|Alma mater||University of Sydney|
|Relatives||Philip Watkins (brother)|
Watkins emigrated to Australia with his family in 1969 and studied Philosophy and History of Art at the University of Sydney. He is the older brother of Philip Watkins, renowned artist and musician. He was curator at the Chisenhale Gallery in London in the early 1990s. Watkins later worked at the Serpentine Gallery from 1985 to 1997 as the institution's curator, and worked in a curatorial freelance capacity for the Biennale of Sydney in 1998.
In 1999, Watkins was appointed to his current role as Director of the Ikon Gallery, and has also curated projects at the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, the Venice Biennale in Italy, the Hayward Gallery in London and Tate in London.
- Grimley, Terry (20 July 1999). "When art is just an everyday happening - Terry Grimley meets the new director of Birmingham's Ikon Gallery". Birmingham Post. Mirror Regional Newspapers. p. 15.
- "Upcoming visitors - Jonathan Watkins - April 2008". Programmes in Norway. Office for Contemporary Art Norway. Retrieved 24 March 2008.