Leslie Primo – art historian 

To commemorate the College’s bicentenary in 2023, we’re showcasing 200 ‘Birkbeck Effects’ which capture the incredible stories of our vibrant and diverse community, highlighting their achievements and impact on the world. 

Leslie Primo

From a mature undergraduate student of History of Art, Leslie Primo is now a world class art historian and has been consulted for Art on the BBC 

Leslie left school aged 16 with barely any qualifications and no awareness of higher education. It wasn’t until years later, while working in the National Gallery gift shop in London, that Leslie’s colleagues saw his passion for art history and suggested he apply to Birkbeck.

He graduated from Birkbeck with a BA in History of Art in 2004  and went on to complete an MA in Renaissance Studies in 2010. At Birkbeck he received huge support, not only helping him adjust back into education, but also identifying his dyslexia which hadn’t been diagnosed before.

Leslie received additional support from Birkbeck’s disability office, including full funding for his first computer. Acknowledging his dyslexia for the first time meant Leslie could make sense of his school years and understand why he left the traditional education system with very few qualifications. Leslie now teaches art history at Imperial College London. 


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