Geography and Environment


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

2018 onwards: Co-Editor, Geopolitics
2017 onwards: Fellow, APPG Democratic Participation (Political Literacy Oversight Group)
2017 onwards: Academic Lead, Open Days / Marketing
2016 onwards: University Teaching Assessor
2016-19 – External Examiner (BA), National University of Ireland, Galway
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

2019 – Loughborough University Research-Informed Teaching Prize
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 across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules.

Current postgraduate research students

  • Laura Crawford: A cultural-historical geography of Leonard Cheshire Disability
  • Rosie Austin: Youth Leadership in the Scout Association

Recent postgraduate research students

  • Jo Hickman Dunne (2018) Youth, Outdoor Learning and Life Skills
  • 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