An interview with Richard Mills
Why did you choose to work at St Mary’s?
I read online that St Mary’s University had degrees in my specialisms; film, literature and popular culture, and when I saw a job come up in my research area, I had to make sure my application was put in.
St Mary’s has a reputation for having an intimate and friendly community, which fitted with my personality and personal philosophy. I love coming to work every day where my teaching skills are valued, but my personal outlook is as well. Also, St Mary’s has a beautiful location!
Do you have any tips for someone looking to begin a career in English related industries?
The skills you gain in reading English at university are marketable in most sectors including journalism, teaching, digital editing, arts administration and public relations.
As English is a non-vocational course, it is important to develop skills outside your area of study. While at university I would advise English students to write for student newspapers and magazines, get involved with student radio or film societies, or volunteer in the community or local schools.
As well as giving students vocational skills, a degree in literature instils you with empathy and creativity, and most importantly, reading the best novels, plays and poems ever written makes you a better person.
Which past experiences do you bring to your lecturing?
I worked as a journalist at a newspaper, which meant that I had to deliver copy on time and written in an interesting, understandable and lively manner.
I apply the same approach to my lectures and aim to make each class clear, informative and entertaining. Enthusiasm, working in groups and the occasional joke are also important, and all these skills I learnt at a newspaper, whilst interviewing people, dealing with the public and writing copy quickly.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I love being able to impart my research in an accessible and entertaining manner. Giving the students thinking time and space to discuss concepts in my lectures is fascinating. I am constantly surprised by the imaginative, innovative and fresh perspectives that come out of group discussions. The best part of lecturing is engaging with students in lectures and finding out that they have learnt something new.
Can you tell us a bit about your research?
Until recently I published almost exclusively on Irish Literary Revival on Page and Stage (this is the title of one of my favourite English literature modules at St Mary’s!). My latest work is now on popular music. I have published two with books Bloomsbury publishing. In 2019, I published The Beatles and Fandom (Bloomsbury), which ‘combines academic theory on fandom with compelling original research material to tell an alternative history of the Beatles phenomenon: a fans' history of the Beatles that runs concurrently with the popular story we all know’. My next monograph is The Beatles and Black Music: Post-colonial Theory, Musicology and Remix Culture (Bloomsbury, 2022).
View Richard's academic profile