Mia Perry

Educator | Researcher | Facilitator

University of Glasgow, Scotland

Working across many spaces of difference -- disciplines, geographies, sectors, cultures – I specialise in literacies and learning, arts and cultural production, and methodologies of research and teaching. My work in education spans inside and outside schools, community and public contexts, digital and informal learning. I am particularly interested in the interplay of humans and environments, the role of cultural practice and play in learning, and perspectives in research that account for plural views and ways of making meaning.

From a background in the Arts, and the Third Sector, I work in partnership with a wide network of scholars, artists, and civil society organisations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

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I am a Professor of Arts and Literacies in Education based at the School of Education in the University of Glasgow, leading research across multiple disciplines and institutional structures. I teach literacies, social arts, research methodologies, and pedagogical practices.

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Areas of expertise

Literacies and education

Research theory and practice

Social arts


Fellow, The Royal Society of Arts (RSA)

Member, Peer Review College, Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK Research & Innovation

Fellow, Arts Education Research Group, School of Education, University Trinity College, Dublin


Medina, C., Perry, M. & Wohlwend, K. (2022). Playful Methods: Engaging the Unexpected in Literacy Research. Expanding Literacies in Education Series, Routledge.

Perry, M., Herder-Wynne, F., & Gray, S. (2016). Courageous Journeys in Education: The ecl foundation and Netherfield Primary and Pre-School. UK: The ecl foundation. [Open Access Text: PDF]

Perry, M. & Medina, C. (Eds.) (2015). Methodologies of Embodiment: Inscribing Bodies in Qualitative Research. NY: Routledge.

Rogers, T., Winters, K., Perry, M. & LeMonde, A. (2014) Youth Claims: Arts, Media, and Critical Literacies in the Lives of Adolescents. NY: Routledge.

Perry, M., Collier, D., Rowsell, J. & Rogers, T. (2019). Reframing the Digital in Literacy: Youth, Arts, and Misperceptions.” In E. Morrell and J. Rowsell, Stories from Inequity to Justice. Routledge.

Perry, M. & Seele, K. (2019). “Relationship Matters in Adult Education: The Practice of Literacies In-Between.” In Eds. K. Lenters and M. McDermott, New Materialities in Teaching. Routledge.

Perry, M. (2019) “Coded to smithereens and danced to abstraction:  Forms of affect in the industry of research.” In Eds. K.M. Leander and C. Ehret, Affect in literacy teaching and learning: Pedagogies, politics, and coming to know. New York:Routledge.

Perry, M. & Medina, C. (2017) “Performance and Dramatic Experiences.” In Ed. K. Pepper, The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning. Sage Publishers. pp. 584-587.

Wager A. & Perry M. (2015) “Resisting the script: An experiment in assuming embodiment in literacy education.” In Eds. G. Enriquez, E. Johnson, S. Kontovourki, & C. A. Mallozzi, Literacies, Learning, and the Body: Putting Theory and Research into Pedagogical Practice. NY: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.

Perry, M. (2015) “Reconsidering Good Intentions: Learning with Failure in Education and the Arts.” In Eds. A. Babayants & H. Fitzsimmons Frey, Theatre and Learning. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 138-152.

Perry, M. & Medina, C. (2015). “Introduction.” In Eds. M. Perry and C. Medina, Methodologies of Embodiment: Inscribing Bodies in Qualitative Research. NY: Routledge. pp. 1-13.

Perry, M. (2015). “The sensational body in arts education and research.” In Eds. M. Perry and C. Medina, Methodologies of Embodiment: Inscribing Bodies in Qualitative Research. NY: Routledge. pp. 14-27.

Medina, C. & Perry, M. (2013) “Texts, Affects, and Relations in Cultural Performance: An Embodied Analysis of Dramatic Inquiry.” In Eds. P. Albers, T. Holbrook, & A. Seely Flint, New Methods in Literacy Research.  NY: Routledge. pp.115-132.

Perry, M. (2013). “Devising Theatre and Consenting Bodies in the Classroom.” In Ed. D. Masny, Cartographies of Becoming in Education: A Deleuze-Guattari Perspective.Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Perry, M.; Sharp, J., Aanyu, K., Robinson, J., Duclos, V. Ferdous, R. (2022). Research Partnerships across International Contexts: A Practice of Unity or Plurality? Development in Practice. Early Access: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09614524.2022.2056579

Perry, M., Armstrong, D. M., Chinkonda, B. E., Kagolobya, R., Lekoko, R. N., & Ajibade, G. O. (2021). Whose Crisis? COVID-19 Explored through Arts and Cultural Practices of African Communities. Journal of Open Humanities Data, 7: 29, pp. 1–11. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/johd.52

