Joshua Barrett


Office: CE2004
Phone: (709) 864-3065
Fax: (709) 864-3119



Dr. Kelly Vodden (Department of Geography/Environmental Policy Institute, Grenfell Campus)

Dr. Keith Storey (Department of Geography)


Dr. Heather Hall (International Centre for Northern Governance and Development, University of Saskatchewan)

Thesis Title

Commuters and communities: How employment mobility affects community development in source communities.

Research description

A 'new mobilities paradigm' has evolved in recent decades, changing the way people, ideas, and information interacts with space and place. Employment-Related Geographical Mobility (E-RGM) in particular is increasing, as Canadians commute long distances within their province, outside their province, or outside the country to work for a period of time, and return to their source communities for rest periods. E-RGM affects workers, their families, and their communities in many different ways; however, the implications of E-RGM in the nickel processing sector on source communities are understudied in literature.

Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) has a long history of E-RGM. As a strategy for survival in many rural communities, workers have left their communities for extended periods to support their families. E-RGM continues in NL today, predominantly in the mining and oil and gas sectors, as many Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans engage in commute work outside and within Canada to locations such as Alberta, or commute intraprovincially to host communities specifically within the Avalon Isthmus. My Masters research, (part of the 7-year SSHRC funded ‘On the Move Partnership: Employment-related geographical mobility in a Canadian context’ project), will study the impacts of E-RGM on community development in sources communities. More specifically, my research will focus on mobile workers in the nickel-processing sector in NL and will ask: How does employment mobility affect community development in source communities? This research will fill a knowledge gap for source communities by examining if and how mobile workers participate in community affairs, spend money, and maintain emotional ties to their home community.

Research interest

  • Economic Geography
  • Community and Regional Development
  • Employment Mobility
  • Philanthropy
  • Democracy

Professional Associations and Networks

Canadian Association of Geographers
Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation
Rural Resilience


Reimer, B., Barrett, J., and Vodden, K. (Submitted for review). Beyond us versus them: An examination of rural-urban interdependencies in Canadian regions. Journal of Rural Studies.

Gibson, R., and Barrett, J. (2016). Fostering rural revitalization through philanthropy? Case study of two rural community foundations. Journal of Rural and Community Development. 11(1).

Barrett, J. (2014). Is freedom of the press required for a liberal democracy: A case study of Mexico’s freedom of the press and democracy. Mapping Politics, 6, 5-15.


Department of Geography

230 Elizabeth Ave

St. John's, NL A1B 3X9 CANADA

Tel: (709) 864-2530

Fax: (709) 864-2552