Sarah Mills

Professor Sarah Mills

Ph.D. (University of Wales, Aberystwyth)

  • Professor of Human Geography

Academic career

2023-: Professor of Human Geography, Loughborough University
2018-2023: 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

2022 onwards: College of Experts, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2021 onwards: Fellow, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Political Literacy
2020 onwards: Editorial Board Member, Social & Cultural Geography
2017 onwards: Academic Lead, Open Days / Marketing
2020-22: School of Social Sciences and Humanities Representative, University Ethics Approvals (Human Participants) Sub-Committee 
2019-21: Programme Director, MA Childhood, Youth and Social Policy
2018-20: Co-Editor, Geopolitics
2017-20: Fellow, APPG Democratic Participation (Political Literacy Oversight Group)
2016-21: 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

Dr Mills’ research focuses on the geographies of youth citizenship, informal education and volunteering across contemporary and historical contexts. Her research has been recognised by the Royal Geographical Society (Gill Memorial Award, 2017) and the American Association of Geographers (PGSG, 2015) for its contributions to cultural, political and historical geography.

Dr Mills’ recent and current research focuses on three projects. First, a monograph entitled 'Mapping the Moral Geographies of Education' (with Routledge) exploring character and values-based education. Second, as Co-I on an ESRC project on children and young people’s experiences of gaming/gambling led by Newcastle University. Third, as Co-I on an ESRC/GCRF project on youth volunteering in Uganda led by Northumbria University. Her previous research as PI has been funded by the ESRC, AHRC and RGS-IBG with projects on the UK’s National Citizen Service and a range of uniformed youth movements (see full publications).

Dr Mills is an invited member of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport's 'College of Experts' and serves on the Academic Advisory Group of the APPG for Political Literacy. In 2017, she was called to give evidence on NCS to the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement.

Sarah's teaching focuses on cultural, social, political and historical geography across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules.

Current research students

  • Sophie Milnes (2022 onwards) Geographies of Education and Military Ethos: Class, Gender and ‘Character’
  • Simi Kolajo (2021 onwards) Black geographies of (dis)comfort: Young people, transitions and home
  • Emily Holmes (2021 onwards) Digital Geographies of Parenting
  • Catherine Wilson (2020 onwards) – Children’s Citizen Science (NERC, CENTA)

Recent postgraduate research students

  • Rosie Austin (2020) "Youth Leadership in the Scout Association"
  • Laura Crawford (2019) "A cultural-historical geography of Leonard Cheshire Disability"
  • 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"