the UK's National Citizen Service, Geografiska Annaler: Series B Human Geography (open access)

Mills, S. and Waite, C. (2017) Brands of youth citizenship and the politics of scale: National Citizen Service in the United Kingdom, Political Geography56 (1): 66-76. (open access)

Mills, S. (2017) Voice: Sonic Geographies of Childhood, Children’s Geographies15 (6): 664-677.

Mills, S (2016) Jives, jeans and Jewishness? Moral geographies, atmospheres and the politics of mixing at the Jewish Lads’ Brigade & Club 1954-1969, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 34 (6): 1098-1112.

Kallio, K. P. and Mills, S. (2016) (eds) Politics, Citizenship and Rights, Vol. 7 of Skelton, T. (ed.) Geographies of Children and Young People. Singapore: Springer.

Mills, S. and Kraftl, P. (2016) Cultural Geographies of Education, cultural geographies 23 (1): 19-27

Mills, S. (2016) Geographies of education, volunteering and the lifecourse: the Woodcraft Folk in Britain (1925–75), cultural geographies 23 (1): 103-119 (open access)

Mills, S (2015) Geographies of youth work, volunteering and employment: The Jewish Lads' Brigade and Club in post-war ManchesterTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 40 (4): 523-535