Associate Professor Donna Leslie

PhD (Art History, UniMelb), GC­IRL, GCUT, PostGradDip, GradDipEd (UniMelb), BA (Monash)

Associate Professor Donna Leslie is an art historian who specialises in Australian art. She is convenor of Australian Art at the Queensland College of Art, an elective course which she designed to enable students to explore Australian art history in all its wonderful creative diversity.

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, and is a valuable contribution to the discipline of art history, offering rare insights into the Aboriginal experience. Donna has researched Australian art for many years. She greatly enjoys exploring creative art expression in Australia. Her first Australian Research Council project focussed on the art of the Australian artist Tim Johnson (2005-06). Her second ARC project explored contemporary Australian art (2007-10). Both ARC 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 museum 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. This theme continues to inspire Donna’s ongoing research interests.

Donna is an Aboriginal woman belonging to the Gamilaroi people of northern New South Wales. She also has Irish Australian heritage. Her lifelong creative experience inspires her work with students of all cultural backgrounds and creative interests.

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. She is fond of watercolours, inks and gouache, but is also familiar with most art mediums and she enjoys talking with students about their creativity and art practice.



Aboriginal art
Australian art
Indigenous art
Art and spirituality
Art and cross-culturalism


< Back to Full Members