Professor Kathy Ann Mills

Professorial Future Fellow, Australian Research Council
Literacies and Digital Cultures

Kathy Ann Mills

Areas of expertise: multimodality and multiliteracies; sensory literacies; digital and media practices; writing and literacies pedagogies; socio-cultural, socio-spatial, and socio-material literacy research; critical theory; and big data, digital data, and online data

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-1140-3545

Phone: +617 3861 6234


Location: ACU Brisbane Campus

Kathy A. Mills is Professor of Literacies and Digital Cultures at the Institute for Learning Science and Teacher Education (LSTE), Australian Catholic University, Brisbane. Her leading research examines gaps in current knowledge and educational uses of digital media practices, drawing on theories of multimodality, multiliteracies, New Literacy Studies, sensory studies, embodiment, critical literacy, and critical theory. Mills has published over 100 academic works, including a number of award-winning books. She has published in high quality journals including Review of Educational Researchthe Journal of Second Language Writing, the Sociological Review, Teaching and Teacher Education, and Qualitative Research. Her sole-authored 2016 monograph, Literacy Theories for the Digital Age, won the Literacy Research Association's 2016 Edward Fry Book Award, USA. Her lead edited Handbook of Writing, Literacies, and Education in Digital Cultures won the 2017 Divergent Award for Excellence in 21st Century Literacies, USA.

Professor Mills holds the only Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship 2018 won in education and is developing interdisciplinary methods of sensory orchestration for multimodal literacy learning in primary education nationally and internationally (FT18010009; 2019-2022). Professor Mills has won five Australian Research Council grants (category 1), including three as a named Fellow, with total category one grant income to date of $2.47 million. She is a chief investigator of an ARC Discovery grant, Coding Animated Narratives as Contemporary Multimodal Authorship in Schools with Len Unsworth (ACU), and is an international PI researching critical digital literacies with colleagues as USN, Norway (NRC grant). Professor Mills serves on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Literacy Research (Arizona), and on the Review Board of the Reading Teacher (New Jersey), English Teaching Practice and Critique (New Zealand), and the Australian Journal of Language and Literacy. She also maintains a strong public research voice for literacy research through national radio, TV, news media and social media, and assesses research grants in Australia and internationally.

Curriculum vitae

Select publications


  • Mills, K.A. (2019). Big data for qualitative research. London, England: Routledge.
  • Mills, K. A., Stornaiuolo, A., Smith, A., & Pandya, J. (2018). Handbook of writing, literacies, and education in digital cultures. London, England: Routledge. 
  • Mills, K. A. (2016). Literacy theories for the digital age: Social, critical, multimodal, spatial, socio-material & sensory lenses. Bristol, England: Multilingual Matters. 

Most recent journal articles

  • McKenzie, J. E., Patulny, R. A., Bellocchi, A., & Mills, K. A. (2019). Emotion management and solidarity in the workplace: A call for a new research agenda. The Sociological Review67(3), 672–688. 
  • Mills, K. A. & Doyle, K. (2019). Visual arts: A multimodal language for Indigenous education. Language and Education.
  • Olson, R. E., McKenzie, J., Mills, K. A., Patulny, R., Bellocchi, A. & Caristo, F. (2019). Gendered emotion management and teacher outcomes in secondary school teaching: A review. Teaching and Teacher Education, 80, 128–144. 
  • Pandya, J. P., & Mills, K. A. (2019). Bahktin and the carnival: Humor in school children’s filmmaking. Language and Education. 
  • Mills, K. A. (2018). What are the threats and potentials of big data for qualitative research? Qualitative Research. 18(6), 591–603. 
  • Mills, K. A., & Unsworth, L. (2018). iPad Animations: Powerful practices for adolescents’ multimodal literacy and emotional language. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 61(6), 609-620. 

Most cited journal article

  • Mills, K. A. (2010). A review of the digital turn in the New Literacy Studies. Review of Educational Research, 80(2), 246–271. 


