Leslie’s research interests focus on body perceptions and representations in rock art, animal symbolism, material culture, memory, songs and oral traditions. She particularly has tackled questions regarding the creation processes and uses of rock art in a specific context. Leslie has worked with women in south-central Africa to argue for a link between their stories and the rock art in that region, and their connections to girls’ initiation ceremonies.
Leslie has earned both her MSc and PhD in rock art studies from the University of the Witwatersrand, having completed an undergraduate degree with distinction in archaeology from the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia (ENAH) in Mexico City. She has participated in various research projects in the northern part of México (Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Durango) undertaking surveys and excavations, and joined the University of Texas at Austin for a research fellowship at the Border Lands Archaeological Research Unit in 1998. She worked as a field director for three years in Coahuila documenting archaeological sites for the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Leslie conducted extensive fieldwork in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique and has broad expertise in the interdisciplinary study of rock art and gender. Leslie was awarded an Hermes scholarship by the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, le Ministère des Affaires Etrangères and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and was hosted by the Centre National de Préhistoire (CNP), the Institut de Paléontologie Humaine (IPH), and the
Travaux et Recherches Archéologiques sur les Cultures, les Espaces et les Siciétés (TRACES), Université de Toulouse- Le Mirail. She joined the Centre for Rock Art Research and Management in 2013.
2015-2020 'Kimberley Visions - The Origins of Rock Art Provinces in Northern Australia', ARC Linkage Projects, Australia. Prof. Peter Veth, Dr Bruno David, Prof Andrew Gleadow, Dr Sven Ouzman, Associate Professor Martin Porr and Dr Leslie Zubieta Calvert.
2009 HERMES Programme Fellowship - funded by the French Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Education and Research, the Department of Human and Social Sciences of the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS), and the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH).
2010 GDRI-STAR funded 15 days trip to France
2008 National Research Foundation PhD bursary
2006-08 University of the Witwatersrand Scholarship
2006-09 Nissan South Africa car sponsorship as an individual for PhD research fieldwork.
2007 British Institute in Eastern Africa minor grant
2003-08 University of the Witwatersrand Postgraduate Merit Award
1999 Exchange Visitor Program of The University of Texas at Austin under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (Fulbright-Hays Act, Public Law 256, 87th Congress).