Lynn Hershman Leeson studied at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and San Francisco State University. From 1993 to 2004 she was a professor of Electronic Arts at the University of California at Davis where she became emeritus, before accepting a chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute. She was recently A.D. White Professor at Cornell University, and from 2013 to 2014 Distinguished Artist at the New School for Social Engagement.
Over the years, Hershman Leeson has received numerous awards and distinctions, including ZKM's Siemens Media Prize (1995), ACM SIGGRAPH's Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art (2009), Golden Nica for Interactive Art from Ars Electronica (1999), and Flintridge Foundation's Visual Artists Award (1998). The Digital Art Museum in Berlin recognized her work with a d.velop digital art award (ddaa) for lifetime achievement in the field of new media in 2011. In 2014 Lynn Hershman Leeson was named one of "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" by Women eNews.
Her work has been shown in over 200 large-scale exhibition throughout the world and is featured in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate Modern, London, Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, and Berkeley Art Museum, in addition to celebrated private collections. In 2004 Stanford University Libraries acquired Hershman Leeson's working archive.
Her four feature films–!Women Art Revolution, Strange Culture, Teknolust, and Conceiving Ada–are in worldwide distribution and have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, and the Berlin International Film Festival, among others. She was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Film Prize for writing and directing Teknolust in 2002.