Department of Geography and Planning

Department of Geography and Planning
Department of Geography and Planning
Portrait of Heather Castleden.

Heather Castleden

Canada Research Chair
Associate Professor
Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room E330
613-533-6000 ext. 77216

On leave July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022.

Dr. Castleden holds the Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments, and Communities and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Queen’s University.

As a broadly trained health geographer, Dr. Castleden mainly undertakes community-based participatory research in partnership with Indigenous peoples in Canada on issues that are important to them and fall within her programmatic areas of expertise: the nexus of culture, place, and power; and health equity through social and environmental justice lenses. Since 2009, she has been the Director of the Health, Environment, and Communities Research Lab (, a vibrant community of research associates, trainees, and staff.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Anthropology and Native Studies) from the University of Manitoba (1996), Dr. Castleden went on to obtain a Master of Education Degree in Adult and Higher Education (2002), and a PhD (Human Geography) at the University of Alberta (2007). From there, she held NEARBC and SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Victoria before taking up a tenure-track appointment in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia (2009-2014). She began her appointment at Queen’s University in 2014.

Courses for the 2017-2018 Academic Year:

  • GPHY/EPID 836: (Qualitative Research Methods)
  • GPHY 309: Integrative Field School in Geography (Indigenous Perspectives on Environment and Health)

Dr. Castleden is located in Kingston, where she and her partner are raising their two children. She's a big fan of swimming, snowboarding, biking and hiking, dodgeball, sailing, cross-country skiing, buttery popcorn, chocolate, red wine, single malts, and after many failed attempts – she may try, once again, to learn how to play the guitar.

Dr. Castleden is currently recruiting graduate students interested in studies of critical scholarship on renewable energy projects through her CIHR Team Grant, A SHARED Future, as well as in Indigenous-settler relations in the context of reconciling and healing relationships, environment and health research that brings together Indigenous and Western knowledge systems, and/or relational accountability between the academy and communities. To learn more about Dr. Castleden’s program of research, current projects, recent publications, and opportunities to study with her, please visit her Research Lab’s website, the A SHARED Future website, or follow her on Twitter: @H_Castleden and @fortheHECofit.


Health, Environment, Communities (HEC) Research Lab

Research Interests:

Dr. Castleden’s research interests include community-based participatory research, Indigenous research, Indigenous-settler relations, environment and health interconnections, research ethics, and arts-based methodologies. Her research is interdisciplinary and collaborative, and strives to address environmental and social injustices and health inequities. Specifically, her research is primarily unified through: participatory research with Indigenous partners concerning issues that are important to them; shared development and testing of innovative qualitative research tools that adhere to Indigenous principles for decolonizing methodologies; and engagement in studies concerning the ethical tensions and institutional barriers associated with community-based participatory research processes and outcomes.

Her work strives to build a program of integrated, methodologically- and ethically-sound community-based participatory research in the context of Canada. Her research is geared towards developing a response to these and other issues in a way that maintains her record of engaging in innovative scholarship that plans for and creates social and environmental change. She describes her work as the product of a balancing act between academic engagement and advocacy.