Accolades and awards

International Awards

  • 2018 Divergent Award for Excellence in 21st Century Literacies, Oklahoma State University 
  • Edward Fry Book Award 2016, “Literacy Theories for the Digital Age”, Literacy Research Association, USA 
  • Springer Journal (CSSE) 2016 Best Paper Award, AERA 

National Awards

  • ARC Future Fellowship: Mills holds the only Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship 2018 won in education and is developing interdisciplinary methods of sensory orchestration for multimodal literacy learning in primary education nationally and internationally (FT180100009). 2019-2022. 
  • ARC DECRA Fellowship: Awarded 1 of only 5 Discovery Early Career Research Awards nationally in education. The DECRA research project made a unique contribution to enhancing Indigenous students' multimodal literacy learning in ways that are consistent with Indigenous ways of knowing and being (DE140100047). 2014-2017.
  • ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Awarded 1 of 2 ARC Australian Post-Doctoral (Industry) fellowships nationally in education in 2009. Her ARC APDI Fellowship and later chief investigator role on Linkage (LP150100030) involved leading a design-based research intervention that successfully developed students' digital literacy practices in the context of school reform for socially disadvantaged students. 2009-2011.

University level awards

  • Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence 2016, QUT
  • Research Excellence Award (x3), 2011, 2013, 2018, QUT 
  • Publication Achievement Award (x5), 2003, 2011,2012, 2014, 2014, QUT and CHC 
  • Teaching and Learning Award, 2012 
  • Outstanding PhD Supervision Award, 2012 
  • Outstanding Book Award– “The Multiliteracies Classroom”, 2011, QUT

Grant agency review panel

  • Assessor, Australian Research Council, 2013-current
  • Assessor, Czech Science Foundation, Czech Republic, 2012-current

Public engagement

  • Professor Mills regularly engages in knowledge transfer beyond academic audiences via social media, radio broadcasts, online news, and television news. 
  • Professor Mills' research findings (AJLL, G7#28) about high-stakes testing/NAPLAN lead to invited national radio broadcasts on ABC (21/04/14), 5AA (14/08/14), 2SER radio (19/04/14), 4BC 116 News Talk (12/05/15) Melbourne’s 3AW 693 (11/02/16), and on ABC TV (12/15/15). 
  • Mills' DECRA initial findings of Indigenous multimodal literacy practices was the focus of a QUT media release (10/14), which led to a radio interview with ABC's Speaking Out Indigenous program (14/01/15).  
  • A sample of items include: invitations to discuss research on large schools to the Canberra Times (06/13), and Channel 9 TV News (25/10/2013).
  • Professor Mills published one of the first studies on microblogging with Dr Vinesh Chandra, demonstrating the learning benefits of microblogging with 166 pre-service teachers (JAAL, readership 77 000, G7#20), which led to a QUT media news release (17/03/2011). 
  • Kathy’s knowledge transfer work includes developing the first international literacy curriculum resource based on classroom research that combines linguistic, multimodal and digital literacy learning strategies. This work is translated into two languages (Swedish and Norwegian) and used in schools internationally. 
  • Mills’ media outreach also includes coverage in:
  • The Conversation: Technology and learning in the classroom: Six tips to get the balance right. February 19, 2019. 
  • Interviews about the SELFIE project: Open House; and ABC radio with Katherine Feeney.
  • Planbook’s online post: How to Create a Connected Classroom: Tools, Boundaries and Considerations.

Appointments and affiliations

  • Professorial Future Fellow, Australian Research Council and Australian Catholic University, 2019-current
  • Professor of Literacies and Digital Cultures, Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University, 2016-current
  • Associate Professor & Principal Fellow Research, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia, 2015-2016            
  • Senior Research Fellow, Australian Research Council and QUT, 2014-2015        
  • Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, QUT, Australia, 2012-2014        
  • Lecturer B.3, Faculty of Education, QUT, Australia, 2011-2012

Editorial roles

Journal Editorship

  • Australian Educational Researcher, 2014-2016

International Editorial Review Boards

  • English Teaching: Practice and Critique, New Zealand, 2016-current 
  • Journal of Literacy Research, USA, 2014-current
  • Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, Australia, 2014-current 
  • The Reading Teacher, USA, 2011-2013

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