James Lesh is currently researching the place of heritage and historic preservation in the Australian city.
Focusing on Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and historic cities including Ballarat, Fremantle, Hobart and Newcastle, his emphasis is on regulatory, professional, social and digital urban heritage practices.
More broadly, James specialises in social and cultural urban history across the modern period, particularly in transnational and global perspective. His work intersects with urban and heritage studies. He also has a strong interest in the digital humanities and public impact.
Current urban heritage research
- The diffusion of Australian urban heritage from the late nineteenth century.
- Intersecting Australian urban and heritage policy in historical perspective.
- Whither the National Estate (e.g., in Brisbane, published).
- Skyscrapers and heritage: Melbourne’s Rialto Towers and other Australian towers.
- The Australian heritage industry and its heritage management practices
- Digitising and classifying Australian urban heritage.
- Mythologies of the Australian city and its heritage (conference paper).
- Heritage of the Australian settler colonial city (conference paper).
- Transnational perspectives on urban heritage (conference paper).
- A history of the National Trust of Victoria, for its 60th anniversary (published).
Selected past research
- Dogs in cities: Larry La Trobe in Melbourne and Larry and his ‘master’ Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe (published).
- Melbourne’s Cremorne Pleasure Gardens, 1853–63, and its urban legacies for Richmond (15,000 word BA Honours thesis, partially published).
- Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market, 1878-present (unpublished).
- Queer and Jewish intersections in twentieth-century London (25,000 word MA thesis, unpublished).
- A discarded interwar history of the University of Melbourne (published).