Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Kelly, Philip Francis

Kelly, Philip Francis

 Kelly_Philip Francis

Kelly, Philip Francis


Associate Dean, Research, Graduate Studies, & Global Affairs

BA Hons Geography , Oxford University
MA Geography , McGill University
PhD Geography , University of British Columbia

Labour Migration; Transnationalism; Youth; Economic Geography.

My research revolves around questions of migration and labour, within broader contexts of uneven economic geographies and class-based inequalities. I have a longstanding commitment to research in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and have also worked extensively with the Filipino community in Canada. My recent research has included projects focused on: inter-generational class mobility among Filipino youth in Canada; Filipino immigrant integration in Canada, especially in the context of the caregiver program; and, the ways in which transnational ties between Canada and the Philippines foster alternative economic and political practices in both places. My research and mobilization work has usually been in collaboration with community organizations – including the development of Filipino-centric curriculum with a school board in Toronto, and engaging in ‘data liberation’ for community agencies working on immigrant employment issues. A new research project (in collaboration with Peter Vandergeest and Melissa Marshke) will draw upon my broader interests in how global production networks shape inequality and labour processes. Specifically, we will be examining the ways in which global seafood supply chains structure the working conditions of migrant labour in the fishing fleets of East and Southeast Asia.

Within the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York, my work focuses on social justice for migrants and immigrants in changing urban labour markets, and the ways in which labour processes are configured in global resource industries.



Canada-Philippines Alternative Transnational Economies (2015-22)

In this collaborative research project, we are interested in transnational economic practices that fall outside either the mainstream economy of corporate trade and investment or the private flows of remittances between family members. We are instead seeking those linkages that depend on the social networks created by migration and which generate or promote collectivized or non-monetized forms of well-being. This includes: humanitarian fundraising for typhoon victims; collective financing of social infrastructure such as school or clinics; the donation of volunteer skilled labour by members of the Filipino diaspora who return to the Philippines; networks of unpaid labour to care for children and the elderly; the fostering of alternative economic imaginaries through activism; the creation of channels to export products from small-scale and sustainable enterprises in the Philippines. Our research profiles these kinds of practices, assesses them critically, and seeks to foster the expansion of socially beneficial transnational economic practices. The project is based at the York Centre for Asian Research and our core research team includes Leonora Angeles (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Lynne Milgram (OCAD University, Toronto), Marla Asis (Scalabrini Migration Centre, Quezon City), Jeff Ducanes (University of the Philippines, Quezon City) and Andre Ortega (University of the Philippines, Quezon City; now, Syracuse University, NY). Melissa Gibson is the Manila-based coordinator and research assistant.


Cultural Production as Collective Response to Precarious Employment

As part of the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) project, Conely de Leon and I examined the role of artistic production and performance in solidarity formation and mobilization among Filipina live-caregivers

Gabriela Transitions Survey

In collaboration with Gabriela-Ontario and Migrante-Canada (both Philippines-based rights organizations with chapters in Canada), this project examined the employment trajectories and social well-being of Filipina women who have settled in Canada through the Live-In Caregiver Program. The core research team included Rupa Banerjee (Ryerson) and Ethel Tungohan (York).

Filipino Youth Transitions in Canada

The Filipino Youth Transitions in Canada (FYTiC) project was started in 2010. We initiated the project because data showed that Filipino-Canadian youth were not, on average, doing well in education and employment after they leave high school. The research helps us understand how Filipino identity is related to economic opportunities, how parental employment is reproduced in the life chances of their children, and how different immigrant settlement sites shape the next generation in important ways. This broad program of research continued with further studies in collaboration with a suburban school board in Ontario (the Halton Pinoy Project) with Don Wells (McMaster) and Jennilee Austria, and through the PASSOC Project, which developed Filipino-centric curriculum with the Toronto Catholic District School Board.


  • Canadian Association of Geographers, Julian M. Szeicz Award

Selected Publications


Coe, N., Kelly, P.F., Yeung, H. (2020) Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction.  Third Edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. [Co-Author]

Aulakh, P. and Kelly, P.F (eds.) (2020) Mobilities of Labor and Capital in Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Co-Editor and Contributor] 

Kelly, P.F. (ed)  (2013)  Migration, Agrarian Transition and Rural Change in Southeast Asia.  London and New York: Routledge.  246 pp. [Editor and Contributor]

Book Chapters

Aulakh, P. and P.F.Kelly (2020) Conceptualizing Labour and Capital Mobilities in and out of Asia. In Aulakh, P. and Kelly, P.F (eds.) Asian Connections: Linking Mobilities of Labor and Capital. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kelly, P.F. (2020) “Transnationalism and labour geography”. In International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Second Edition, edited by A. Kobayashi. London:  Elsevier.

Kelly, P.F. and C.Maharaj (2019) Geographies of the Next Generation: Outcomes for the Children of Immigrants through a Spatial Lens. Pages 315-26 in K.Mitchell, R.Jones, and J.L.Fluri eds Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Kelly, P.F. (2018) Migration, Remittances and Development. In A.McGregor, L.Law and F.Miller (eds) Handbook of Southeast Asian Development. London: Routledge. Pp.198-210.

Kelly, P.F. and C. de Leon (2017) Rescripting Care Work: Collaborative Cultural Production and Caregiver Advocacy in Toronto. Pages 91-108 in S.Procyk, W.Lewchuk and J.Shields (eds) Precarious Employment: Causes, Consequences and Remedies. Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

Austria, J., P.F.Kelly and D.Wells (2017)  Precarious Students and Families in Halton, Ontario: Linking Citizenship, Employment and Filipino Student Success. Pages 57-73 in S.Procyk, W.Lewchuk and J.Shields (eds) Precarious Employment: Causes, Consequences and Remedies. Winnipeg: Fernwood.

Cardenas, K. and Kelly, P.F. (2017) Shifting Urban Contours: Understanding a World of Growing and Shrinking Cities. In Bain, A. & Peake, L. (Eds.) Urbanization in a Global Context: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: Oxford University Press. pp19-35.

Kelly, P.F. (2016) Remittances. In D.Richardson (ed) The International Encyclopedia of Geography. New Jersey: Wiley, and Washington: Association of American Geographers.


Banerjee, R., P.F.Kelly, E.Tungohan, P.Cleto, Leon, M.Garcia, M.Luciano, C.Palmaria, C.Sorio (2018). From “Migrant” to “Citizen”: Labor Market Integration of Former Live-In Caregivers in Canada. ILR Review, 1-29. 

Kelly, P.F., E.Kramer, E.Tungohan, C.Go, J.Morris-Jung & D.Caouette (2017) Expertise, embodiment, and the dilemmas of activist research in Southeast Asia. Critical Asian Studies 49:3, 428-36.

Kelly, P.F. (2015) Transnationalism, Emotion and Second Generation Social Mobility in the Filipino-Canadian Diaspora. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 36(3) 280-99.

Tungohan, E., Rupa Banerjee, Wayne Chu, Petronila Cleto, Conely de Leon, Mila Garcia, Philip Kelly, Marco Luciano, Cynthia Palmaria, Christopher Sorio (2015).  After the Live-In Caregiver Program: Filipina Caregivers’ Experiences of Graduated and Uneven Citizenship. Canadian Ethnic Studies 47 (1), 87-105.

Kelly, P.F. (2014) Understanding Intergenerational Social Mobility: Filipino Youth in Canada. IRPP Study 45. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy. [Single Author]. Available at:


Current and Upcoming Courses

GEOG 2105 Money, Power and Space: Introduction to Economic Geography (Fall 2020)