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Current Work

Donna is an art historian who specialises in Australian art.  


Expertise Keywords

  • Aboriginal Art
  • Art and Spirituality
  • Australian Art
  • Contemporary Art
  • Indigenous Art

Subject Area Codes

  • Art History
  • Art Theory and Criticism

Research Publications and Outputs

Recent Publications

Publications: 5 (Other: 5)

Funded Griffith Research

Engagement and Impact

Learning and Teaching

Current and Past Courses

  • Australian Art (3403QCA)
    Convenor, In Person, Intensive, South Bank Campus, Semester 2, 2019.
  • Australian Art (7023QCA)
    Convenor, In Person, Intensive, South Bank Campus, Semester 2, 2019.

Research by Higher Degree Supervision or Scholarship

Supervision Overview

Associate Professor Donna Leslie has supervision experience and knowledge of a broad range of art in Australia. If you are looking for a supervisor or are considering undertaking a higher degree, you are welcome to email Donna to let her know your research interests and to discuss things further. Email: donna.leslie@griffith.edu.au



Associate Professor Donna Leslie is an art historian who specialises in Australian art. Donna undertook her doctorate in the discipline of Art History at the University of Melbourne. Her doctoral thesis explored Aboriginal art against the background of the policy of assimilation. Her book, Aboriginal Art: Creativity and Assimilation, was published by Macmillan in 2008. Donna currently has a book in press on the artist Tim Johnson, with Australian Scholarly Publishing.

Donna has researched Australian art for many years. She greatly enjoys exploring creative art expression in Australia. Her first Australian Research Council project focused on the art of the Australian artist Tim Johnson (2005–06). Her second ARC project explored contemporary Australian art (2007–10). Both projects investigated themes of spirituality and cross-culturalism.

Donna is a trained and experienced teacher, who has taught at all levels in universities, TAFE, secondary and primary schools throughout the course of her career. She is also a trained and experienced art museum curator who has worked in state museums and galleries in Australia. In 2013, Donna curated the exhibition ‘Seeing the natural world: birds, animals and plants of Australia’ for the Ian Potter Museum of Art, at the University of Melbourne. This exhibition drew upon the University’s collections to explore how Aboriginal and European artists creatively respond to the natural world.

Donna is a painter who continues her art practice in her personal time. She has undertaken a broad range of artistic projects over the years, and in her early career she exhibited her art nationally. In 1993, Donna won the ‘Crichton Award for Children’s Book Illustration’, from the Children’s Book Council of Australia. She is fond of watercolours, inks, gouache and oils, but is also familiar with most art mediums.


• Doctor of Philosophy (Art History) University of Melbourne;
• Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Art Curatorial Studies) University of Melbourne;
• Graduate Diploma in Education (Art/Craft) University of Melbourne;
• Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Monash University;
• Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research and Leadership (GC-IRL) University of Melbourne;
• Graduate Certificate in University Teaching (GCUT) University of Melbourne;
• Certificate IV in Training and Assessment TAE40110CIV, Western Sydney Institute.

Books – Authored Research

• [2019 in press] Leslie, Donna, Spiritual Journeying: The Art of Tim Johnson (Australian Scholarly Publishing).
• [2008] Leslie, Donna, Aboriginal Art: Creativity and Assimilation (South Yarra: Macmillan Art Publishing). [319 pages, hardback, col. Ill.] [ISBN-13: 9781921394003].

Children’s Picture Books Illustrated by Donna Leslie

• [2017] Briggs-Pattison, Sue, and Bev Harvey, I Listened and I Looked, (Australia: Scholastic). [32 pages, paperback, col. Ill.] [ISBN: 9781760158750] [ISBN-10: 1760158755];
• [1998] Briggs-Pattison, Sue, and Bev Harvey, A Mob of Kangaroos, (Australia: Scholastic). [15 pages + 2 worksheets, paperback, col. ill.] [ISBN: 1863889396];
• [1998] Briggs-Pattison, Sue, and Bev Harvey, Damper (Australia: Scholastic); [15 pages + 2 worksheets, paperback, col. ill.] [ISBN: 1863889361];
• [1992] Sheppard, Nancy, Alitji in Dreamland: Alitjinya Ngura Tjukurmankuntjala, (East Roseville, NSW: Simon and Schuster). [105 pages, hardback, col. ill.; 22 x 28cm, illustrated with 33 paintings.] [ISBN: 0731801989] [ISBN: 9780731801985].

Education and Training

  • DPhil Doctor of Philosophy, University of Melbourne -

Awards and Honours

  • Crichton Award for Children’s Book Illustration, Children’s Book Council of Australia 1993 -