James publishes widely and is author of the book Values in Cities: Urban Heritage in Twentieth-Century Australia (Routledge, 2022).
A comprehensive bibliography of his writing is available below. Where possible, open source links have been provided.
Visit his blog heritage.city.
- “Frozen in time, we’ve become blind to ways to build sustainability into our urban heritage”, The Conversation, 22 August 2022.
- “Conserving Melbourne’s Creative Heritage”, Pursuit: University of Melbourne Magazine, 16 December 2021. Republished in Landscape Australia. With Ellen Yeong Gyeong Son,.
- “Slave names have no place in modern Melbourne”, The Age, 25 November 2021.
- “War on the demolishers? Probably not, and timing of NSW heritage review is curious“, The Conversation, 25 May 2021.
- “Stuck in the past: why Australian heritage practice falls short of what the public expects“, The Conversation, 2 March 2021. Republished in ArchitectureAU.
- “This symbol of the past must also reflect our present and future“, on the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, The Age, 13 November 2020.
- “Why heritage protection is about how people use places, not just their architecture and history“, The Conversation, 9 July 2020.
- “One of Melbourne’s worst planning mistakes at risk of being repeated“, on Treasury Square, The Age, 25 June 2020.
- “Our cities owe much of their surviving heritage to Jack Mundey“, The Conversation, 11 May 2020. Republished in Foreground, 12 May 2020.
- “Road to nowhere?“, on The Eastern Freeway, Sunday Age, 29 December 2019.
- “How can a place be heritage-listed after 17 years? What it means for Melbourne’s Fed Square“, The Conversation, 27 August 2019. Republished in The Age, 29 August 2019.
- “Forty years of the Burra Charter and Australia’s heritage vision“, Foreground, 14 July 2019.
- “I’ve just discovered my building is covered in flammable cladding“, The Age, 25 March 2019.
- “Once a building is destroyed, can the loss of a place like the Corkman be undone?“, The Conversation, 13 March 2019.
- “Heritage value is in the eye of the beholder: why Fed Square deserves protection“, The Conversation, 10 August 2018.
- “Apple’s store has no place in the people’s Fed Square”, Herald Sun, 19 February 2018, p. 24–5. With Tania Davidge.
- “Apple is exploiting the power of its brand to claim an important part of our city”, The Age, 21 December 2017, p. 19.
- “Preserving cities: how ‘trendies’ shaped Australia’s urban heritage”, The Conversation, 4 November 2016.
- “Sixty years of the National Trust in Victoria’, 60th Anniversary Special Feature Magazine, National Trust of Australia (Victoria), August 2016.
- “Lockout laws repeat centuries-old mistake of denying value of cities as messy places”, The Conversation, 7 June 2016. With Andrew May.
- “Innovation and Reaction: What Would a Minister for Cities Be Good For?”, The Fifth Estate, 12 August 2015.
- “Binders Full of History: The Forgotten Interwar History of The University of Melbourne”, UMA Bulletin: News from the University of Melbourne Archives 33 (September 2013): 1–3.
- ‘Origins of “Moreland” History Lecture’, City of Moreland, Brunswick Town Hall, 7 April 2022.
- ‘Our Heritage for the Future’, Panel, Australian Heritage Festival, Public Historians Association, 22 April 2021.
- ‘The Value of Place: Authentic & Local’, Urbis Australia Panel Event, 2 September 2020.
- ‘Burra Charter Fortieth Anniversary’, Panel, Australia ICOMOS, Melbourne School of Design, 25 June 2019.
- ‘Historians, places and the past’, Panel, Australian Heritage Festival, History Council of Victoria, 14 May 2019.
- ‘The Liberties and Constraints of Urban Heritage’, Public Talk, Victorian National Trust, 31 January 2019.
- James Lesh, Values in Cities: Urban Heritage in Twentieth-Century Australia, Oxon: Routledge, 2022.
- Rebecca Madgin and James Lesh, eds. People-Centred Methodologies for Heritage Conservation: Exploring Emotional Attachments to Historic Urban Places. Oxon: Routledge, 2021.
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- James Lesh and David Nichols. “Destruction, Development and Heritage in Melbourne: SX Towers, Southern Cross Hotel, Eastern Market.” In Routledge Handbook of Heritage Destruction, edited by Antonio Gonzalez Zarandonam, Emma Cunliffe, and Melathi Saldin. Oxon: Routledge, forthcoming.
- James Lesh and Kali Myers. “Beyond Repair’: Modernism, Renewal and the Conservation of Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market, 1967-76.” Planning Perspectives 37, no. 2 (2022): 217–242.
