Dr Lesley Potter has been at the ANU since 2004, following retirement from the University of Adelaide, where she had been heavily involved in both teaching and administration, together with student fieldwork in SE Asia. Those activities had followed her earlier PhD focus on Guyana, through McGill University, Montreal, and some years of teaching in the University of Guyana. Her original BA, Dip Ed, and MA was at the University of Melbourne.
At the ANU Lesley was initially located in the Department of Human Geography, RSPAS, but moved to a group called ‘Resource Management in Asia Pacific’ (RMAP) when Human Geography ceased to exist. That in turn became the “Resources, Environment and Development Group” (READ), located in the Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific, which is her current affiliation. Between 2012 and 2016 she was also involved in casual teaching in an Anthropology Master’s Program, while active supervision of PhD students continued until 2017. Her current status is ‘Visitor (Ex Staff)’, until December 31, 2022.
During her time at the ANU Lesley has remained actively writing and publishing, following her earlier work during the 1990s, the most significant outcome of which was probably the book “In Place of the Forest” a joint publication with the late Professor Harold Brookfield (ANU). In 2015 she produced a large monograph for CIFOR (the Center for International Forestry Research) on oil palm landscapes in nine countries, followed in 2022 with a new book “Transforming Borneo: from Land Exploitation to Sustainable Development” (in press with ISEAS, Singapore), with Dr CS Goh of Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur. She has also produced 15 journal articles and 13 book chapters. Her interests have expanded from a concentration on forests to coffee and oil palm, particularly from the perspective of smallholders, accompanied by extensive fieldwork in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia.