A/PROF Sara Wills

A/PROF Sara Wills


  • Migration, multiculturalism, identity, Australian history



  • Sara Wills is currently the Associate Dean for Engagement and Advancement in the Faculty of Arts, Head of Program for the Executive Master of Arts in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deputy Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and an Associate Professor in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. Born in the UK, Sara migrated to Australia in her mid-teens and, following an early (and continuing) interest in aspects of the history of ideas about nature, she has mainly focused her academic teaching and research on aspects of migration, multicultural and refugee studies and histories, with particular reference to memory and museum studies. She has taught the undergraduate subject 'Migrant Nation: History, Culture, Identity' for over 10 years and supervised many theses to completion in this broad field that examines 'those who have performed the act of which all men anciently dream, the thing for which they envy the birds; that is to say we have flown' (to borrow from Salman Rushdie). In addition to this interest in what it means to appear to defy history, memory and time as a migrant (while mindful also of the deep 'routes' and 'roots' that orient the Aboriginal family of which she became a part over 20 years ago), Sara is also invested in the idea that an education in the humanities prepares one for the great work that makes a great life. To that end, she has enjoyed teaching 'The Power of Ideas: 10 Great Books' and 'Leaders, Business and Culture in Florence' as part of the unique Executive Master of Arts degree in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences - a degree that combines critical, creative and ethical thinking with budgeting, project management and how to develop a good comms plan. For the last 10 years, much of Sara's time and attention has been engaged by how the University can create greater opportunities for students, research and teaching excellence by working with the broader community.    


Selected publications



Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 1999
  • BA (Hons), University of Melbourne 1989

Awards and honors

  • Dwight Prize, University of Melbourne, 1989
  • Wyvern Medal, Queens College, 1989



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I supervise mainly in the area of migration and refugee studies (particularly in the discipline of history) and on aspects of Australian and British history, with a specific interest in memory, identity, museum studies, as well as environmental histories. I am also delighted to supervise any student interested in the life, work and legacy of artist, writer and early 'green' socialist William Morris. Research Higher Degree Thesis Supervision (Completed) 2019, PhD. Andrea Cleland, 'The Pear Tree - Family Narratives of Greek Macedonian Migration to Australia'. 2019, PhD. Max Kaiser, 'Between Nationalism and Assimilation: Jewish Antifascism in Australia in the Late 1940s and Early 1950s'. 2019. PhD. David Henry, 'Creating Space to Listen: Museums, Participation and Intercultural Dialogue'. 2018. PhD. Michael Plater, 'Jack the Ripper: The Divided Self and the Alien Other in late-Victorian Culture and Society'. 2016. PhD. Bianca Lowe, 'Vietnamese Family Reunion in Australia, 1983-2007'. 2016. PhD. Sue Mooney, 'William Morris: Illuminating a Life'. 2015. PhD. Zoe Holman, ‘The Price of Influence: New Perspectives on British Foreign Policy and Democracy in the Middle East’. 2014. PhD. Colleen Wood, ‘Great Britain’s Exiles Sent to Port Phillip Australia, 1844-1849: Lord Stanley’s Experiment’. 2014. PhD. Alexandra Dellios, ‘Constructing Public History, Framing Collective Memories: Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre'. 2013. PhD. Vivian Gerrand, ‘Possible Spaces: Representations of Somali Belonging in Italy and Australia’. 2013. PhD. Pamie Ching Tsz Fung, ‘A Place Midway Between the Old Place and the New: A Case Study of the Migrant Hostel at Maribyrnong’. 2013. PhD. Erin Taylor, ‘Nations on the Move: Burmese Migration to Australia’. 2013. PhD. Ciannon Cazaly, ‘Playing the Game: The Experiences of Migrant Background Players in Australian Rules Football’. 2012. PhD. Caitlin Nunn, ‘Người Úc gốc Việt: Generational Change