- James Lesh, “Melbourne’s Federation Square and Its Heritage Discontents, 1994-2002.” Fabrications (2021) 31, no. 1: 109–138.
- James Lesh, “Place and Heritage Conservation” In The Routledge Handbook of Place, eds. Tim Edensor, Ares Kalandides and Uma Kothari. Oxon: Routledge (2020): 431–441
- James Lesh and Cameron Logan, “Heritage Cities” In Understanding Urbanism, eds. Dallas Rogers, Adrienne Keane, Tooran Alizadeh and Jacqueline Nelson. Singapore: Springer (2020): 87-101.
- James Lesh and David Nichols, “Richmond and 18 Berry Street Revisited” In Urban Australia and Post Punk: Exploring Dogs in Space, eds. David Nichols and Sophie Perillo. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan (2020): 157–173. w/ David Nichols.
- “Social value and the conservation of urban heritage places in Australia”, Historic Environment 31 (2019) 31, no. 1: 42–62.
- “From modern to postmodern skyscraper urbanism and the rise of historic preservation in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, 1969-1988”, Journal of Urban History 41, no. 1 (2019): 126–149.
- “The National Estate (and the city), 1969–75: a significant Australian heritage phenomenon”, International Journal of Heritage Studies 25, no. 2 (2019): 113–127.
- “Cremorne Gardens, Gold-rush Melbourne, and the Victorian-era Pleasure Garden, 1853–63.” Victorian Historical Journal 90, no. 2 (2019): 219–252.’
- “Twentieth-century Jewish LGBTQ London and the Rainbow Jews heritage project”, Change Over Time 8, no. 2 (2018): 206–225.
- “‘A Regional Conservation Manifesto’ and the Australian re-invention of urban heritage management, ca.1975–ca.1985”, International Journal of Regional and Local History 12, no. 2 (2017): 120–133.
- “‘Why not call ourselves Mutilated Melbourne?’ A history of urban heritage at the Rialto Towers”, Historic Environment 28, no 3 (2016): 22–35.
- “The Curious Case of the Dog in the City”, Melbourne Historical Journal 41 (2013): 103–127.
- “Land Boom Advertising: a socio-spatial mapping of the 1885 subdivision of Cremorne”, The La Trobe Journal 92 (2013): 97–106.
- “Lost [in] Arcadia: Regenerating Melbourne’s nineteenth-century shopping arcades since the 1950s”, Australasian Urban / Planning History Biannual Conference Proceedings, Melbourne, 2018. With Nicole Davis.
- “‘The ruins caused a catch in the throat as memories came flooding in: Melbourne’s Bread and Cheese Club and postwar literary urban conservationism’, Australasian Urban / Planning History Biannual Conference Proceedings, Melbourne, 2018. With David Nichols.
- “Locating the national in the urban: Heritage and scale in the twentieth-century Australian city“, Australasian Urban / Planning History Biannual Conference Proceedings, Gold Coast, 2016.
- James Lesh, “Report on the Place Name: “Moreland”, City of Moreland, Melbourne, Australia, April 2022, ISBN 978-0-646-85827-2.
- Book Review: “Seamus O’Hanlon, The New Urban Australia (2018)”, Australian Historical Studies 50, no. 3 (2019): 402–403. [Read on blog.]
- Conference Review: “Remaking Cities: The Fourteenth Australasian Urban History/Planning History Conference, Melbourne, 2018”, Planning Perspectives 34, no. 1(2019): 171–179. With Lauren Piko and Victoria Kolankiewicz. [Read on blog.]
- Book Review: “Graeme Davison, City Dreamers (2016)”, Urban History 44, no. 2 (2017): 352–354. [Read on blog.]
- Exhibition Review: “Exhibition: A History of the Future (2016)”, Melbourne Historical Journal 44 (2016): 154–156. [Read on blog.]
- Book Review: “Shane Ewen, What is Urban History (2016)”, Melbourne Historical Journal 43 (2015): 138–140. [Read on blog.]
Seminars and Conferences
- “Values in Cities: Urban Heritage in Twentieth-Century Australia”, People, Place and Community Seminar Series, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 26 October 2022; Contemporary Histories Seminar Series, Deakin University, 21 September 2022; Archaeology Seminar Series, University of Sydney, 15 September 2022.
- “Heritage Conservation, Urban Modernism and Public History in Interwar Melbourne”, 15th Conference on Urban History, European Association for Urban History (EAUH). Antwerp, September 2022.
