[Photo of Dr. John Holmes]

Dr. John Holmes

Professor Emeritus

Department of Geography and Planning

(Adjunct 1)



Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room D312

I was born and grew up on the edge of the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, England; a landscape that shaped my early interest in geology and geography.  I received my geographical education at the University of Sheffield and at The Ohio State University where I received my PhD and studied with Larry Brown, Kevin Cox and Reg Golledge. I came to Queen's University in 1971 on a one-year sabbatical replacement appointment and never left!  From 1993-2004, I served as Head of Department. I retired formally in June 2013 (i.e. Queen’s stopped paying me!) but have continued to co-supervise graduate students and maintain an active funded research program.

During sabbatical leaves, I held visiting appointments at the University of Sussex (1977-78), University of Wales, Swansea and UWIST (1985-86) and the University of Manchester (1999). In Winter Term 2007, I was the Invited Visiting Professor in the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University. 

In the decade prior to my retirement, I was active in the Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA) – the union representing academic staff at Queen’s - and served as QUFA President 2005-07. Presently, I serve as Treasurer of the Retirees’ Association of Queen’s (RAQ), a Trustee of the Kingston and District Labour Council, and as a Director on the Eastern Workforce Innovation Board and the Automotive Policy Research Centre (APRC Inc.) Board.


  • B.Sc., M.A. (University of Sheffield)
  • Ph.D. (Ohio State University, 1974)

Research Interests:

My primary research interest is in geographical aspects of the political economy of contemporary economic and social change; especially the restructuring and reorganization of production and work. My recent interests lie in three areas:

  • Auto Industry Research: I continue to work on research related to the political economy of the North American automobile industry.  Most recently, projects have focused on innovation and competitiveness in the Canadian automotive parts industry, automotive trade, and automotive collective bargaining in Canada and the United States. I am affiliated with the Automotive Policy Research Centre (APRC) and was a researcher on the major Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) funded five-year project– “Manufacturing policy and the Canadian automotive sector.”  I am a member of the Paris-based Groupe d’Étude et de recherche Permanent sur l’Industrie et les Salariés de l’Automobile (GERPISA), an international network for auto industry research.
  • Work, Employment and Labour Relations Research: I am a co-researcher with the Montréal-based Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la mondialisation et le travail (CRIMT) and CRIMT’s Institutional Experimentation for Better Work Partnership Project 
  • Climate Change and Work: Research into the impacts of climate change on the future of employment and work in Canada as part of a SSHRC Partnership funded project titled Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change led by Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé (York University).

Curriculum Vitae (PDF 393 kB)