Collier, D., & Perry, M. (2021). Imagining research together and working across divides: Arts-informed research about young people’s (post) digital lives. Qualitative Research. Early Access: https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941211010029

Medina, C., Perry, M., Lee, B. & Deliman, A. (2021). Reading with Drama: Relations between Texts, Readers, and Experiences. Literacy. Early Access: https://doi.org/10.1111/lit.12246

Perry, M. (2020). Pluriversal Literacies: Affect and Relationality in Vulnerable Times. Reading Research Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.312

Nelson, L. Perry, M. & Rogers, T. (2020). Scales of Offlineness: Theorizing (digital) Literacy Engagements. The Journal of Literacy Research. (52:1)

Perry, M. (2018). Unpacking the Imaginary in Literacies of Globality. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2018.1515064

Perry, M. (2018). Versions of place and status of stories: Govan Young. Film Education Journal. 1(2). 204-206.

Perry, M. and Collier, D. (2018) Discourses of Creativity: Public, Political, and Curriculum Policy Contexts. Canadian Journal of Education. 41(1), 24-43.

Perry, M., Collier, D., & Moffatt, L. (2015). Talking, Wrestling, and Recycling: An Investigation of Three Analytic Approaches to Qualitative Data. Qualitative Research. 15 (3), 389-404.

Perry, M., Wessels, A., & Wager, A. C. (2013) From Playbuilding to Devising in Literacy Education: Aesthetic and Pedagogical Approaches.  Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.56(8). 649-658.

Perry, M. & Rogers, T. (2011). Meddling with “Drama Class,” Muddling “Urban”: Imagining Aspects of the Urban Feminine Self Through an Experimental Theatre Process with Youth. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance.  16(2), 197-213.

Perry, M. (2011). Devising in the Rhizome: The “Sensational” Body in Drama Education and Research. Applied Theatre Researcher. 12. 16 pgs.

Perry, M. and Medina, C. (2011). Embodiment and Performance in Pedagogy: The Possibility of the Body in Curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing(JCT). 27(3).62–75.

Rogers, T., Winters, K., LeMonde, A., & Perry, M. (2010). From Image to Ideology: Analyzing Shifting Identity Positions of Marginalized Youth Across the Cultural Sites of Video Production. Pedagogies: An International Journal. 5(4). 298-312.

Perry, M., Pullanikkatil, D. (Aug, 16, 2018). “Beating poverty needs partnerships and collaboration – not just money” The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/beating-poverty-needs-partnerships-and-collaboration-not-just-money-101145

Republished as: “Why money alone can’t help beat poverty in Africa, here’s what is needed” CNBC Africa https://www.cnbcafrica.com/debates/2018/08/17/why-money-alone-cant-help-beat-poverty-in-africa-heres-what-is-needed/   August 17, 2018

Republished as: “Beating poverty needs partnerships and collaboration – not just money” Urban Faith https://urbanfaith.com/2018/09/beating-poverty-needs-partnerships-and-collaboration-not-just-money.html/

Perry, M., Pullanikkatil, D. (Aug, 8, 2018). North-South research partnerships must break old patterns for real change. The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/north-south-research-partnerships-must-break-old-patterns-for-real-change-100852

Republished as: “A new approach to global research partnerships” The University World News, 24 August 2018 Issue No:517 http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=201808221046503

Hannington Bananuka, T.; Okot, A.; Perry, M. (2018). Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA): Tapping into local people’s knowledge for environmental sustainability. The Daily Monitor, Uganda. http://www.monitor.co.ug/

Perry, M. (2018). Aid, collaboration, or leaving well alone: Thinking about development differently. The Scotsman https://www.scotsman.com/

Perry, M. (2018, 2017).The Sustainable Futures in Africa Blog. www.sustainablefuturesinafrica.com

Ferdous, R., Perry, M., Watuleke, J., Virhia, J., Yeshitella, P., Strachan, Z. (2021) A Critical Resource for Understanding Impact for Participatory Research. Sustainable Futures Network.

Aanyu, K., Barrett, B., Catanzano, B., Checchia, V., Duclos, V., McLean, H., Modise, O. M., Perry, M., Robinson, J., Sharp, J., Strachan, Z., Todd, H. and Zaman, S. (2020) A Critical Resource for Ethical International Partnerships. Sustainable Futures in Africa Network. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/DJTN4

Perry, M. & Pullanikkatil, D. (2019). Transforming International Development. Impact, 2019(1), 26-28. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21820/23987073.2019.1.26

Perry, M. (2014). “The Sal Project”: Community and School Engagement Guide. urban ink productions, Canada.

Perry, M. (2011). “Women in Fish”: Community Engagement Resource Kits. urban ink productions, Canada.