- “Saving heritage policy: The past and future of conservation in the Australian city”, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Urban Policy Workshop, RMIT, August 2021.
- “Heritage as pseudo-public space – Melbourne’s Rotten Apple: Federation Square, Public Space, and the Future of Urban Heritage”, Association of Critical Heritage Studies, 5th Biannual Conference. London, August 2020.
- “Questioning the Consensus? Heritage Conservation in 1990s Sydney and Melbourne”, UK Urban History Group, Summer Virtual Seminars. August 2020.
- “Heritage fundamentalists and the past and future of urban conservation in 1980s and 1990s Australia”, Australasian Urban History & Planning History Conference (AUHPH), University of Tasmania, February 2020.
- “The city from the air: skylines, skyscrapers, and sights of urban heritage”, Australia ICOMOS Conference, University of Canberra, November 2019.
- “Melbourne’s twelve best historic buildings, 1958”, SAHANZ Conference, University of Sydney, July 2019.
- “‘What makes a building historic?’ The role of historians in shaping Melbourne’s urban heritage in the 1980s and 1990s”, UK Urban History Group Conference. Queen’s University Belfast, April 2019.
- “Changeable urban heritage at Melbourne’s iconic bluestone penitentiaries”, Stones of Melbourne Symposium, University of Melbourne, March 2019.
- “To adopt the Australian Burra Charter or an ‘Aotearoa Charter’ in New Zealand?: historical reflections on trans-Tasman urban heritage practice, ca. 1970s–90s”, Association of Critical Heritage Studies, 4th Biannual Conference. Hangzhou, September 2018.
- “From the picturesque to the present: Australian heritage regime prototypes, 1888–1968”, 14th International Conference on Urban History, European Association for Urban History. Rome, August 2018.
- “Two steps forward: pounding the pavement in the digital city”, 14th International Conference on Urban History, European Association for Urban History. Rome, August 2018. With Andrew May, Helen Morgan and Mitchell Harrop.
- “The Bread and Cheese Club”, Australasian Urban History & Planning History Conference, Melbourne, February 2018. With David Nichols.
- “Melbourne’s nineteenth-century heritage arcades”, Australasian Urban History / Planning History Conference, Melbourne, February 2018. With Nicole Davis.
- “‘A Regional Conservation Manifesto’ and the Australian re-invention of urban heritage”, Cultural Heritage Seminar Series. Deakin University, October 2017.
- “Twitter for Academic Activism,” School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, October 2017. Panel with Lauren Pikó and Mike Jones.
- “The limits of urban heritage in the late-twentieth-century Australian city”, UK Urban History Group Conference. Royal Holloway London, April 2017.
- “Reconstructing urban heritage in the mid-twentieth-century Australian city”, Understanding Material Loss. University of Birmingham, February 2017.
- “Hierarchies of attachment: regulating urban heritage in the mid-twentieth-century Australian city”, Urban Belonging Conference. Institute of Historical Research, University of London, January 2017.
- “Locating Australia’s National Estate: a useful concept for settler cities?”, 13th International Conference on Urban History, European Association for Urban History. University of Helsinki, August 2016.
- “The Australian city and its heritage mythologies”, 13th International Conference on Urban History, European Association for Urban History. University of Helsinki, August 2016.
- “Challenging Modernity: Skyscrapers, Heritage and the late Twentieth Century Australian City”, Australian Historical Association, Federation University, Ballarat, July 2016.
- “Locating the national in the urban: heritage and scale in the twentieth-century Australian City”, Australasian Urban History / Planning History Conference, Gold Coast, February 2016.
- “Mapping the National Estate”, Australian Historical Association, University of Sydney, July 2015.
- “Spatialising Australian heritage”, 12th International Conference on Urban History, European Association for Urban History. Universidade Nova de Lisboa, September 2014.
- “Tokens of Taste or Stony Seduction? Plaster Casts in Melbourne’s Cremorne Gardens,” Victorian Tactile Imaginations. Birkbeck, University of London, July 2013. With Rebecca Kummerfeld.
- “Cremorne Gardens in Melbourne and London,” Australian Historical Association, University of Adelaide, July 2012.
- ‘Conservation Echoes in East Melbourne: Tracing a 1964 Heritage Itinerary’, National Trust of Australia (Victoria), May 2018. With Caitlin Mitropoulos.
- ‘City Songs’, City of Melbourne Gallery, 10 February to 19 April 2017. With the Melbourne History Workshop.
- ‘Rainbow Jews’, London School of Economics, 3 to 28 February 2014. With the project team.