About James

Dr James Lesh researches urban history and heritage conservation. He focuses on Australia and the former British urban world since the late-nineteenth century. His research considers the ways history and conservation intersect with urban development, community and identity. Adopting a variety of methods, his work examines processes, principles and perceptions of heritage, the changeability of heritage over time, and the transnational dimensions of conservation knowledge. He is motivated by the capacity of history and creative heritage conservation approaches to enhance urban life.

James publishes widely. His academic refereed articles have ranged from the changing relationship between skyscrapers and heritage to the history of urban conservation and the Australian Burra Charter (for managing cultural heritage places). He is currently writing a book on heritage conservation in Australian cities since the 1880s, and co-editing a book collection on historic places, place attachment and emotion.

James has delivered public talks, curated exhibitions, designed walking tours, and reviewed books and exhibitions. His writing has appeared in newspapers and he has been interviewed for broadcast media.

For James’ latest activities, follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and visit his blog. He is also available for speaking engagements and public commentary: please get in touch.


King’s College London
Fellow, Menzies Australia Institute

University of Melbourne
Sessional Lecturer
Faculty of Arts
Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning


PhD, University of Melbourne

Master of Arts, Queen Mary University of London

Bachelor of Arts with Honours, University of Melbourne

Bachelor of Commerce, University of Melbourne

Major prizes and awards

Australian Postgraduate Award, University of Melbourne.

Australian Bicentennial Scholarship, King’s College London.

Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement, Queen Mary University of London.

AGL Shaw Summer Research Fellowship, State Library of Victoria.

Last updated: March 2019.