Perry, M., (2004). Review of the book: Performing National Identities: International Perspectives on Contemporary Canadian Theatre by S. Grace & A. Glaap. The Rain: The Vancouver Book Review, 2(1).

Perry, M., (2004). Review of the book: Be Quiet by M. Hollingsworth. Rain: The Vancouver Book Review, 2 (2).

Perry, M., (2008). Book review: Ethnodrama by J. Saldana. Theatre Research in Canada. 27:1.

Perry, M., (2006). Book review: Designing the Just Learning Society: A Critical Inquiry by M. Welton. Canadian Journal of Education. 29:1.

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This network began in 2017 as the Sustainable Futures in Africa Network with a small group of individuals from Uganda, Botswana, Nigeria, Malawi, and Scotland who believed in the possibility of a different approach to international and sustainable development practice. We challenged the long-standing systems, practices, and assumptions of research and development that tended to favour those already privileged and extract from those considered “in need”.

By 2020, the SFA had grown significantly in size, capacity, and vision. To continue to enact our values and strive towards our common goal, we have expanded beyond our African and European hubs to include partnerships and possibilities and challenges across the globe. This new formation of our network is the Sustainable Futures Global Network and welcomes new hubs and initiatives in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Currently we are working together to innovate and design structures and practices that can support this expanded scope, in line with our values and goals.

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Difference, Imaginaries, and Uncertainty in Literacy Research

This project is a collaboration between Mia Perry, Carmen L Medina and Karen Wohlwend. 

In the context of literacy research, this work extends ideas of difference, and proposes ethical practices of engaging with people and place. We take a broad definition of literacies as ways with things or how we make meaning with stuff, how we use bodies with tools and materials to fashion artefacts and resemiotize the meanings of the things around us. In this work, we aim to explore an approach to research, including a series of research methods, that examines and engages the world in ethical, creative, and responsive ways.


  • To think and see expansively and experimentally, contextualising ourselves globally, materially, and historically, inheriting pasts and holding perspectives from North America, Latin America, and Europe.
  • To interrogate, as a decentering researcher practice, our complicity in a global knowledge economy, where research and innovation is sought out everywhere, where development-related research and social justice is highly and substantially supported, but where the Global North primarily benefits.
  • To observe and feel the consequences of nationalism, conservatism, and extremism in a world that has always been plural, but now grapples with levels of inequality, mobility, and communication that are unprecedented.
  • To provide practical methods with rich and clear theoretical foundations to engage in literacy research in ethical, creative, and responsive ways.

We work in response to a world of increasing fragmentation, happening at the hands of our research methods and practices and paradigms of innovation and engagement.

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This project is a collaboration with Diane Collier (Brock University) to explore how, why, and where young people engage with digital spaces today in terms of social, cultural, digital and global literacies.

In addition, the study seeks to ask how digital engagement can be enriched through creative and cultural production. In education, and in social, and civic spaces, digital technologies are being given an ever -increasing role of importance. At the same time, initial research shows that digital technologies increasingly play a part in exacerbating achievement gaps and socio-economic divides.

This study investigates this inequity in relation to youth engagement with digital and global literacies, in order to examine assumptions about digital natives, to expose differentials that will enhance achievement for young people, and to value both digital and non-digital practices.

We now know that the actual use of digital technologies and the actual engagement in cultural production is heavily determined by socio-economic status. For example, low-income young people are more likely to be digital consumers and higher income students to be digital producers. This proposed study is an investigation into the digital cultural engagement of two samples of young people in two different cities: in Hamilton, Ontario and in Glasgow, Scotland.

Visit Youth Mobilities in Public and Digital Spaces »Visit dianercollier.ca »

Partnership to ensure the sustainability of a public health palliative care project in Bangladesh through community theatre

This is a project led by Dr Shahuduz Zaman at the University of Sussex in collaboration with a group of medical specialists, social scientists, and arts practitioners from Bangladesh and the UK.

We are developing an innovative interdisciplinary partnership to provide support to the sustainability of urban slum palliative care initiatives in Bangladesh, through culturally appropriate and scientifically sound strategies for enhancing public engagement through Community theatre. Community theatre is recognised in Bangladesh as an effective way of engaging community members in addressing and community concerns. This work will adapt traditional models of community theatre to reflect the dynamic, diverse, and digitally mediated conditions of an urban slum.

Building capacity to use arts-based methods for non-communicable disease prevention in Malawi and Tanzania

Led by Dr Cindy Gray at the Institute of Health and Well-being at the University of Glasgow, this project takes an interdisciplinary approach to the care and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In particular the project looks at NCDs in relation to public health in Malawi and Tanzania. A large team are experimenting with using arts-based methods to generate information that can be considered in relation to other social and biological data. Based on the partnerships and pilots of this study, this workshop will solidify and share new arts-based methods for public health research.

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